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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 assignments
Start dates 2024
29 April, 13 May, 17 May, 31 May, 10 September, 2 October, 18 October, 28 October, 15 November, 02 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, you apply various techniques and perspectives to your 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 focuses on digital project management platforms and traditional planning tools such as WBS, the Gantt chart, and SMART goals; 
  • The second group session revolves around 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 pinpoints your personal challenges as a project manager (such as procrastination and perfectionism) and focuses on understanding, breaking and building habit loops.

Course objectives

  • Use traditional project management tools and/or online platforms to (further) optimise your project management;
  • Discuss expectations with relevant stakeholders in your project(s);
  • Assess (potential) risks involved in your project(s) and formulate risk responses;
  • Formulate your strengths and pitfalls in the context of your project(s);
  • Apply interventions to break bad (ineffective) habits and build good (effective) habits in your project management system.

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

The academic trainers from DOWNSIDEUP are specialized in training researchers, striving for a productive, healthy, creative and inclusive work culture in the academic world. They bring along a wide range of backgrounds, including research experience and expertise in psychology, communication, and coaching. With positive energy, openness and by asking challenging and supportive questions, they help you further in your development.

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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