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Guest blog Labs Explorer: Top 3 of important things to build an H2020 consortium

May 30 2017

This article has been written by Anaïs Amsellem at Labs Explorer.

The Horizon 2020 program represents a tremendous opportunity for European research and innovation and there might be something for a project you are supporting.

One of the critical aspects within this program, for a large number of projects, is a consortium. You may have to build a consortium (with a minimum of 3 partners in most cases) if you want your piece of the European funding cake.

The Labs Explorer team offers to the ttopstart community these three tips to build an effective consortium.

horizon 2020 consortium

1. The objectives

You first have to define the objectives of your project if you want to attract partners to your consortium and evaluate your achievements during the project. You should define what is called SMART objectives. It stands for:

  • Specific: define objectives that are only related to your project.
  • Measurable: choose an outcome that can be measured easily.
  • Attainable (and still ambitious): keep in mind your capability as a consortium to reach the goals you set.
  • Realistic: match up your objectives with H2020 issues so it meets your interests as well as the European Commission’s.
  • Time-bound: choose a time frame with an end date to achieve your goals.

2. Defined roles in the consortium

The coordinator

The coordination structure has a fundamental role at pretty much every step of the project: assembly, propositions, and execution. The coordinator manages the whole project.

The project coordinator links and represents all partners. Therefore, they must have certain skills and qualities. They must be capable of good drafting for the contract and must demonstrate negotiating skills, especially towards the European Commission. They must be capable of freeing some time and resources for the preparation of the project. And of course, they should be a good manager, and show enthusiasm during the process.

In its Guide to European Projects set-up, the Club of Associated Research Organizations (CLORA), says the evaluation board looks closely at the coordinator’s prior experiences.

The partners

As mentioned, a minimum of 3 partners is often required for European projects. What is important is that the partners you will find are committed to the project. This means they should be proactive regarding the consortium’s decisions. Of course, they should also be technically competent on the tasks they are assigned to.

You should check out their reputation before partnering with them. They should also be trustworthy. Don’t forget you will have to work with them for several months, so it is very important that you show mutual trust. 

3. The partner searching tools

You are basically going to commit to your partners for a while. To find them, you have several possibilities. You can ask around your network, or search randomly on the Internet.

The best way to find what you are looking for still is to use “partner searching tools”, such as:

  • Ideal-ist, an international network, funded by the European Commission, more topic-oriented.
  • Cordis, community research and development information service of the European commission.
  • Labs Explorer’s search engine where you can find easily laboratories in any field of research.

If you are interested in locating potential partners with a special topic in mind, or a geographical region, there are also other specific communities.

To sum up, bear in mind that to successfully tackle Europe’s research and innovation challenges, you have to set SMART objectives and be well surrounded with committed and competent partners that you can trust.

The Author:

Anaïs Amsellem works as content writer at Labs Explorer. She has a Master’s Degree in Biology and Physiology, followed by a second Master’s Degree in Project Management, from the University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) in Paris. She has previous experience of lab work at the Biological Station of Roscoff, UPMC.

Labs Explorer:

Labs Explorer is a marketplace where public labs and private companies, mainly European, offer services, equipment and expertise in all areas of research. You can create your lab page for free and experience the partner and/or provider search on Labs Explorer database.


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