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Centre of Excellence for Project Managers unveiled in Birmingham

10/4/2008

The UK’s first centre of excellence for Project Management Practice has been unveiled at Aston Business School in Birmingham.

The £200,000 scheme will bridge the gap between academics and businesses by focusing on the importance of project management to innovation.

Businesses across the West Midlands are set to benefit from the innovative Centre for Project Management Practice.

Many business leaders enjoyed the launch party at Aston Business School last night (Monday, January 28th), which included an activity fair, the chance to invent the device of your dreams and networking opportunities.

The project was funded with a £100,000 Business Engagement grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and match funding by Aston Business School’s collaborators – more than a dozen regional, national and international organisations.

The centre is headed up by ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ academics who have all been project managers across a range of business sectors in the past.

Centre Director Dr Naomi Brookes, who previously worked in the aerospace industry, said the centre would create some fantastic links between project management knowledge and its practice in industry.

“Project management is a very crucial skill which is required to effectively undertake any form of business innovation,” she said.

“Businesses are finally understanding the importance of project management and at Aston we have a wide range of project management research and expertise available.”

The centre offers a novel opportunity for project managers to ‘swap’ with project managers in other organisations. The Centre will offer free seminar programmes to help project managers understand the range of research available to them, and to help researchers tailor their research to practitioners’ needs.

The first few companies to apply will get a free impact assessment to show how implementing best practice solutions would work in their organisation.

There is also the potential for further funding if it proves a successful scheme in its first year.

David Turner, from West Bromwich Building Society, said the scheme would be perfect for bringing together different industries.

“Some larger companies have their own centres for excellence, but where there are fewer project managers in an organisation, this new centre is ideal,” he said.


ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Collaborating companies include GKN Driveline, West Bromwich Building Society, Service Birmingham, Tempus, Brintons, Mtech Group, Almor Group, Sperry Rail International, Middlemarch Environmental, The Logistics Business, M6 Toll, Eura Conservation and E.ON UK.

The centre is also supported by the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, the Engineering Employers Association, Advantage West Midlands and The Association of Project Management.

Project management relevant research encompasses a wide variety of topics including:
  • - the implications of temporary organisation structures
  • - inter-group and intra-group relationships
  • - personality and leadership in a project context
  • - risk management
  • - structuring ‘fuzzy’ problems
  • - performance measurement in a project context
  • - project knowledge management

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