THE ROLE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT IN SPONSORED RESEARCH
Johns Hopkins University
Project management provides guidance, direction, and tools for projects ranging in scope and complexity. The role of applying project management principles to sponsored research planning is a crucial factor in the success of most research, as well as an effective method to remain within the scope, schedule, and budget of the project. Project management techniques may be allusively applied to research as informal practice by the Principal Investigators (PI), rather than a Project Manager (PM). It is critical to understand that project management principles may not be applicable to all research ventures as the ambiguity and undefined goals surrounding some research are not conducive to the practices and procedures of project management. This study evaluates the role of project management in research through an in-depth literature review, as well as a survey questionnaire to the research community to evaluate to what extent is project management presently applied to research. The evidence gathered shows that project management is currently being applied by research professionals to a great extent for research projects leading to better results, and with better impact on timelines, and budgets. Consequently, researchers face a number of challenges such as administrative burdens, and lack of resources in staffing, capital, and technology. Two principal approaches to implementing a sound research management strategy are flexibility and an analysis of the requirements to identify the best approach. It is found that PIs are mostly taking on this decision, and ultimately driving the research planning, execution, and oversight, as well as conducting the research and evaluating results. PIs are overburdened, and applying project management principles may help alleviate project planning and execution.
Project Management, Project Management Sponsored Research, Research Planning