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Sustainable Project Management

Updated: Oct 30, 2023


Project Management

Sustainable project management is crucial for the success of grant-funded projects. From ensuring sound decision-making and proper infrastructure management to integrating sustainability principles, a skilled project manager can ensure a project stays on track and achieves its goals. Incorporating the triple bottom line and considering social sustainability are also important aspects of sustainable project management. Without proper management, even well-funded projects with great ideas can fall short. Ensure the success of your grant-funded project with a focus on sustainable project management.


Project management essentials


Imagine putting in all the hard work of writing a successful proposal — making sure every condition from the call text is met — and funding is granted. The entire research team is ecstatic; the funding is ample enough to ensure the project moves forward as it was designed in the countless hours spent on the grant application. But then the project fails. Despite the great idea, despite the ample funding, and despite the enthusiasm of the team, it just wasn’t enough to get the project to market.


This underscores the importance of good, sustainable project management. Project managers can sometimes be thought of as less integral to a project’s success over its life cycle, which is a view that many failed initiatives have taken. In reality, proper management is essential to ensure on-time and on-budget project delivery and to ensure overall project success. These principles apply equally to all endeavours that have received grant funding, but in today’s climate, it is especially important for sustainable technologies to properly manage their ideas and get them to market.


That is why the focus here is on the importance of sustainable project management processes — for sustainable development and technologies that will help lessen the ecological and environmental impact for future generations.


Sustainable project management is also essential post-grant funding because it ensures that the project utilizes the resources effectively and efficiently. A sustainable approach to project management ensures that the project goals are achieved, and long-term impacts are delivered. This is because sustainable project management is not just about the short-term benefits of the project, but also about its long-term sustainability.


Essential #1: Ensuring sound decision making


The primary role of sustainable or green project management is to ensure sound decision making. This goes for ensuring project success, but also for ensuring sustainability is built into the thinking of project goals. A case study from the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, found that the most effective way to do this is for the project manager to do it, further emphasizing the importance of having sustainable project management competencies. Of course, there is much to be considered on top of sustainability. One of the main reasons that projects fail to reach the market after obtaining grant funding is a lack of industrial know-how — in essence, an inability to translate success in the lab to success in the real world. Project managers excel in this area particularly, ensuring deliverables are met and progress moves forward through each stage along the path to market.


Essential #2: Properly managing large infrastructure projects


Not all grant-funded projects require building and working with large infrastructure but the ones that do need to make sure this is well managed. Keeping major construction projects on time and within budget is a difficult task, and becomes even harder when it must consider the environmental aspects of sustainable construction. This is usually far outside the scope (and desire) of the scientific coordinators that typically run the lab side of these projects. Having a competent project manager can be the difference between getting the infrastructure built and shutting down the project and that’s not an exaggeration. Someone who can look beyond short-term aspects of development projects while also incorporating environmental management is extremely valuable. Researchers should focus on research, and managers should focus on management.


Essential #3: Ensuring true integration of sustainability


This applies mainly to projects that are rooted in sustainable technology or innovation, though it also holds true for others, such as those working with natural resources or agriculture. The concept of sustainability is simple: it is the ability to maintain a certain rate or level of consumption or use. While considering sustainability is important for ground-breaking sustainable technologies, it is applicable to all sorts of project management in a time where all major infrastructure projects need to have less impact on the environment. Project management practices need to incorporate more than just environmental sustainability into their practices — they need to implement the triple bottom line and focus on economic sustainability management as well. Proper energy portfolio management can help all of these, depending on the scope of the project, and a full ecology and sustainability assessment on all project activities will go a long way in ensuring true integration of sustainability. Without going into a literature review on stakeholder engagement, stakeholder management, procurement, and supply chain management, there are certain aspects of social sustainability that need to be addressed on top of environmental sustainability. Corporate social responsibility is also included in this, and it is becoming increasingly important in an age where companies are held to a higher standard of not only sustainable operation, but also fair and equitable treatment of people and the environment.


Other aspects to consider


In addition to ensuring the success of the project, adopting a sustainable approach to project management also helps secure future funding opportunities. Funding organizations are increasingly looking for projects that are sustainable and have a long-term impact on society and the environment. By adopting sustainable project management practices, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and increase their chances of securing future funding opportunities.


Moreover, sustainable project management ensures that projects are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 goals that aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. By incorporating the SDGs into their project management practices, organizations can ensure that their projects are contributing to a sustainable future for all.


Sustainable project management is critical post-grant funding because it ensures that projects are managed effectively and efficiently, meet their goals, deliver long-term impact, and are aligned with the SDGs. Adopting a sustainable approach to project management is essential for the continued success of the project and for securing future funding opportunities.


How Linq Consulting can help with sustainable project management


Linq Consulting specializes in all areas of creating and managing successful proposals and projects, with dedicated sustainable project management specialists that have experience with multi-million Euro collaborative funding initiatives. Our team of expert researchers, writers, and project managers can help with all aspects of proposals as well as sustainable project management after successful grant funding.


With our expertise in grants management, we can help you secure – and make the most of – funding from Horizon Europe, as well as any other grant opportunities that may be available.


For more information on how we can help, get in touch with us at info@linq-consulting.com.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @linq-consulting and connect with us on LinkedIn as well.

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