11th September 2020

Knowledge Type

Data & Statistics Research paper


, Project X , Association for Project Management

Major Project


Of Interest To

Academia Consultants Leadership teams Operators Private sector clients Public sector clients

Project and programme research centres: Lessons for scholarship, policy and practice


In addition to developing a non-exhaustive global list of Project and Programme Research (PPR) related organisations, this report presents a deep-dive into four illustrative examples of such organisations: The John Grill Institute of Project Leadership in Australia, Stanford Global Projects Center in the USA, Concept Programme in Norway, and The ESRC Complex Product Systems (CoPS) Innovation Centre, formerly in the UK. In doing so, we observe the commonalities and disparities between the strategic and structural developments, extant form and motivations from across the case studies. Based on an examination of these four cases, our key observations are as follows:

■ Collaboration – collaborative relationships established and maintained across the ‘golden triangle’ of business, government and academia, can be mutually beneficial through the co-creation of outputs that contribute to each party’s strategic objectives and reputational footprint.

■ Interdisciplinary work – working across intellectual boundaries can deepen and expand the potential for innovative knowledge exchange across fields, sectors and organisations.

■ Balancing long-term/short-term outputs – a fundamental tension exists between an institution’s long-term and short-term demands for output. There is no blueprint for managing this tension. Instead, it must be aligned and periodically managed against each organisation’s mission.

■ Mentorship and leadership – beyond building research capabilities, harnessing the capacity for a future generation of strategic decision-makers is crucial for the continuity of PPR organisations.

 Entrepreneurial funding generation – funding provides security and the opportunity for long term planning and recruitment, both of which are crucial for research continuity and creating an impact in academia and practice.

■ Network Convening – Ultimately, PPR institutes convene networks across business, government and academia, which requires that the right people show up at the right time. This calls for exploring interesting and relevant problems which attract researchers and practitioners.  Professional associations have an important role to play in this regard.

Implications for practice

The findings in this report have practical implications for three types of actors – those attempting to develop project-related institutes, actors that are part of such institutes and those who seek to collaborate with them. For institute developers, the report highlights the various ways that an institute can be structured both strategically and structurally.

It also provides insight into potential collaborators doing complementary work.  For those who are part of such institutes, it provides a bird’s eye view of how one’s institute fits into the global landscape and compares with other institutes.

Finally, for those from the private or public sector looking to collaborate with such institutes – the report outlines the range of benefits that such a collaboration can spur.