Association for Project Management
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The importance of research and innovation

Blog posted by: Daniel Nicholls, 16 Aug 2021.

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On 22 July the UK government set out its new Innovation Strategy seeking to cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in science, research and innovation.  The strategy outlines how the government will focus its efforts to support businesses and research institutions at the cutting edge of innovation, setting out plans in four areas:

  • Unleashing Business by supporting businesses who want to innovate by providing access to private and public investment.
  • People by developing talent and making the UK the destination for researchers and innovators.
  • Institutions and Places through ensuring research serves the needs of industry and promoting innovation in places across the UK.
  • Missions and Technologies inspirating innovation in technology and missions that will provide the UK with the tools to meet its grand challenges.

As the chartered body for the project profession, APM has long appreciated the importance of innovation and research with one our strategic and chartered objectives seeking to advance the art, science, theory and practice of project management with an innovative knowledge and research programme.

APM consulted with key stakeholder groups to develop a research programme that covers both academic and business research and comprises several components such as research funding, research collaboration, events and dissemination. Initial work focused on developing a research pipeline, aiding research dissemination through the creation of the APM Summary Series and participation of members and the wider project management community. However, important to all of this is we recognise that more is needed to bridge the gap between industry and academia, develop the next generation of researchers, recognise achievements and develop research informed practice and standards.

In recent years we have sought to improve our support for the next generation of researchers most notably doctoral students and early career researchers (ECRs) through stipends (grants) to attend major conferences such as the British Academy of Management (BAM) as well as working with leading researchers to develop specific workshops and events that can help support them on their journey.

We are an active partner in many major research initiatives most notably Project X which seeks to improve project delivery of major government projects and programmes it also seeks to develop a future pipeline of research talent for the profession.

We created the APM Festival of Education and Research to celebrate achievements of researchers at all levels as well as providing practical workshops that can aid researchers, students and practitioners at all stages of their career. These events take many guises; some are led by APM, others are led in partnership between APM.   

We also sponsor or support leading international research conferences such as BAM2021 and the European Academy of Management. Whilst Covid-19 has hampered us from holding as many in-person research events as we would have liked, we have sought to share insight from leading research through a range of platforms including webinars, blogs and Project journal articles.  

As a major professional body we appreciate the importance of investment in research and development and provide a number of research funding opportunities including our annual APM Research Fund and through commissioning major research. As we have developed our research capability, we’ve sought to use research and evidence to inform standards and practice including APM’s Body of Knowledge and Competence Framework and in developing new qualifications. 

Forthcoming highlights for the next six months or so include: a plethora of leading reports on subjects such as project success, agile, project capabilities and sustainability amongst others; our 2021 research fund will open its call for funding in October and why not join us for our Festival of Education and Research in February 2022. 

If you want to know more about APM research, please visit or contact us via

About the author

Daniel Nicholls

Daniel currently heads up APM’s research programme which aims to advance the art, science, theory and practice and project management. This includes: commissioning and developing research studies, having oversight of APM's Research Fund, research promotion and dissemination, leading APM's submissions and calls for evidence to government and other agencies and collaborating with other like-minded organisations to support APM’s wider influencing agenda.

Prior to working for APM, Daniel previously worked as a project practitioner leading projects for the University of Bedfordshire, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and GFirst – Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). 


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