PIPMG has a long and rich history of supporting project management in life science. Find out more concerning our mission, our history and our current structure in the sections below.
PIPMG’s aims and principal activities.
The PIPMG exists primarily to support development of the Project Management profession in the global pharmaceutical, biotech and associated industries by:
- Encouraging recognition of the key role of project management in the industry
- Enabling learning and sharing of best practices in portfolio, programme and project management
- Providing Training, Coaching and Continual Professional Development
- Providing a forum for communication and information exchange between members.
- Introduction, participation in and support of initiatives intended to improve the practice of project management internationally
Key drivers for our activities
A key activity is the organisation of meetings for information sharing, learning and networking. The topics we select for meetings are driven by what have always been key challenges for life science project management:
- Project management in life science is not a ‘chartered’ role and there are no mandatory accreditations or qualifications for it. Your role may be poorly defined, and we can help to clarify it.
- Life science technology and organisational systems are always moving forward, and the project manager is often too busy to keep up with the latest thinking. We provide focused and cost-effective meetings where you can do so
Another key activity is provision of training and coaching, specifically relevant to the Pharma/Life Science sector.
- Life science in particular works with complex structures – cross-functional teams, external partnerships of many kinds. Taking a leading role within these is challenging, especially for those new to the role. We can help build the necessary skills.
How we arrived at where we are today.
The PIPMG was founded in 1985 by individuals from some of the key players in the UK pharmaceutical industry at the time: Beecham, Fisons, Glaxo, ICI Pharmaceuticals, Smith Kline & French, Roche, Syntex and Wellcome.
In those days, project management was relatively new to the pharmaceutical sector and many of the people involved were not formally trained, having moved from other roles in their respective companies. In fact the original idea that led to PIPMG came from a meeting of the Association of Information Officers in the Pharmaceutical Industry (AIOPI) because some of this group were taking on project management work alongside their information science roles.
It soon became clear that there was a shared interest among companies to find out how others were responding to the project management challenge. Small meetings were held on a rotational basis, hosted by the different companies involved. Typically the host company would describe how it was implementing project management and this would be followed by a general discussion. After a couple of cycles, enthusiasm for these meetings declined as each company progressed along its chosen track and general awareness was greater. There was an attempt to broaden the meetings both in terms of agenda and attendance and this met with some success, with external speakers contributing on a voluntary basis. However the administrative burden for the host company became too great as the meetings increased in size and at this point the future of PIPMG was unclear.
The core organising group decided that some ‘new blood’ was required to take things forward more effectively but it proved difficult to achieve the required continuity. On more than one occasion during the early to mid 1990’s PIPMG came close to being dissolved. Then some of the original members agreed to return in the form of a Steering Committee to bring some structure to the planning of the twice-yearly meetings. It was decided to engage a professional organisation to manage the logistics of these meetings and the partnership with Browncroft Associates was formed. This provided the structure and organisation for PIPMG to grow rapidly since individual companies no longer had to host meetings, even though volunteers were still required to ‘design’ and run the programme. Using external venues also provided greater capacity and the numbers of attendees increased accordingly. Introducing new members to the Steering Committee is no longer a problem and this bodes well for the future development of the group.
For PIPMG today, the picture is very different from those early days. All the original companies have been involved in some form of consolidation and four of them are now one (GlaxoSmithKline). The number of smaller companies has increased significantly – some have become substantial entities in their own right, while other have found it more challenging to make the transition from a ‘biotech’ to a more traditional pharmaceutical company. The role of specialist service providers has increased as large companies seek to outsource non-core activities and small companies strive to take drugs further along the development pathway before seeking licensing deals. PIPMG has embraced all these changes and the current membership of around 500 from 65 companies in the UK and Europe is representative of all those involved in developing new medicines. In spite of all these changes PIPMG has retained an informal structure that seems to be valued by its members and provides an excellent networking environment.
