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About the BT Centre for Major Programme Management

Sir Michael Rake, Chairman, BT
"I am delighted to welcome BT's new partnership with the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, through which we are creating the world's first centre for the study of major programme management."

Major programmes are increasingly important for solving the problems of the twenty-first century. Large-scale stimulus spending in transport, ICT, health, and so on, has been singled out as an important means for preventing global recession. Many of the toughest environmental challenges - from developing carbon-neutral fuels to preventing floods caused by climate change - are conceived as major programmes. So are the enterprise systems used to run businesses that are ever more global in scope.

Spending on infrastructure and major programmes is the largest it has ever been as a share of world GDP, prompting The Economist to call it "the biggest investment boom in history".

What is the BT Centre for Major Programme Management?

The BT Centre for Major Programme Management is the first research and teaching centre in the world dedicated to pioneering ways of understanding and dealing with these new challenges to major programme management and helping business, government and civil society meet and overcome them. With so much riding on the success of major programmes internationally, the quality of programmes and of programme delivery is more important than ever.

What is the mission of the Centre?

The mission of the Centre is to be world-leading in research and teaching on major programme management. The purpose is to develop leaders and scholars who understand the strengths and weaknesses of major programmes and have the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to decide when to, and not to, execute such programmes and to successfully formulate policies for and plan, manage and deliver programmes on behalf of business, government and society.

What will the Centre do?

The Centre will carry out a programme of leading-edge and multi-disciplinary research into major programme management, bringing together expertise in business, policy, engineering, computer science, economics, law, planning, environment and more. It will bring together scholars and eminent practitioners from the global business community and government. As well as carrying out research in this field, the Centre will develop a ground-breaking teaching programme which leads to an MSc in Major Programme Management, the first of its kind.

The Centre will create a community of knowledge of best practice, through its research publications, conferences, seminars, workshops and interactions with practitioners and the public, all focused on the theme of major programme management. The Centre will emphasise effective communication of its knowledge to business, government and the public.

How is the Centre funded?

The Centre was established through an endowment by BT, which has a track record of delivering large-scale programmes going back several decades.

Further funding for the Centre is raised from research foundations and other funding bodies and from teaching activities.

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Who directs the Centre?

Dr Bent Flyvbjerg is Director of the Centre and Academic Director of the MSc in Major Programme Management. He is BT Professor and Chair of Major Programme Management at University of Oxford's Saïd Business School. He is author and co-author of key references in the field of major programme management, including the books Megaprojects and Risk and Decision-Making on Mega-Projects. His methods for major programme management have been employed in multi-billion-dollar programmes around the world, the largest being London's $25 billion Crossrail project.

Dr Paul Chapman is Executive Director of the Centre and Director of the MSc in Major Programme Management. He is Fellow in Operations Management. His research on ‘super value goods’ in the aerospace sector led to improvements in product development and manufacturing while his research in the retail sector has delivered around US$1bn in savings. This research is delivered into practice through working with executive teams, particularly inter-organisational ones, and on graduate and executive education programmes.

Dr Patrick O’Connell is Practitioner-Director of the BT Centre with many years of experience in managing major programmes. He is Managing Director of BT Major Programmes Practice and Health.