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Winners announced at APM’s Festival of Education and Research Awards

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Awards recognising excellence among students, academics and educators were presented at the Association for Project Management (APM) Festival of Education and Research.

The virtual event brought together hundreds of delegates from around the world to discuss the latest research, trends and skills shaping the transition of project management to its new reality – one on which it's critical for the project community to be prepared for. It provided a valuable opportunity for students, academics and early career project professionals to meet prospective employers, network and develop skills and knowledge.

One of the highlights was the Festival of Education and Research Awards ceremony, which concluded the event. Awards were presented in the following categories:

  • Project Management Student of the Year – Meghna Praveen Kumar Gayathri, Coventry University
  • Project Management Apprentice of the Year – Oliver Atkinson, BAE Systems
  • Project Management Graduate of the Year – Raheema Majid – BTTC Infrastructure
  • Project Management Postgraduate Dissertation of the Year – Maresca Demanuele, University of Sussex
  • Project Management Doctorate of the Year – Muhammad Ayat, Hanyang University, South Korea
  • Project Management Educator of the Year – Dr Mohamed Abadi, University of Manchester
  • Developmental Programme of the Year – Project Management Degree Apprenticeship, Sellafield Ltd
  • Project Management Research Paper of the Year – Amos P Haniff and Laura Galloway, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University

Student of the Year Award winner, Meghna Praveen Kumar Gayathri, was project manager as part of a team at Coventry University that developed a game for international students coming to the UK, which provided them with help and guidance on settling into university life.

On winning the award, Meghna commented: “I was surprised but extremely honoured to have won. This is such a prestigious award and I’m delighted that all the hard work has paid off! With a motivated project team and good leadership kills you can make anything work!”

Dr Mohamed Abadi, Director of the Management of Projects MSc programme in the Department of Engineering Management at the University of Manchester, collected the award for Educator of the Year. He said: “For an educator there is nothing more precious than seeing the smile on the faces of the students after I complete a course, and to have my efforts acknowledged by a professional body and my fellow colleagues.”

Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM, said: “APM is committed to recognising and rewarding achievements within the project profession, and this event provides the perfect opportunity for students, academics and early career project professionals to meet prospective employers, network and develop skills and knowledge. I would like to congratulate all the award winners for their achievements, along with the speakers and everyone involved in making it such a success.”


Leading the conversation

In addition to the awards ceremony, the Festival also offered attendees the chance to hear from some of the world’s leading project experts, join discussions, meet prospective employers and network with peers.

A slide from Dr Paul Chan's presentationThe opening keynote was provided by Dr Paul Chan, Professor of Design and Construction Management at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. His presentation was on the topic of ‘project management in transitions: Bridging between academia, industry and society’.

Dr Chan shared the view that project management is too focused on cost and time, explaining that project professionals must transition to working with other actors to achieve a co-design approach and facilitate conversations that result in a better understanding on all sides of everyone’s unique needs.

Another session, delivered by previous APM Award winners, looked at the issues the next generation of project and programme professionals need to be aware of. Panel member Jennifer Piehlmaier, who won the award for post-graduate dissertation of the year at the 2022 Festival of Education and Research, focused on the theme of new ways of working. She said: “Remote working isn’t easy sometimes. Forming teams is more difficult online. We’re human beings. We form relationships in person and not through screens.”

She went on to provide advice to delegates on how to work remotely in a way that ensured productivity and preserved wellbeing.

A slide from Dr Luca Sabini's presentationFellow panel member, Dr Luca Sabini, Associate Professor in Project Management at the University of Leeds, highlighted the importance of for educators of promoting diversity, equality and inclusion, suggesting that a student-centric approach to this can yield positive results.

He said: “When you have mature students or students who bring their own experiences, when they bring those to class it’s very interesting for me and other students. Educators should encourage people to share their experiences.”

On demand content from the APM Festival of Education and Research will be available on Monday 20 February 2023.


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