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Sylviane Duval

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Role

Medium-term project manager, research facilitator and grant writer.

Skills demonstrated

Project management; people and relationship management; mediation; collaboration; negotiation; writing; strategy; quality control.

Client

The PROOF (Prevention Of Organ Failure) Centre of Excellence is a not-for-profit organization that develops and implements blood-based biomarker tests to better manage patients with heart, lung and kidney failure and prevent disease progression.

Context

PROOF asked a team of BC and Alberta stroke physicians, biostatisticians and university researchers in health information and mass spectrometry to respond to a call for applications on personalized medicine from Genome Canada. Neither the host institution nor the project leaders had applied for a large-scale grant before. The team changed and grew as the science and the proposal ($9.7 million) underwent numerous iterations.

Objective

Shepherd the application to successful completion over a nine-month review process and three selection stages.

    Constraints

    • Managing version control among team members wanting to work simultaneously on the same file.
    • Working on PC and Mac platforms with multiple versions of MS Office.
    • Working as a new team across time zones.
    Solutions
      • Opened a Google Docs account to solve the challenges of version control, Mac/PC platforms and simultaneous editing. Also uploaded useful background files such as team contact coordinates, interim reviews, evaluation criteria and deadlines to the account.
      • Relieved the significant deadline pressure on the team leader by drafting non-scientific sections of the proposal.
      • Co-ordinated team members’ activities in light of the most pressing priorities.
      • Researched reviewers' expertise and interests to try to anticipate their questions.
      • Created the first draft of the PowerPoint presentation for the face-to-face panel meeting.
      • Coached a team member on Q&As for the face-to-face panel meeting.

      Impact / Benefit

      • One of 17 winners of 146 applications. Full funding awarded.
      • Hired as the Interim Project Manager during the search for a full-time, on-site project manager.
      • The project became the launchpad for VIHA's transformation into a research-based health institution, including CIHR's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.