17 Mar 2017

AIPM to support University of Melbourne’s Next Generation Engagement Project

Research, AIPM News

AIPM to support University of Melbourne’s Next Generation Engagement Project

The Australian Institute of Project Management today announced that it will be supporting the identification of the key social challenges for infrastructure projects through the University of Melbourne’s groundbreaking Next Generation Engagement Project.

AIPM CEO Yvonne Butler, said: “our 27,000 constituents, and our colleagues globally, grapple with the competitive tension between the best project outcomes and competing stakeholder interests.”

“The Next Generation Engagement Project provides an important opportunity to look at a these issues on a national scale in conjunction with leaders from other disciplines and to begin quantifying the impacts of engagement on overall project outcomes.”

“We’re pleased to be able to bring the experiences of our members to this important work with the University of Melbourne and encourage each of our members to take the opportunity to share their insights with the Next Generation team.”

Social license expert, Dr Sara Bice, is leading the project on behalf of the Melbourne School of Government and commented on the project when she said “There appears to be a significant challenge emerging in terms of the relationship between communities and infrastructure projects.

“Anecdotally, we are told that community factors have significant impacts on the budget, schedule and scope of major infrastructure projects. Almost $20 billion in largely taxpayer-funded projects have been delayed, cancelled or completed and then mothballed over the past decade in Australia.

“The Next Generation Engagement Project aims to identify the key engagement challenges and gaps in delivering new infrastructure and to then address them through applied research with industry, government and ultimately the community.”

“Partners such as the Australian Institute of Project Management will play a vital role in helping us to understand the problem. The experiences of their members in delivering major projects will allow us to create a clear picture of the core social challenges facing Australia’s infrastructure delivery. What’s more, their experience in engagement research will give us some invaluable building blocks for our work” Dr Bice said.

Over the coming six months the University of Melbourne and its partners will conduct the largest national consultation on engagement to date. This will include:

  • a national survey on engagement and social license challenges for Australia’s infrastructure sector

  • workshops in each capital city with leading Australian practitioners and international infrastructure experts

  • a gap analysis that details the most critical knowledge gaps for the community engagement profession

  • testing the gap analysis with infrastructure professionals across Australia.

Dr Bice said, “Through this work we aim to identify the biggest roadblocks around engagement, social risk management and social license for infrastructure delivery together with an analysis of emerging trends and challenges.”

“Our aim is to get this information onto the desk of key decision makers in Australia’s infrastructure sector to really inform the discussion. Our intention is that this work will seed longer-term research partnerships that will help industry to make meaningful progress on these issues.”