IPMA International Project Management Association
9 March 2016 / 8:16

4th IPMA Research conference: Project Management and Sustainability

As a member of the Research Board of IPMA I can say that our goal is really to move project management knowledge forward. We do this by different means and one of them is to bring researchers, experts, scholars and practitioners together to discuss and develop ideas that are of value in this mission. Our most interesting venue for this is our annual research conference. We started in Berlin in 2013 where our subject was Theory meets practice in projects. The second one was held in Tianjing in China in 2014 where we focused on How to make research meet the needs of practice. The third one, in Stellenbosch in South Africa in 2015, focused on PM in emerging economies. The 4th one will be held in Reykjavik Iceland in 2016 and the theme will be Project Management and Sustainability.


Our research conferences are not like typical conferences where most of the research happens beforehand and the participants are primarily listeners. In the IPMA research conferences we prepare the structure and work methods thoroughly and then invite selected presenters to come and inspire the participants with their lectures on chosen topics. The value lies primarily in what happens during the conference, during the fruitful discussions, work shops, world café sessions and networking that results when people with different backgrounds and perspectives meet to discuss important subjects.

We are all very excited about the subject for this years conference. The world is faced with huge problems that cannot be solved without a joint effort, consensus, mutual understanding and the shared will to change things for the better – even though this leads to sacrifices in the short run. We who practice project management know that our discipline can really help in this voyage, because these challenges are typical for complex undertakings. In addition we can assume that sustainability needs to be a part of our basic philosophy as professional project managers and taking sustainability seriously into account needs to be an integral part of any professional body of knowledge in project, program and portfolio management. We hope that the conference will shed light on the obstacles ahead and how we need to move forward as a discipline to help dealing with these crucial challenges for all mankind

DSC00615The conference will be held in Reykjavik Iceland on September 15th and 16th this year. Iceland is a country where sustainability is the basic condition for a whole society to exist. Sustainable fishing has been the most important source of income. Sustainable utilisation of energy has been a key driver in raising the standard of living in recent years. As an example of this, geothermal water has replaced coal and oil as an energy source for district heating. Finally, sustainable tourism will be a key source of revenue for the years to come and the increasing growth of tourist numbers has even become a concern.

The number of participants in the research conferences will be limited but those interested in attending the 4th IPMA research conference can send an e-mail to me for their names to be registered in a list of potential participants.

Helgi Thor Ingason

[email protected]


  • Karen Chovan says:

    I am interested in learning more about this conference. I am a sustainability advisor focused on the effort of integrating sustainability into project planning for mining projects at the earliest phases of evaluation, and developing training for other project managers and team members within this realm.
    It would be great to hear from others who have gone down the path of integration / immersion into every day practices!

  • Good topic. Sustainability holds hand in hand with quality of communication and related technology.
    Look forward to discussions on the conference.

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Helgi Thor Ingason

Author of this post

Helgi Thor Ingason holds a PhD from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, MSc from the University of Iceland and a SAPM degree from Stanford University. He is a Certified Senior Project Manager by IPMA. Dr. Ingason is an professor at Reykjavik University. He is the co-author of 6 books on management in Icelandic and English. He is a management consultant and a member of the Research Management Board of IPMA.