Managing the Research Project
Once the project is up and running, PIs should establish means to effectively monitor the delivery of the work programme either on the ground or remotely, and support any College or locally-employed staff engaged on the project. This includes awareness of Imperial's Safeguarding for Research Projects guidance and duty of care responsibilities to research participants and local communities:
Managing the Research Project
1) Employing Overseas Workers
In the course of an Overseas research project it may be necessary to employ or contract local people to conduct project work for whom the College has a moral and legal duty of care.
The nature of this duty will depend upon the type of contract between the employer and the employee, and PIs must seek advice from Human Resources before entering into any agreements. Please refer to the Working Overseas – Guidance for Managers policy before proceeding.
Towards the end of the project, PIs must consider several procedures when terminating employment contracts:
- Local redundancy regulations and employee consultation on TUPE regulation and College policies
- The notice period agreed in the original contract
- Any repatriating processes as applicable.
- Other factors such including:
- The time and support the employee will need to complete work, settle bills, close bank accounts and relocate their family.
- Whether the College needs to provide any transitory arrangements for repatriation, such as temporary accommodation, schooling and housing.
2) Medical Facilities Overseas
PIs should check local access to a doctor or healthcare and notify any members of staff working on the project, irrespective of whether they are Imperial employees. In the first instance PIs should refer to their Safety Officer and the College Safety Department web pages for guidance and advice.
3) Project Monitoring and Progress Reporting
The Working Overseas – Guidance for Managers recommends having a mechanism in place to regularly review the operation of the project during its lifetime. PIs should establish regular meetings with researchers, employees and partners (whether by email, telephone, video calling platforms or in person where possible). PIs should also be mindful of tracking outputs and impacts during and after the project for Researchfish reporting.
Partnership agreements should be formally reviewed each year to ensure outcomes are being delivered and projects remain cost effective.
- Project management – will there be regular contact with delivery partners, and how will the PI gather updates- will they go out there for the duration, email, video calling platforms or other?
- Project reporting – scientific requirements - how will PIs ensure their projects deliver their intended outcomes and how will information be requested from external partners
4) Changing the Scope or Budget of Active Projects
Where research funding is received for ODA compliant activities, it is important to ensure that projects remain ODA compliant for the duration of the funding. When embarking on new project strands and activities, PIs should consider whether these are still within the project scope and predominantly contribute to achieving the original aims and objectives. If you are unsure whether a change in scope or proposed activity will affect the original aims and objectives, then the ODA compliance of the funded project will need to be reassessed.
For guidance on self-assessment, please see the section on assessing ODA compliance. The College also has an expert review group who can provide independent assessment of ODA compliance. Please contact GCRF Support for further information, guidance and support.
5) Ending Partner / Contractor Agreements
If a partner or contractor fails to deliver the agreed scope of work, there should be a dispute resolution mechanism in the contract to terminate the agreement that clearly indicates the jurisdiction/law that will apply when managing the dispute. If no agreement is reached or if overseas jurisdiction applies then the Working Overseas – Guidance for Managers advises obtaining early legal advice and notifying your Head of Department and Faculty Dean.
6) Evacuation Procedure
PIs must complete an Emergency Response Plan form before travel and discuss its contents with their Head of Department and Safety Officer who should retain a copy. PIs should then notify colleagues abroad of the procedure.
UK Government Foreign Travel Advice provides further guidance and the Working Overseas – Guidance for Managers advises PIs to establish an evacuation procedure at the start of the project to ensure the safety of all staff members working on the project, irrespective of whether they are Imperial employees.
- UK nationals would normally return to the UK.
- Non UK nationals may not wish to do this or may not be unable to do so due to UK visa and entry requirements.
7) Local Law
PIs are reminded that criminal activity undertaken by individuals or by Imperial College London is subject to the laws of the visited country. Criminal prosecutions or civil actions may be brought in that jurisdiction as well as in the UK.
There may be severe consequences for both the College and individuals such as fines and imprisonment, with legal action potentially resulting in reputational damage.
8) Safeguarding for Research Projects
Safeguarding is the action taken to promote the welfare of children under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults and protect them from harm. Within research projects this may include staff, students and collaborators, as well as anyone directly affected by our research and teaching activities on campus, and at research and fieldwork sites in the UK or overseas e.g. research subjects, patients, local communities etc.
More information is available on the Safeguarding for Research Projects webpage.