Introducing the Cancer Research Project Managers’ Network

OCRB side at nighttime

Described by the academics who work with them as ‘giving me wings’ and ‘my right-hand woman’, project managers (PMs) sit at the heart of the Team Science ethos in Manchester cancer research.  Getting a research project off the ground is a complex process involving many different departments across the University and NHS Trusts, as well as potentially other collaborators such as a commercial sponsor, a clinical trials unit, or private companies.


The tasks taken on by PMs vary enormously both from one day to the next and from one PM to the next, and reflect the needs of the research(er) they support.  The common thread, though, is that PMs do the behind-the-scenes work that makes research happen.  This can involve liaising with contracts, business engagement, HR, research governance, and information governance (amongst others) to ensure the processes underpinning research projects proceed in a timely fashion.  It can also involve helping to run patient, public involvement and engagement events, horizon scanning and funding intelligence, and contributing to manuscript preparation and submission.  In short, PMs are invaluable team members.


Led by Rebecca Elliott, Emma Thorpe, and Kate Vaughan, the Cancer Research Project Managers’ Network (CRPMN) was established to promote and support the work of PMs working in cancer research across Manchester.  Our vision is threefold.

  1. PMs will be recognised as having valued roles that are integral to research teams as part of the Team Science ethos that underpins cancer research delivery
  2. We will drive the delivery of exceptional scientific research and PMs in Manchester will lead the way in defining and developing research project management as an independent and recognised profession
  3. The CRPMN also provides a forum for PMs to ask questions and share best practice, drawing on the large pool of knowledge and experience of its members.


If you are an academic, a researcher or have project management as a career aspiration and wish to discuss the cancer PM role further, please contact either Rebecca Elliott (, Emma Thorpe ( or Kate Vaughan (


For further information about our work, our recent poster presentation at the Greater Manchester Cancer Virtual Cancer Week 2021 can be downloaded here:


Look out for the CRPMN page on the MCRC website – coming soon

My PM, Kim Reeves, is my right-hand woman - #TeamScience would be nothing without her as she delivers my existing portfolio of research and is always looking for ways to expand it.

Prof. Ananya Choudhury

A project manager can help a group to maximise its research potential – having both the scientific knowledge and overarching understanding of the research focus to continually drive identification of funding opportunities, grant applications and manuscript development, whilst other team members focus on lab work or leadership and teaching responsibilities. Importantly, a project manager can also provide an extra connection between group leaders and lab team members to help foster an efficient and collaborative team approach.”

Prof. Stephen Taylor

Our RRR project managers facilitate my work immensely; they ‘give me wings’ and help me manoeuvre through the complex research administrative mire!

Prof. Corinne Faivre Finn

Driving Cancer Team Science: Our Research Strategy

The concept of ‘Team Science’ lies at the heart of our research strategy. and is the key to us developing world-leading, practice-influencing and life-changing cancer research.


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