Frequently asked questions Project Management

1) Do we need a project manager?

Conducting research overseas and managing administrative processes remotely or in the field can be complex and challenging. It is strongly recommended that project management costs are included as part of the research proposal so that dedicated administrative support can be employed and charged to the project. Tasks for an administrative Project Manager would include:

  • Third Party financial and administrative oversight
  • Health and safety compliance
  • Duty of care monitoring and Safeguarding of staff, patients, research subjects and local communities

For Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) projects, a Project Manager is strongly recommended.

2) How much project management can be included?

This will depend on the size and scale of your project, but since the College's main funders have placed responsibility for managing Third Party relationships on the lead institution, engaging some full or part-time professional support throughout the duration of the project is strongly recommended. Any professional staff costs which are included in the project budget should be fully justified in the Case for Support, outlining how this resource will support the nature of the work, e.g. complex, large-scale, multi-partner etc.

If you choose to omit dedicated project management costs from your proposal, you should carefully consider what existing staff resources will be made available to manage project governance, and how the necessary due diligence and audits requirements associated with Third Party relationships will be met. Discuss the project support requirements with your Department at the earliest opportunity.

3) What is a project manager responsible for?

Overseas research requires considerable governance and management throughout the project lifecycle. Typical tasks for a project manager would include:

  • Ensuring the relevant due diligence, safety and financial aspects of the project are in place and regularly monitored
  • Facilitating the relationship between researchers, the department, Project Advisory Board and funder to ensure project milestones are successfully delivered
  • Maintaining auditable records of expenditure (e.g. copies of supplier invoices, expense claims, receipts and evidence relating to third party spend)
  • Monitoring changes in circumstances during the project, assessing the impact and taking appropriate action.

Dedicated, professional support in these areas is strongly recommended in order to fulfil the College’s third party due diligence responsibilities.

4) Will the project manager be required to travel overseas?

If the nature of the research requires onsite support overseas, then a project manager's job description should include a requirement for overseas travel. As a College employee, the project manager would be subject to the policies and regulations governing off-site working.

Any decision to locate academic or professional staff overseas for a period of time should be fully justified in the research proposal, and discussed with the Head of Department as part of the risk assessment review.