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Project Management for Scientists - Online Course



The Project Management course is aimed at postdoctoral researchers who want to improve their ability to plan their work effectively, set goals, communicate effectively, and keep track of their progress as they work towards their next discovery/publication/independence. The course focuses on simple project management tools and strategies to use when managing a single research project (or a couple of parallel projects) that can be implemented with minimal additional time investment or experience.

It could also be suitable for second or third year PhD students looking to bring more structure to their PhD project to ensure that they can write up in time, and to lay the knowledge foundation for a successful next step in their career.

The course is unlikely to satisfy you if you are managing a portfolio of projects in a more senior position.



You will need to be able to attend from a quiet place where you can work undisturbed. You will need a good internet connection, a webcam and a microphone for video calling. The course uses Zoom.

The successful management of research projects is key to success in science. Understanding what project management is, when it is helpful and how to apply it in research is an important skill for scientists. This course, developed by CJ Fitzsimons—author of "International Project Management - intercultural cooperation in practice" (German language)—introduces key concepts in project management, both for planning and managing work, and for working effectively with people (including with yourself). The course is in English.

Notes on Timings:

  1. All timings are approximate, as we will be working in a process-oriented manner. The time spent on a topic will expand or shrink to meet the needs of the course participants.
  2. We start at 09:00 and work until approximately 17:30 on each day (CET/Berlin).



15 mins

Welcome, Introduction, Warming up

Give you time "to arrive" at the workshop and introduce the topics for the course.

20 mins

Open the Parking Lot

Collecting your needs and questions for the course.

45 mins

Projects and Project Management

Look at the basic ideas behind projects and project management and discuss where it makes sense to use project management models and tools.

20 mins

Project Initiating

80 mins

Project Goals

A clear goal helps greatly in planning and managing the project. We apply some tools to help you sharpen your project's goal(s). In addition, we discuss how to take the uncertainty inherent in research into account.

90 mins

Project Planning

We introduce some simple tools that help you to plan your project in an appropriate level of detail. Key to this is an approach that enables you to 'chunk' your project into manageable work packages.

60 mins


Explore different practical ideas that can help you to organize your work more effectively and reduce stress levels.


30 mins


You explore the factors that influence your own levels of motivation and those of your people.

90 mins


Here we explore ways that you can get your point across and defend your position fairly, learn how to set and defend your boundaries and generally work with self-confidence.

90 mins

Quality Management

Principles of quality management in projects and their impact on planning and execution.

90 mins

Risk Management

How to identify risks in the project, formulate clear risk statements and what options you can take to manage them; evaluating probabilities (Gigerenzer); how to recognize and deal with chances that occur.


 60 mins

Project Controlling

Controlling is simply the phase in the project where you check your progress against the plan and respond quickly when you’re drifting off course. It is also the phase in the project where you decide to refocus the project, if the research results suggest this. We look at: Deming Wheel, Force-field Analysis, OIL, Escalation

90 mins

Stakeholder Analysis & Management

Stakeholders can influence your project – positively or negatively. An important part of project success is to be aware of how they view your project and its importance – and what you can do to influence that. 

- Who are the stakeholders?

- Develop a relationship chart for the stakeholders (sociogram)

- Detemine their level of support for the project

- Find out their needs and expectations and how to manage them

90 mins

Managing conflict

By working on one or two participant cases, you will learn an approach so that you can analyse and identify solutions to conflicts. In addition, you will learn about:

- Common sources of conflict

- First signals

- The dynamic of how a conflict develops, and

- Common strategies for dealing with conflict

 60 mins

Project Marketing

Discuss what is involved in project marketing, evaluate experiences and identify other approaches.

30 mins

Final Questions and Next Steps