Megaproject Management

Impact: Professional practice, training and standards, Public understanding, information and debate, Education

Description of impact

Dr Zhen Chen started his research into megaproject management since 2009, and his research has focused on critical issues such as overruns and sustainability in the management of megaprojects which worth over $1bn and have significant long-term impact on social, technical, economic, ecological, and political (STEEP) aspects worldwide. He set up the Megaproject Management research theme at Heriot-Watt University in 2012 and it is still running after he joined the University of Strathclyde in 2016. The impact of research into megaproject management has been continuously made through an increased number of research publications, including books, themed issue of international journals, journal articles, and conference papers, as well as other research activities including research seminars, connections with major players in both public and private sector, and engagement in professional development to cover a training programme at the University of Strathclyde and professional guidelines and standards at professional organisations including American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and British Standards Institution (BSI). In addition, the impact has also been continuously made through teaching and research at the University of Strathclyde through academic and professional collaborations worldwide.

Who is affected

The research into megaproject management has affected the learned society in construction management, and it include
1. Readers, including academics and professionals, to major professional journals including the International Journal of Project Management published by Elsevier, and the Proceedings of the ICE - Management, Procurement and Law as well as the Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering Sustainability published by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
2. Academics and professionals who have interest and/or involved in research projects, which are funded by either the European Commission or UK Research Councils, in related research themes. There are online information about related research projects.
3. Practitioners in major companies such as AECOM who have interest in the application of new technical solutions derived from research.
4. Researchers and students who have interest in further learning and research into megaproject management.
5. Other academics and professionals who directly or indirectly read publications from the research. For example, members of the International Project Leadership Academy, and visitors to its website online where there is a case study connected to research publications.


The research into megaproject management has focused on innovative technical solutions to tackle persistent problems such as the cost and time overruns and sustainability in megaprojects. The strategy of research into megaproject management has been made to conduct world-class research towards innovative technical solutions for long-term usefulness and impact in research and practice in megaproject management. The impact of research is further described below in terms of research projects, publications, and activities.

Research projects. Dr Chen is a Co-Principal Investigator for TUD COST Action TU1003, which is a major grant for research into megaproject management awarded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) between 2011 and 2015, and focuses the Effective Design and Delivery of Megaprojects in the European Union. The project is probably the first grant for collaborative research into megaproject management worldwide and has attracted collaborators from both academic and professional world across 24 European countries in addition to other countries. The research project has been well completed through numerus research activities including meetings, seminars, workshops, summer schools, short-term scientific visits, conferences, and field studies. In addition to external funding, the Department of Architecture has also provided financial support and research environment for further research into megaproject management, and these include a PhD studentship for research into an analytic approach to sustainability assessment in urban megaprojects, which has been announced through online platforms such as FindAPhD and LinkedIn to numerous academics and professionals worldwide in terms of the research leadership in megaproject management.

Research publications. Dr Chen has been actively working on publications from research into megaproject management. He has published related papers in several international journals, including International Journal of Project Management, Journal of Facilities Management, Automation in Construction, and Organization, Technology and Management in Construction; in addition, he has also been actively working with academic and professional partners to lead themed issue on related topics at international journals, including Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Management, Procurement and Law, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Waste and Resource Management, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Engineering Sustainability, and International Journal of Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Moreover, he is leading a new international editorial team for the specialty section on Construction Management at Frontiers in Built Environment. In working with his former PhD student and his co-supervisor, Dr Chen has also published a unique book on Megaproject Risk Analysis and Simulation, which has been collected by major libraries, including the British Library, the Library of Congress, and many WorldCat libraries across the world.

Research activities. There has been a series of activities dedicated to leading research into megaproject management, and these including presentations at national and international research events, collaborations with academic and industry partners in bids for research funding at national and international level, collaborations with academic and industry partners in knowledge transfer in relation to fostering new interdisciplinary research into megaproject management as well as professional training for the best practice.
Impact statusOpen
Impact date2009
Category of impactProfessional practice, training and standards, Public understanding, information and debate, Education
Impact levelEngagement


  • mega-project
  • major project
  • project management