In late 2018 PIPMG began discussions with the Association for Project Management (APM) to collaborate in running joint events. Three were held during the following year, in London venues, and were very successful, with full houses and late bookers being turned away!
The pandemic of 2020 – 21 brought PIPMG’s principal activity to a sudden halt. Nevertheless, beginning in summer 2020 a series of free online meetings were planned and run, which were very well attended and well received.
Late 2020 began a period of reflection about whether PIPMG’s activities should continue. This was partly due to the interruption in income for a year+, but also with the increasing difficulty of tasking the committee members with development activities. This was always a challenge with them being either busy corporate employees or consultants running their own businesses, plus with diminished funds it was a stretch to hire paid help. In 2021 the committee approved a new strategy for the future and the formation of an Executive Team to execute it. The latter was a group of committee members that, on a paid basis, would run PIPMG’s traditional operations and develop new streams of activity, principally offering a range of training programmes.
The pharmaceutical industry will continue to change and PIPMG, having demonstrated its value, is well-placed to play an important role in shaping best practice in project management well into the future.
PIPMG is an association run for the benefit of its members and indirectly to support anyone that is working in a project management or associated role in the life science sector.
Its principal activities are: Encouraging recognition of the key role of project management in the industry; Introduction, participation in and support of initiatives intended to improve the practice of project management internationally;
Providing a forum for communication and information exchange between members; encouraging continuing development and education; Provision of relevant training and development.
PIPMG is a not-for-profit organisation therefore any surplus funds will be managed by the Executive Team to fund improvements to the quality of services provided for PIPMG members (e.g. public meetings, workshops, PIPMG communications, website enhancements etc.).
Membership of PIPMG is open to all but exists primarily for professionals involved in the management of projects in the life science sector. Free and subscription-based membership levels will grant access to respective restricted areas of the web site and by default will add a member to the email distribution list. Membership is at the discretion of the Steering Committee and may be terminated at any time for any reason deemed to be appropriate by the Steering Committee (subject to appropriate refund of any fees).
PIPMG Ltd and Board
PIPMG corporate and trading activities are managed by a Not-For-Profit Company, PIPMG Ltd. The Board of directors of the company consists of volunteers and it is their responsibility to:
- Ensure that PIPMG as a whole is fulfilling its mission and objectives
- Ensure the financial health of PIPMG and manage company affairs
- Approve membership of the Steering Committee
The Board will appoint /remove directors by majority vote.
In the event of PIPMG Ltd being wound up with a cash surplus, this will be donated to medically based charities at the discretion of the Board / Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee consists of volunteers (some of which may also be Board members). It is their responsibility to:
- Lead and approve the vision and long term strategy of PIPMG
- Appoint Executive Team members
- Network within the sector to help identify interesting speakers for events and help PIPMG to stay at the forefront of current practice
- Help to shape the annual programme of events
- Seek interested volunteers from the life science sector to join the committee and/or help with events.
The Executive Team consists of paid consultants, some of which may also be Board/Steering members, but prevented from voting on related decisions). It is their responsibility to:
- Plan a programme of webinar/networking events of interest to members and the life science sector generally
- Plan a programme of training events and ensure quality delivery by contracted suitable trainers
- Communicate about events and training with members by mail shot, web updates, blogs and social media
- Broker links and partnerships similar bodies to provide benefits to members, collaborate in joint events where opportunities arise and share promotional activities / contacts lists
- Maintain the PIPMG website and liaise with the contract services provider
- Manage routine PIPMG finances
- Update the Steering Committee on a regular basis and participate in meetings
Board/Steering Committee benefits
- Board and Steering Committee members will be volunteers and not be remunerated for any PIPMG routine activities.
- Board and Steering Committee members will be reimbursed for reasonable out of pocket expenses incurred in set up / provisioning of events.
- Board and Seering Committee members may be paid for certain commissioned development activities but where so will be ineligible to vote in approval of said commissions.
- Board and Steering Committee members will be able to attend any PIPMG events free of charge.