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Project Management is a major component of the Life Science and Technology industries and it offers a rich and varied career path. A good Project Manager often starts their career in a more administrative co-ordination role, before gradually progressing to undertake more and more responsibility for project mangement, planning and controlling projects from start to finish (often referred to as “cradle to grave”), being the main point of contact for project-related queries and delegating duties to others within the project team.
The role of Project Manager is wide ranging and will typically include such tasks including working with key stakeholders to develop a detailed project plan containing the project scopes, objectives, milestones and costs. The Project Manager will then use appropriate verification techniques to measure project performance and report and escalate any issues arising to management. The ability to manage the relationship with the client, in-house operational departments and all stakeholders via frequent communication and coordination is a key requirement for a project manager, as is performing risk management to minimise project risks.
Project Managers working within the pharmaceutical industry are responsible for coordinating internal resources and third parties/vendors to ensure that all projects are delivered on time, on budget and to international quality standards (ICH GCP) by providing the management of internal and external teams in accordance to company SOPs. Project management roles can be found within Pharma companies themselves or within 3rd party service providers (such as a CRO) and the emphasis and core duties will vary accordingly. Project Management is also very prevalent within IT settings, whether to set up new technology infrastructure, roll out new upgrade versions of software across multiple sites, migrate data, and much more.
Related job titles include: Project Management Assistant, Project Coordinator, Project Support Associate, Senior Project Manager
Key Skills and Experience required to become a Project Manager
A degree in a Life Science or other relevant subject
A recognised project management accreditation (e.g. PRINCE2)
Project management software (e.g. Microsoft Project, SharePoint, SmartSheet)
Excellent organisation, time management and communication skills
Ability to multi-task
Once you have gained commercial experience in more of a coordination role, which typically may have a salary in the region of £18k - £22k, Project Management can be a lucrative career path and can also lead to opportunities for flexible / remote working. Depending on the industry sector, a Project Manager could earn anything from £25k to £45k. People who move into consultancy-based Project Management can earn decent daily rates, usually in the range between £250 and £450 per day.