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Research Project Management

Research - Project Management Responsibilities

Project Leader

In terms of the Memorandum of Agreement, no specific contractual obligations are assigned to the Project Leader (named in Annexure A of the Agreement). All responsibilities for the successful execution of the project reside with the Contractor, who would be entitled to delegate certain powers and duties to the project leader as seen fit. Nevertheless, the project leader still needs to assume some basic responsibilities, namely:

  • Plan and direct the execution of the project, bearing in mind the objectives of the project , its duration and the approved budget

  • Appoint experienced people to take minutes at Reference Group meetings

  • Submit the following documentation, as and when required, to the responsible WRC Research Manager:

    • minutes of Reference Group meetings

    • work programmes, progress reports and where applicable, a draft final report and Executive Summary for consideration by the Reference Group
      each deliverable on schedule or, where applicable,

    • report on completion of the deliverable

  • On submission of each completed deliverable (or report thereon), immediately arrange to have the WRC invoiced for payment against that deliverable

  • Immediately bring to the attention of the responsible WRC Research Manager any unforeseen circumstances which will impact on the Project Leader's ability to adhere to time frames for submission of documentation and deliverables

  • Obtain prior approval from the WRC for the publication of all interim reports, papers and articles relating to work done on the project

  • Keep track of all project expenditure and obtain consent from the WRC for any budgetary reallocations involving capital funds.

NB: The project leader should bear in mind that projects will not be extended without very good reasons and should, therefore, make every effort to adhere to both the programme and the budget as stipulated in the Agreement.

Reference Group

For each project, a Reference Group is appointed by the WRC in consultation with the Contractor. The Reference Group is tasked to provide the research team with guidance and to assist the WRC in monitoring progress and evaluating deliverables. The Reference Group is only required to act in an advisory capacity.

It should be noted that, in exceptional cases, projects are not assigned a Reference Group.

Reference Group meetings are scheduled annually (or more frequently, if required) with the Project Leader in attendance and the WRC research manager fulfilling the role of Chairperson. Progress reports for the preceding period and work programmes for the following cycle are tabled at these meetings.

Reference Group members should familiarise themselves with specific Powers and Functions entrusted to them:

Powers and Functions

  • To assist and guide the Project Staff in achieving the objectives of the project as embodied in the memorandum of Agreement and to recommend and authorize a change of emphasis in respect of the methodology to be followed where considered necessary

  • To meet at least once a year in order to evaluate Progress Reports and Proposed Work Programmes, bearing in mind

    • the objectives as listed in Annexure A and

    • the duration of the project.

  • To evaluate the draft Final Report and draft Executive Summary at the conclusion of the project period and to make a recommendation to the WRC regarding the acceptance thereof.

  • To co-opt additional members onto the Reference Group, if found necessary.

  • To consider requests for project extensions relating to time and funding and make appropriate recommendations to the WRC.

Although the Reference Group cannot alter the aims of the project, changes in approach can be recommended. However, group members should be sensitive to the budgetary implications of any recommended changes to the project.

Meeting Secretary

Secretaries are appointed by the Project Leader. Reference Group meetings are held at regular intervals throughout the life cycle of a Research Project. There are different types of meetings, each having characteristic agenda requirements, namely:

  • Inaugural

  • Intermediate/Progress

  • Final

The duties of the meeting secretary are largely confined to keeping a comprehensive record of a meeting and producing an adequate set of minutes. Scheduling of the meeting, drafting of the agenda and distribution of documentation are functions normally carried out by the appropriate KSA coordinator within the WRC.

The minutes must be submitted to the WRC's responsible Research Manager no later than 2 weeks after the meeting. All minutes must be prepared in accordance with the Guidelines for Meeting Secretaries document.


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