Keywords: large-scale international science projects, project management, global projects, global management, project funding, nuclear fusion, engineering management
Maintaining funding in large-scale international science projects
International partnerships have become increasingly necessary to achieve scientific breakthroughs. They have been used in the human genome project, space exploration, the development of fusion energy as a source of power, and most recently to identify the SARS virus. In these projects, partners contribute funds, equipment and staff in the pursuit of a common goal. But in recent years the sustainability of funding for some of these projects has become an issue of concern. Two examples include the termination of the Super Conducting Super Collider in 1993 and the withdrawal of the USA from the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in 1998. Both suggest the need for better management of the funding process. This paper explores the management of this funding process, supported by a case study, and concludes with several lessons that should prove useful to those who manage these projects.