Project GovernanceClear and robust project governance is essential for project's success
This international project is large and complex. It has a number of discrete but overlapping research themes. It involves fieldwork in over 10 locations within Russia, and a host of supporting research and academic institutions. The core research team is drawn from several countries beyond Russia including the UK, Germany and Norway. Funding is from 4 different sources in the UK and Norway. Overall we have have had over 100 people working on the project at any one time.
There are many challenges involved, apart from scientific objectives, therefore effective project management and governance are crucial to ensure the project runs smoothly and to obtain the best outcomes for the population health.
The London-based Project Manager (Anastasiya Kichigina) together with project coordinators from Russia, UK and Norway have provided strategic and administrative support to the Principal Investigators and project team. In order to achieve results, project team members have needed to work extremely closely together, not just within the fieldwork team, but also across fieldwork sites in different cities or even in different countries.
In order to deliver activities, firstly, we created an effective communication processes and channels to make sure that everyone has immediate access to important information and documents. We had regular Skype meetings with the team members. It allowed us to review project status on a weekly basis, identify issues, risks, update each other on progress and make decisions.
Secondly, we developed governance framework and series of cross-functional steering groups and international advisory board around our strategic areas. The role of these groups was to provide guidance to our various project initiatives, to monitor and review activities.
Finally, we have clearly defined standard methodology for our teams to follow. This lets our team know what to do, what deliverables to produce, and who to involve in the process. With the project management support, we could handle bureaucratic, technical, political, economic, linguistic, behavioural and cultural challenges.
International Advisory Board
The International Advisory Board provides independent oversight of the strategic objectives, progress and direction of the project as a whole. It meets on an annual basis where it discusses a report of progress and challenges faced in the previous twelve months. Its membership is as follows :
- Camilla Stoltenberg, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
- Tatiana Savinova, UiT – The Artic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
- Stefan Blankenberg, Department of General and Interventional Cardiology, University of Hamburg, Germany
- France Meslé, Institut national d’études démographiques, Paris, France
- Pekka Puska, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
- Rosalind Raine, University College London, UK
- Sergey Shishkin, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
Representatives of the funders of the study are invited to attend each of the meetings as observers
The steering group is responsible for strategic decisions in the conduct of the field work and approval of PhD research projects and of publication proposals. It meets 2-3 times per year but conducts most of its business via email. It is chaired by the project leader (David Leon). Its other members are the lead scientists of each of the four research themes (Per Magnus, Vladimir Shkolnikov, Sofia Malyutina, Martin McKee) plus two other scientists from the core team (Alexander Kudryavtsev, Henrik Schirmer). It is supported by Anastasiya Kichigina, the project manager.
Study Access Group
Once the main period of funding has come finished (end of February 2019) researchers from the core team and other researchers will want to have access to the data and in some cases to the biobank of samples that will be maintained in Russia. To make decisions about such access requests we will establish a Study Access Group that will have an independent chair. Further details about this group will be published here when it has been established.