Project Management in Science - Lecture at the innoFSPEC Workshop 2018

innoFSPEC is a research and innovation centre pursuing multidisciplinary research in the field of optical fibre spectroscopy and sensing.
The centre was created as a joint venture of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the Physical Chemistry group of the University of Potsdam (UP).

Logo of research institute innoFSPEC

Within the scope of the innoFSPEC workshop 2018 Sven Aden conducted on the 26th of April a mini-workshop on the specifics of project management in German research projects. He first gave an overview of the most important attitudes, principles and tools from classic, agile and hybrid project management. The more than 40 participating researchers, including the Institute's directors, discussed their beneficial application to research projects.

Mr Aden then presented eleven theses on the specific aspects of scientific projects that differentiate them from other project types. In an interactive process, the scientists selected the six most relevant theses. By far the most important statement was:

"Necessity to apply methods of traditional project management due to demands of funding organization: Define Goals, Milestones, Resources, Period before the project starts (in the research proposal) contradiction to research which is by definition characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, novelty, openness to new findings.

Many funding organizations ask for very detailed planning in the proposal but then do very little or no monitoring and evaluation"

On this and the five other selected topics, participants exchanged views.
It was discussed to what extent the statement applies to one's own work and how it is currently handled at innoFSPEC. Ideas for optimizing the work at the institute were developed on the basis of initial recommendations by the speaker.