In a type of follow-up blog from our “What your proposal preparation timeline should look like” article, here we will try to find the best ways to build that perfect consortium for your EU project!
1. What roles are needed for the project?
First of all you need to have your project plan in mind. What exactly will your project do and who will it affect? Health projects, for example, may be performing research on illnesses so in the consortium there needs to be scientists, hospitals and patients (if it is in the testing phase of a clinical trial). Other organisations can also round out your consortium and help guide it through the 4-year project such as patient associations, etc. CSAs and SwafS projects especially need a diverse consortium to fulfil tasks, as the support of research or science in society requires all societal actors.
2. Look at the proposal sections
Don’t just focus on the Scientific Excellence section. There are two other sections that are just as important: Impact & Implementation. This means that you don’t just need scientists in your consortium but also analysts, communication experts, exploitation partners and, a good partner to include, is one specialised in project management. Make sure these talents are complimentary! Don’t forget that H2020 and other EU funded projects are not just a science experiment but a 3-5 year collaborative international project.
There is a rumour that you have to have partners spread all around Europe. For example, if you have a consortium consisting of French, German and Spanish partners you may think that you need to add a Northern or Eastern European partner to the consortium. This is not true! You should only have partners that benefit your consortium. Once you pass the 3-country minimum then you can choose your partners based on their competencies and ability to carry out the project.
Be aware, however, that some calls have specific geographical requirements. Some calls specify that you need 10 international partners or partners from specific countries. International cooperation can also be a bonus, such as including Asian or American partners, but again this varies with each different type of project.
This criterion in partner choosing is harder to identify, but try and make sure that your potential partners have the capacity to perform their activities in the project. If an SME or start-up is handling the bulk of large scientific processes they may not have the manpower to perform all the experiments or have the latest equipment. This is the same for larger institutions, if a more specialised company can perform the service better than they can as they are more focused on this area (e.g. communication or exploitation) then it would make sense that the specialised company would have more of an ability to carry out their section of the project.
This can cover a lot of aspects that project partners bring to the consortium. This includes expertise, abilities and geography (as mentioned above). One other point to think of is to make sure your partners will all get along! If someone is causing trouble from the proposal stage this is not a good sign for when the project gets going!
Are you building a consortium? Have you got any more tips you use when building your consortium? Leave a comment below or send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for all your communication needs!
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