Title: Managerial challenges of publicly funded principal investigators

Authors: James A. Cunningham; Paul O'Reilly; Conor O'Kane; Vincent Mangematin

Addresses: J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and The Whitaker Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland ' Faculty of Business, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland ' Department of Management, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand ' Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France

Abstract: Principal investigators (PIs) are at the nexus of university business collaborations through their leadership of funded research grants. In fulfilling their multiple roles, PIs are involved in a range of different activities, from direct scientific supervision of junior scientists, the organisation of new scientific avenues to engaging with industrial partners. With the increased impetus for public research to produce wealth through science commercialisation, research is increasingly orchestrated through programmes which seek to connect research avenues and markets. The role of PIs is of growing importance. The extent of managerial challenges encountered by scientists in the context of their PI role has not been the focus of any empirical studies. This paper examines the managerial challenges experienced by publicly funded PIs. Our study, set in the context of the Irish research system, found three foci of PI managerial challenges - project management, project adaptability and project network management.

Keywords: public funded principal investigators; scientists; technology transfer; managerial challenges; boundary spanners; roles; responsibilities; research commercialisation; public funding; university business collaborations; research grants; industrial cooperation; Ireland; project management; project adaptability; project network management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2015.069669

International Journal of Technology Management, 2015 Vol.68 No.3/4, pp.176 - 202

Received: 03 Jul 2013
Accepted: 03 Jun 2014

Published online: 29 May 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article