USING RISK REGISTER IN RESEARCH PROJECTS

D. Kuchta, E. Ptaszyńska

Wroclaw University of Technology (POLAND)
Based on interviews with people who are involved in research projects in Poland we state that there is a gap in risk management of research projects realized at universities and others schools of post-secondary education. Research projects are very sensitive to risk because they are often innovative and they are very different from projects implemented by companies. Companies have a huge base of experience, best practices and standards and, most importantly, such projects are at least to some extent repetitive. The unique character of research projects makes that participants are against new and unknown challenges which occurrence and impact on the success of the project is difficult to predict. Therefore there is a need to recognize risk management as one of the key activities carried out by the manager of research projects. The paper contains a proposal of risk register which can be used not only to identify risk which can appear in research projects, but also assess its attributes (probability, consequences and ability to early detection of occurrence) and finally proposes risk responses. Risk is considered here as an event with negative consequences for the project (completion date, cost or the final product of the project are not compatible with the plan and deviations from this plan at least in one of these three aspects are difficult or impossible to accept) [Courtot, 1998]. In the paper we also present the main strengths and weaknesses of using risk register in research projects.