Project Management

Initiation & Planning:

A research project often begins as a scientific question that hasn’t

yet been answered.  Though this may appear a highly philosophical

beginning, pursuing such a project requires the execution of a very concrete set of procedures.  The first step is to identify the resources required to answer the question.  Is it necessary to obtain telescope access?  Who will perform the observations and data analysis?  What is the cost of a project of this scope?  What is the timeframe for completion? 

Once I determine the answers to these questions, I typically write a funding proposal.  A proposal is in essence a highly detailed plan for carrying out the desired research.  In it I include a technical feasibility assessment, indicate the human resources required, and provide an optimal timeline for milestones to be completed.  My proposals also regularly contain a detailed budget which includes estimates of effort, salaries, fringe benefits, and overhead for multiple researchers, publication, travel, and computing costs, etc.  The duration of such projects ranges from months to years. 

Federal grants typically take about a year to arrive if a proposal is accepted, so to maintain a constant stream of funding I initiate, plan, and propose multiple projects every year, as well as contribute as a co-investigator to the proposals of my collaborators.  Subsequently, I oversee multiple research projects simultaneously, balancing the human resources, execution, and budgets of projects in varying stages of completion.


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