A Day in the Life of a UCLB Project Manager

2 November 2023

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UCLB Head of Project Management Jess Bolton reflects on the vital role project managers play getting lifesaving technologies to market.

As a Project Manager at UCL Business, a typical day is spent working across my large project portfolio of exciting new discoveries at UCL within the biopharmaceutical space, and really driving forward the maximum commercial potential of my assigned projects, collaboratively with my colleagues.

Our Project Management team have diverse and abundant responsibilities. We are accountable for delivering projects on time, within the awarded budget and to the satisfaction of the academic team and various stakeholders. We also play a large part in liaising between different elements of the business and university, to ensure every project we’re managing goes smoothly.

Strong communication is a very important characteristic when working with a number of different departments and forging relationships with research teams, consultants and vendors. We take full ownership of leading our projects to success.

We use best practices and specialist skills gained from our accredited project management training, such as PRINCE2 and AgilePM to communicate with our project teams from the outset, and apply the appropriate methodologies and framework throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Establishing roles and responsibilities is key in ensuring the project has the necessary resources to successfully meet its objectives. Creating a detailed project plan, and regularly assessing progress against the agreed plan and milestones is vital, along with project governance documentation, and long-term identification and mitigation of risks.

However, in the technology transfer industry, it’s also critical to take an adaptable approach in managing complex life sciences commercialisation projects. If a challenge arises and we are met with a unique constraint or limitation, we adopt a solutions-oriented approach to addressing them.

With input and expertise from a Business Manager and Investment Manager where required, we take a strategic approach to managing projects, with high awareness of operational strategy and commercial goals.

I’m lucky to work within a brilliant team of approachable people and have access to experts in the industry, across a range of disciplines. I have lots of opportunities to learn from them during our interactions and enhance my knowledge on particular topics. We share plenty of insightful lessons learnt too, across all the projects we work on, past and present. This is invaluable for future planning and process improvements. We are also supported in our personal development and growth, and have numerous opportunities to enrich our skill set and attend relevant learning courses.

The project management role at UCLB combines operations and science and I’m extremely motivated by the idea of delivering a brand new innovative technology, that ultimately improves a patient’s quality of life.

Find out more about Project Management at UCLB, here.