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Research | Working effectively

Basic Project Management for PhDs

Your PhD is a large-scale research project spanning several years. Attaining the project management skills needed to effectively manage the required tasks has been found to be a crucial factor in PhD success (Hardre et. al, 2019).

Target group
PhD candidate
Downside Up
Training course
The workload for this course amounts to 13 hours, including 9 hours group sessions + 4 hours on-the-job and online assignments
Start dates 2023
5 April, 9 May, 5 June, 7 September, 12 October, 7 November, 4 December

Why this course?

A PhD track is a large-scale research project over several years that requires good project management skills. Often, little attention to these crucial skills is given in earlier education. This course is therefore designed for PhD candidates that are new to project management.

During the interactive group sessions, the trainers help participants to approach PhD research as a project, by using project management tools and methods, communicating with stakeholders and dealing with personal challenges such as procrastination and perfectionism. In between the sessions, participants apply addressed techniques and learnings to their own project. This course is useful to PhD candidates at all stages but those in their first or second year will gain most from it.

Course description

PhD candidates with solid project management skills experience more job control and self-efficacy, less stress and work pressure and therefore have an increased chance of completing their PhD successfully, on time and in good health. The group sessions address the following topics:

  • The first group session is focused on digital project management platforms and traditional planning tools such as WBS, the Gantt chart, and SMART goals;
  • The second group session is aimed at effectively including relevant stakeholders in your process: how to communicate expectations and resolve differences through negotiation. Also, we scan your project for risks and get started with devising a risk management plan.
  • The third group session is aimed at analyzing your personal challenges as a project manager, learning how to deal with procrastination and perfectionism by understanding and breaking habit loops.

Course objectives

  • Project management tools: you have gained theoretical knowledge and practical skills in using traditional project management tools and online platforms
  • Expectation management: you have entered into conversations with stakeholders (such as supervisors) about what stakeholders and PhD candidate (can) expect from each other in terms of project management and have (better) agreements about this
  • Risk management: you have assessed (potential) risks involved in your research and start to think about how you can respond to these risks
  • Self-knowledge: you have a better understanding of yourself as a research project manager and how your personality traits help and/or hinder the progress of the project and to optimize this
  • You experience a heightened sense of ownership and control over your project (self-efficacy, job control, motivation).

Teaching method

The group session part of this course consists of 3 half-days spread over 3 days, with the aforementioned focus points per session. In between sessions, relevant techniques from the course will be applied in practice through learning on the job assignments. When registering, you can choose between an in-person edition and an online edition of this course.

About the lecturers

DOWNSIDEUP is specialized in training researchers and works for academic communities that (wish to) excel in openness, innovation, autonomy, collaboration, happiness, trust and academic leadership. Our trainers like to bring positive energy and ask bold, yet supportive, questions to help you identify thoughts and behaviors that hinder you or take you further.

Practical information

  • You can register for this course using the registration buttons on the right side of this page. Please note the difference between Staff (employee of Leiden University) and Extern/LUmc (e.g. extern, self-funded researchers or employee at LUmc). 
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