SMEs as EU project partners – is it possible?

A few thoughts on how Horizon 2020 – today announced as the new name for FP8 or the common strategic framework for research and innovation (CSFRI) – should make partnership in projects a viable option for SMEs. Continue reading SMEs as EU project partners – is it possible?

Filed under: CSFRI,FP7,innovation | Tags: , , , , , , | By Hywel on June 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Scientia Scripta on FP-tools.eu

As part of our on-going efforts to provide the best possible research dissemination service for EC-funded projects, we are delighted to announce that we are exploring  a new partnership with FP-tools.

FP-tools provides sophisticated document and project management tools specifically developed for EC framework programme researchers. The solutions on offer cover all aspects of project lifecycles from the creation of proposals, through research implementation to reporting on the final results.

The high quality tools on offer ensure that all documents are efficiently produced and in formats that comply fully with all EC requirements. However, the strength of all text does rely on the written ability of project partners as well as the amount of time and resources they can devote to the work. This can place limits on the quality of reports meaning that project research isn’t represented as well as it could be.

That’s where Scientia Scripta comes in. We are offering specialist editing and proofing of all reports and documents developed using FP-tools’ solutions; casting a critical yet creative eye over them to help research make more of an impact.

To find out more please go to FP-tools.eu and give your feedback on this exciting new development of our services.

Filed under: dissemination,FP7,science copywriting | Tags: , , , | By Hywel on June 17, 2011 at 2:06 am

Can SMEs afford to be FP7 project partners?

SMEs don’t like to expose themselves as partners in the high risk, high cost, long-term R&D that is FP7.

Continue reading Can SMEs afford to be FP7 project partners?

Filed under: CSFRI,FP7,innovation | Tags: , , , , , | By Hywel on June 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Response to the CSFRI Public Consultation

The European Commission officially launched their analysis of the recent public consultation on the proposed Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding at an event today in Brussels. The event was very well attended and we managed to view many of the key speeches over the live webstream at the EUTV website.

The CSFRI will continue on from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) once it expires in 2013 and the recent public consultation was designed to acquire the views of stakeholders across the EU. We had contributed to that study and were very interested to hear the results of the EC’s initial overview of the responses.

A green paper on the summary analysis of the public responses (both position papers and via the online survey) was published this morning detailing the key findings of the consultation. Several points are detailed below:

Support for the CSFRI concept – the consultation showed that there is widespread support for the proposals to combine funding mechanisms into a single framework and for the streamlining of processes this will hopefully provide.

Open, simplified and coherent funding – in addition to the benefits it is hoped that the CSFRI will provide, many respondents called for greater simplification across all funding mechanisms but with increased open and flexible opportunities for relevant organisations and SMEs. Many would also like to see continuation of the more successful initiatives currently in operation.

Greater societal focus – there is a significant desire to see a greater focus on societal challenges being addressed in future projects. Innovations that address issues relating to Europe’s aging population were particularly highlighted.

In addition the short list for the You Name It! competition to give a new title to the CSFRI was released at the conference’s close and voting on the winner is now open.

We will discuss the issues raised at the conference and highlighted in the public consultation analysis report further of the coming weeks in conjunction with presenting more of our own research and opinions on the CSFRI proposals.

For further reading at this stage however, some useful resources are included below:

The Analysis of the Public Consultation Report

The opening and closing conference addresses by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

Please bookmark or save a link to our blog to hear more very soon.

Filed under: CSFRI,FP7,innovation | Tags: , , , , , , , | By Hywel on June 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

CSFRI Conference – 10 June 2011

This is just a short post to promote the conference on the Common Strategic Framework for EU research and innovation funding taking place in Brussels later today. We recently contributed to the CSFRI consultation and we are looking forward to hearing whether the EC’s conclusions from the consultation take account of anything we mentioned in our submission.

Unless you have a ticket I’m afraid it is too late to go to the conference of course, but the event will be webstreamed by EUTV starting at 9:15am. A description of what will be included in the conference is included below and the full programme is available on the CSFRI website.

“The conference will wrap up the public consultation on the Green Paper, present the results and give the stakeholder community an opportunity to discuss them. Hence it will focus on how best to support research and innovation for the future of Europe. Leading industrialists, researchers and politicians will highlight the critical importance for research and innovation as a major component of the next EU budget.”

We’ll be eagerly tuning into the conference stream (whenever work schedules allow, of course) and will discuss some of the themes of the event in this blog later tomorrow tomorrow.

In addition, the following Twitter accounts may be useful for finding out more about the event and other related matters:

http://twitter.com/#!/CordisEurope

http://twitter.com/#!/EU_enterprise

http://twitter.com/#!/EUinnovation

http://twitter.com/#!/innovationunion

Pleas share any more useful news feeds or other resources in the comment section below and please feel free to connect with us at http://twitter.com/#!/ScientiaScripta throughout the day tomorrow. We look forward to hearing from you.

NEWSFLASH: The EC’s summary analysis is available for download!

Filed under: FP7,innovation | By Hywel on June 9, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Obstacles to FP7 outsouring

Our recent survey of people involved in FP7 projects found that projects seemed to be unimpressed by the use of sub-contractors. However, as we have discussed previously, these negative attitudes may be unfounded, based on perceptions rather than actual experience. Indeed, a fifth of those that had not used sub-contractors still believed that projects would improve were they to hire sub-contractors. So what is stopping them?

Perhaps they are sub-contracting the wrong kinds of activities. Scientia Scripta believes that when it comes to communication and dissemination it makes absolute sense to call in the professionals. Of course, some scientists – like the physicist Brian Cox in the UK who was recently received a Brit Award as TV’s top presenter – are amazing communicators. But most prefer to get on with their research, running their departments or going to conferences – doing what they do best. So why not hire a professional science copywriter to write your leaflets and edit your reports? Let them find the best words to make your communication materials be understandable, engaging and, most importantly, get across your key messages to your target audiences.

In a previous post we argued that an outsider’s viewpoint on research projects can provide valuable insights and objective opinions for dissemination purposes. Our survey also revealed that those projects which had experience of using sub-contractors would be more likely to sub-contract communication tasks than those projects that had no experience of outsourcing. These projects have seen the benefits that outsiders can bring – outsiders that may bring new ideas, alternative perspectives and innovation to a consortium.

Our survey was only small, we know. More thorough and larger studies are of course required to determine whether the insights from our survey reflect more general trends or whether other explanations may exist (for example, perhaps projects do not use sub-contractors due to financial constraints or the lack of suitable service providers).

Still, we think sub-contracting certain project tasks – especially those that are not part of the core R&D work packages – makes perfect sense and will help projects get better value for money. Professional service providers know what they can achieve on tight budgets!

Should EC-funded R&D projects use sub-contractors?

More FP7 projects should think about using sub-contractors to build stronger collaborative teams. Continue reading Should EC-funded R&D projects use sub-contractors?

Filed under: Communication strategy,dissemination,FP7 | Tags: , , , , , | By Hywel on June 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm