Future Research Leaders Program

Future Research Leaders Program

The Future Research Leaders Program (FRLP) was developed collaboratively by the Group of Eight universities (Go8) to build skills and knowledge in research leadership and management. Building the capabilities of our researchers is integral to The University of Melbourne becoming one of the world's leading research universities.

Structure of the Program

The FRLP comprises eight separate modules that explore the effective principles and practice of research leadership. These modules are designed for researchers who are currently chief investigators, managers of the grant and funds process, or who are hoping to become a principal investigator on a project.

ModuleAimsLearning OutcomesContent Overview
Module 1: Research Strategy and PlanningThis module aims to provide you with some guidance on how to create a research project concept and proposal, and an introduction to the process of planning and managing the research project to its successful completion.

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Identify the strategic pressures affecting research in your university and how to take advantage of them;
·         Identify key steps in scoping your project proposal, including building an effective grant funding approach;
·         Implement a basic research project management process;
·         Develop a work breakdown structure; and
·         Prepare a research project plan.

The module comprises the following topics:
·         Research strategy: an introduction
·         This topic identifies factors in the research context that influence the choice of research direction.
·         Research planning: scope and concept
·         This topic discusses the key components to consider when scoping the concept.
·         Project funding: grant seeking
·         This topic provides an introduction to the granting bodies and the issues to consider in framing your proposal.
·         Basic research project management principles
·         This topic introduces to project management tools that assist you to effectively plan and then manage the research project.

Module 2: Commencement and Collaboration: putting ideas into practiceThe module aims to identify tools and resources relevant to the commencement of research projects and to define principles of project management in the context of research projects. It should also assist you to develop management and structure plans appropriate to the research project. The tools and methods learnt in this module will help you manage change and risks associated with research projects.

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Develop a plan and a budget for the research project based on the funding available and required timelines, in order to manage risk and monitor the project
·         Recruit the appropriate project team and identify roles, responsibilities, research outcomes, timelines, respective contributions (cash and in-kind) and resources
·         Apply the process for the commencement and finalisation of contracts/agreements in support of the research project
·         Create a program badge/brand for the project through a website and linkages with collaborators nationally and globally (relevant only to larger multi-organisation projects)
·         Develop a management framework including decision-making and communication policies
·         Finalise a procurement strategy and plan (infrastructure, materials & consumables);
·         Identify collaborators and develop a communication strategy for the benefit of all stakeholders
·         Understand the different forms of information that will be created in the course of a project
·         Design management plans for administrative records and data.

The module comprises the following topics:
·         Project commencement: key tasks
·        Management: small, medium and large projects
·         Establishing the identity and profile of your project
·         Recruiting, building and managing the project team
·         Implementing the project plan
·         Knowledge, information and data management.

Module 3: Governance and Compliance: Protecting yourself, your research and your UniversityThis module considers responsible conduct in research and how you can take maximum advantage of your university's governance and compliance requirements to build research strength and leadership. It aims to give you an understanding of the trust placed in people and in institutions that conduct research. You will also gain an appreciation that robust research requires integrity embodied in a commitment to intellectual honesty and personal responsibility for one's action.

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Locate and recognise the Codes of Conduct for Research that prescribe standards of work performance and ethical conduct expected of all persons engaged in research
·         Describe the situations where research requires approval by an ethics committee, safety committee or other regulatory committee or authority
·         Recognise the obligations to the university and community in undertaking publicly-funded and -sponsored research
·         Define what constitutes a failure to conduct research responsibly and major forms of misconduct
·         Identify key sources of information, advice and further education on specific issues relating to research conduct.

The module comprises the following topics:
·         The research context
·         Leading ethical research communities
·         Grant holder responsibilities
·         Research integrity
·         Knowledge capture and preservation
·         Other governance and compliance issues.

Module 4: Intellectual Property and CommercialisationThis module was designed to provide university researchers with an introduction to commercialisation. An emphasis has been placed on ensuring the researcher gains a broad understanding and appreciation of the processes involved in identifying, protecting and packaging innovations for the marketplace. Such an understanding should provide a critical base for researchers wishing to participate in and appreciate the complex commercialisation process

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Define and differentiate the types of intellectual property
·         Describe the nature of intellectual property management
·         Outline the way to structure a research project to generate IP with commercial potential
·         Summarise the ways to protect intellectual property on a daily basis
·         Appreciate the issues relating to intellectual property ownership for employees and students
·         Comprehend the broad commercialisation process
·         Cite the pathways of commercialisation
·         Identify sources of funding for commercialisaton
·         Recognise specific roles researchers can play in the commercialisation process
·         Identify the points at which a financial return can be realised
·         Understand the profit sharing policy of your research institution

The module comprises the following topics:

1. Intellectual property (IP) in a university context

What is IP and how is it protected? In a research context, we look at identifying research with IP and evaluating its commercial potential. We conclude with the issues of IP ownership, the costs associated with IP protection and ways in which IP should be protected on a daily basis. Topic 1 is divided into the following subtopics:
·         Types of intellectual property
·         Protecting IP internationally
·         Identifying IP with commercial potential
·         Key issues in IP management.

2. Commercialisation

The commercialisation process is reviewed in its entirety with a detailed look at key options, funding, exiting the process and the involvement of the researcher. Topic 2 is divided into the following subtopics:
·         The commercialisation process – an overview
·         Stages and pathways
·         Funding
·         Role of the researcher
·         Realising a return.

Module 5: Financial, Resource and Risk ManagementThe aim of this module is to equip you with the financial skills to properly cost, manage and report on research projects for which you are responsible.

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Understand, read and interpret financial information and reports in respect of research projects
·         Fully and accurately cost research proposals and understand how costs can be controlled
·         Prepare and monitor project budgets
·         Proactively analyse and manage the risks and resources associated with research projects
·         Prepare required financial reports and understand audit requirements.

The module comprises the following topics:
·         Understanding financial information and reports
·         Costing research proposals
·         Preparing and managing budgets
·         Risk assessment and management
·         Financial reporting for audit purposes.

Module 6: Grant and Contract AdministrationThe aims of this module on the administration of research grants and contracts are to:

Inform you about your obligations and responsibilities as the first-named CI/PI of a research grant or research contract.

Provide practical advice on how to manage research grants and contracts.

Give you an overview of the legalities and structure of research contracts.

Help you to think strategically about how to schedule tasks and outcomes for your new project while accommodating all the other activities in which you are involved.

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Review a funding agreement or draft research contract and identify key issues that relate to the administration of your project
·         Make strategic decisions about how to optimise your research outcomes within the constraints of time and funding limits
·         Identify personnel issues that have the potential to impact on the progress of your project
·         Design a plan for the management of your project that includes the preparation of a schedule of timelines, tasks and outcomes for everyone involved in the project
·         Identify administrative sections in your institution that can assist in the administration of your research.

The module comprises the following topics:
·         Administration of research grants
-The nature of research grants
-Managing the research grant
·         Administration of research contracts
-The nature of research contracts
-Managing the research contract
·         Project time management.

Module 7: Managing People in a Research ContextModule 7 aims to assist researchers to reflect on their preferred leadership style, the challenge of developing a context for creative research and the ongoing management issues within the distinctive research context of fixed-term employment and narrow time frames

Upon successful completion of this module you should be able to:
·         identify the characteristics of a culture in which research teams identify and achieve appropriate goals
·         understand the relevance of different leadership styles in a research context and the stages in team development
·         introduce key characteristics of effective communication, negotiation skills and teams
·         understand your responsibilities in creating a safe equitable workplace for the team
·         provide tools and skills for researchers to plan and monitor activities to meet the requirements of the research plan.

The module comprises the following three topics:
·         Challenges of managing and leading in a research setting
·         Research leadership
·         Managing individuals.

Module 8: Project CloseoutThe aim of this module is to provide you with an efficient and structured approach to project closeout. This approach will enable you to meet minimum client/sponsor obligations and capture ways by which they can improve your future approach to overall research project design, development and implementation.
The module also aims to illustrate some of the different requirements of different project types that university researchers need to be aware of as well as the benefits of using the closeout process to identify future research opportunities and improved research practices.

After completing this module you should be able to:
·         Explain the benefits of closing a project properly
·         Identify and describe obligations to a project sponsor/client from contract and project documentation
·         Outline your obligations to the project team members when a project closes
·         Structure a review and evaluation report for a project that has closed
·         Make and prioritise recommendations for other activities that could be undertaken to add value to the research investment that has been made.

The module comprises 4 topics and workshop preparation materials that it is expected will take approximately 4.0 hours to work through online:
·         The importance of closing out
·         Project closeout compliance requirements
·         Project review and evaluation
·         Using project closeout to your advantage


For further information about the FRLP, or to register, please contact

Sylvia Schaffarczyk
+61 3 8344 8664