Risk Management in Research Projects

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Project management includes (grosso modo) three basic areas: 1. Scope management, 2. Schedule Management, 3. Risk Management.

Dealing with risk management, one has to start with establishing the context:  Natural factors, such as climate/natural disasters, and Human factors (psychological/social/political/economic/…etc.). Then basic risks have to be identify, in particular: Time-related risks, Cost-related risks and Quality related risks. The next step is to analyze those risks and their potential impact. Then risks shall be prioritized and appropriate mitigation measures proposed. Depending on the risk characteristics and importance various strategies may be adopted. One can try to avoid risks, accept them, reduce them or transfer them.

Veri important is risk monitoring and review as well as a future-oriented “problem-based learning” – looking for optimal ways of managing future risks.

To deal with project risks it is important to involve all project partners; they should be aware of risks and be ready to share responsibilities for risk mitigation.

Project risks are interrelated with uncertainty – besides foreseen uncertainly and variation built into the project framework (predictable variation ranges of project parameters and known factors which might influence the realization of the project) one shall be also aware of unforeseen uncertainties which cannot be predicted. The remedy is then in the flexible concept and structure of the project> The project shall be regarded as a “complex adaptive system” with the ability to adjust even to major unpredictable perturbations.

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Risk management in research projects

Rish management in research project talk

Project management

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Take as an example a project in which you participated.

Identify risks you have encountered related with foreseen and unforeseen uncertainties.

Describe how the project team was dealing with them.

Lessons learned: what could have been done better?