Centre of Physics and Technological Research @ Nova University of Lisbon | Project Research Assistant
The Research Centre did not have a project officer to assist researchers for several months. Processes were delayed, papers were out of place, and projects budgets were not being controlled.
After solving urgent matters, a working system was built. That included collecting information about the procedures, creating new Excel sheets for monitoring processes and budgets, building good and trustworthy relationships with other departments and internal services. Contacts via email were preferred to other forms of communication for registration and tracking purposes.
The website was updated and used to make available the procedures that researchers had to follow in terms of travelling and procurement. Checklists were also made available to guide researchers. Furthermore, information about the centre was collected and published or updated, such as the number of researchers and their role in the centre, data about ongoing and concluded projects and other activities, PhD students and corresponding theses.
Other procedures were implemented stemming from managing projects. For example, it was concluded that gas supply at the labs was not being monitored. Therefore, stocktaking was conducted and a new system to replace/acquire new bottles was created. Furthermore, there were overdue invoices regarding gas supply. After difficult talks with the supplier, the situation was finally settled.
The implemented working system resulted in a better understanding of procedures and a smoother and speed up of processes. In addition, it became possible to track, monitor, and share accurate and updated information about projects at any given time. The working relationships that were re-established allowed an increase of collaboration, which made project management much easier. By gaining their trust, showing availability to solve their problems, supporting them with the necessary procedures, and anticipating their needs, the project officer made lecturers and students felt more supported and better informed about procedures, which helped them improve their research performance. Finally, due to the diligences regarding gas supply, the centre reduced its expense in 43% in that area.