Sub-contracting in FP7 – the whys and wherefores

We continue the debate on the benefits and pitfalls of using sub-contractors in EU-funded research projects. Continue reading Sub-contracting in FP7 – the whys and wherefores

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

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