Leading a research project
One way of understanding these areas is provided by John Adair's three-circle model which identifies the following key areas of responsibility for the leader.
TM John Adair
Your responsibilities as a leader or manager are to:
- identify aims and vision for the group, purpose and direction - define the activity (the task)
- identify resources, people, processes, systems and tools (including finance, communications, IT)
- create the plan to achieve the task - deliverables, measures, timescales, strategy and tactics
- establish responsibilities, objectives, accountabilities and measures, by agreement and delegation
- set standards, quality, time and reporting parameters
- control and maintain activities against parameters
- monitor and maintain overall performance against plan
- report on progress towards the group's aim
- review, re-assess and adjust plans, methods and targets as necessary.
The pages below this will take you through elements of Achieving the Task, adapted to reflect the role of a PI:
- Understanding and developing your leadership ability
- Applying for research funding
- Managing a research project.
Dealing with project finance
An important aspect of being a PI is ensuring that when you are planning a research project you apply for an appropriate amount of funding from a suitable funder. Similarly, when you are successful in being awarded a project grant you will need to ensure that the funds are utilised properly. Organisations vary in the way they provide support for you at these different stages in the process; for the purposes of these pages a single entity called 'the research office' has been assumed.