Planning and Managing Scientific Research

Scientific research is in no way an easy task and it should be comparable to entrepreneurship. This is because it not only has to be original and exciting to be established but it involves a lot of effort, money and many men hours. Such work and preparation is sometimes (or most of the time!) placed on the table of researchers without them having the energy or know-how on how the administer projects. Typical projects would require collaborations, applying for funds, human resources, purchasing of equipment, auditing, tons of report writing, publications, public relations, and so forth. No academic course can prepare enough someone to take such a task, and it will take time for one to get familiar and get a grips of the entire cycle.

b-thumb-planningA new open access book discussing the preparation for developing and running research projects has just been published: Planning and Managing Scientific Research : A guide for the Planning & Managing beginning researcher by Brian Kennett. The author, a seismologist and who has extensive scientific research and management experiences, writes about the importance of understanding the nature of scientific research, and the way in which research projects can be developed, planned and managed to a successful outcome.

“Many researchers are unhappy with the concept of research management, since they wish to concentrate solely on the research component, and see management as purely associated with administrative chores. In fact most people employ informal management techniques when they make decisions about where to put in their next effort on a project. As we shall see, even modest projects can benefit from clear planning and tracking using simple tools.”

The book is designed to help the transition from being a member of a research team to developing a project and making them work. It should be of value to researchers in the later stages of Ph.D. work and post-doctoral workers. The book is published by ANU Press and is available for free download in PDF format.

Matthew Agius is a recent PhD graduate from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies in Ireland and is now doing research at the University of Southampton (National Oceanography Centre). His research focuses on the dynamics of the lithosphere beneath Tibet, the Central Mediterranean, and the Pacific Ocean. Matthew’s role as a young scientist representative is to promote the efforts done by young researchers and to engage in discussions that concern seismology students. You can reach Matthew via e-mail at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>