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Title: Role of the Project Management Office in University Research Centres
Authors: Fernandes, Gabriela 
Sousa, Hugo
Tereso, Anabela
O’Sullivan, David
Keywords: project management; project management offices; PMO role and functions; university research centres
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: MDPI
Project: UIDB/00285/2020 
Serial title, monograph or event: Sustainability (Switzerland)
Volume: 13
Issue: 21
Abstract: University Research Centres (URCs) have become a primary organisational structure in universities for bringing together a critical mass of multidisciplinary research interests that can compete for large, funded research projects and create breakthrough research results. Some of the more successful URCs are now developing specialised project management offices (PMOs) that can coordinate key activities, from proposal development to project execution, and ensure that research results are disseminated. A key challenge for URCs is to define what roles, functions, and competencies such a PMO should have. This research identifies a number of key attributes of PMOs that meet the unique challenges of URCs. This paper presents an initial conceptualisation of roles and functions developed from a literature review and that are later tested via a detailed survey among 370 URC participants involved in collaborative R&D projects worldwide. The study suggests that there are three PMO maturity stages: ‘basic’, ‘intermediate’, and ‘advanced’. The resulting conceptualisation highlights six functions for a ‘basic’ PMO stage, an additional ten functions for an ‘intermediate’ PMO stage, and a further ten functions for ‘advanced’ PMO. The research presented provides guidance and decision support to URCs when selecting the role that a PMO should play for achieving tangible and intangible project benefits. Although the study suggests a lengthy list of functions, none of these should be considered in isolation. Most of the functions interact with each other and affect the PMOs’ impact within the URC in various ways. The paper contributes to the transformative and evolutionary nature of PMOs, and illustrates that universities are receptive and even demanding of the need to create an effective PMO to improve the operation of major R&D projects and programs and create greater societal impact by URCs.
ISSN: 2071-1050
DOI: 10.3390/su132112284
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CEMMPRE - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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