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Mitacs brings project management to CryptoWorks21

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On July 23-24 2013, cryptography researchers took a hands-on approach to project management in a two-day workshop presented by the Mitacs Step program.

The CryptoWorks21 Professional Development Session on Project Management was presented by the Mitacs Step program and hosted by the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo. The 19 workshop attendees included graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and research assistant professors from the University of Waterloo, University of Calgary, Université de Montréal, and Perimeter Institute. The workshop was lead by France Cloutier, an organization development specialist, and focused on project management skills relevant to researchers and academics.

Workshop attendees learned firsthand the power of effective project management by working in small groups to build teams, develop working cultures, and plan projects. "In 2 days, my students and I have learned more about our personalities as team members than in the previous two years," said Vadim Makarov, research assistant professor at IQC. "The workshop was informative, useful, fun, and excellently organized. Definitely worth the time."

Cloutier lead the attendees through the following topics:

  • Principles of project management
  • Working with different personalities
  • Improving team processes
  • Basics of planning
  • Using CPM to plan schedules
  • Project plan development
  • Risk analysis
  • Monitoring progress

Asked of the workshop attendees, Cloutier said "the participants are tuned in to learning, reflective, and thoughtful." She enjoyed leading them and appreciated their "thirst for learning."

Mitacs is a non-profit organization that aims to develop the next generation of researchers and innovators for Canada's new knowledge-based economy. The Mitacs Step program provides professional skills development for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows and includes workshops on business basics, communication, entrepreneurship, and project management. More information on these workshops can be found at the Mitacs Step program website.