Research project manager

research pm

Research project managers are in charge of conducting research and development projects that lead to the achievement of a business and/or scientific objective.

To achieve this goal, research project managers determine and manage the methodology and techniques for the development of the research itself.

Research project managers, in their field, are responsible for reviewing the work, validating the data collected, creating reports and communicating with the different constituencies and project teams.

Research project management

Specialized research project managers possess advanced program and project management skills, strong analytical skills and knowledge of discovery and development processes.

They are capable of coordinating and easing the life cycle of research project management, including the initiation, development, and implementation of various complex experimental projects.

Research PMs coordinate study teams and manage the timing of research projects to ensure that studies are completed within the specified time frame.

Research project managers also regularly meet with stakeholders, including their research team, clients and study groups, to assemble and communicate business and research requirements and set expectations for the work.

Qualifications and skills of a research project manager

A Bachelor’s degree is generally required to qualify for a research project manager position.

Many employers, however, at the time of selection prefer candidates with advanced academic qualifications, such as a specific master’s degree.

In addition, five to seven years of direct research experience is usually required, as well as proven expertise in project management, including budgeting, planning, execution, delivery, quality control (Deming cycle) and reporting.

Qualified candidates are proactive resolvers with planning skills, outstanding management and leadership.

They can communicate with relevant parties from different functional areas and can convey complex data in tangible business terms.

Here are the 11 best skills that every research project manager should have.

the research pm

The 11 best skills that every research project manager should have

There are definitely many more skills required, but if you have these 11, you will have the basis on which to build a successful career in managing research and development projects.

1. Leadership

A research project manager is in charge not only of following the project through to successful completion, but is responsible for leading a team to achieve this goal. This requires motivating and mediating when necessary.

2. Communication

Communication skills complement leadership. You cannot be an effective leader if you are unable to communicate with the team.

3. Planning

The only way to achieve the objectives of the project within the time period that has been decided is to divide this objective into activities on a time line. That is what planning is all about, and it is at the very heart of what a project manager does: setting up a realistic schedule and then managing resources to keep track of the route so that the project can be completed successfully and on time.

4. Risk management

Everything carries its potential risks and the planning of a project, whether simple or complex, is also related to a dose of risk. It is part of a project manager’s job to see these risks before they become real problems. Therefore, before you execute the project, you must try to identify, assess, and control the risk.

5. Cost management

You can’t do anything without money. One of the first tasks assigned to the research project manager is therefore to make sure that the budget is realistic and able to meet the financial needs of the project and, secondly, to monitor these costs during the project life cycle.

6. Negotiation

Negotiation does not simply mean contracting the best price from a supplier; managing a project means being in constant negotiations. A project manager must negotiate with stakeholders, team members or other people involved in the project.

7. Critical thinking

Many of us do not think, but rather react and follow a series of automatic responses, learned throughout life. In general it does not necessarily mean that this is bad, but in certain situations it is better to know how to disable this mechanism and activate critical thinking. Critical thinking is simply being as objective as possible in analyzing and evaluating a problem or situation, so that we can form an impartial judgment.

8. Activity management

If planning is the foundation of project management, activities are what compose it. There will be many activities to create, assign and manage, which means that poor management of this process can severely affect the success of the project.

9. Quality management

Quality management is often neglected by project managers and requires the greatest attention. Quality management must oversee the activities necessary to create a product or service worthy of the level required by the client. Adhering to the time frame is important, but a project is useless if it produces something that is sub-standard.

10. Patience

Nothing gets sorted out when you’re in a hurry or when frustration takes over in case of unforeseen circumstances. Projects take time, from research to planning, and must be carefully designed to run smoothly. That doesn’t mean there won’t be problems: whether it’s a change request or a team member acting negatively, if you don’t have patience to handle things, the result will be worse.

11. Ready for innovation

Technology evolves constantly; as soon as you get used to one tool, another takes its place. In order to keep up with the times, you need to constantly learn and train, so that you can follow the path of a successful project manager. Especially in the field of research and development, there is nothing more truthful than that.


So here are the responsibilities and skills required in the case of a research project manager.

These do not differ much from what is required for a “traditional” project manager, but obviously the scope will be more specific.

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