The proposal submission period is usually one of the busiest times of the year. Apart from everyday management of the ongoing projects you got to find the time in your schedule to come up with new ideas which may evolve into new projects eventually.
Earlier I have mentioned some issues which you have to face sooner or later if you decide to take the responsibility of pulling together a consortium and going after a call.
In this post I will carry on with them.
If submitting proposals and project coordination is the main profile of the company you work for, you tend to get detached from reality regarding your potential partners’ knowledge on EC fundings and on the related procedures. You may assume that the contact person of the relevant partner’s side knows FP7 or IEE regulations inside out and is fully aware of a project partner’s duties during the proposal preparation phase but you should not. Unless, your contact explicitly communicates his/her expertise on the required administrative tasks you have to guide each of them through the process by always telling them what input you need from their side with a deadline you wish to receive that input (such as administrative details, PIC code, indirect cost calculation methodology, partner profiles, technical feedback on the field of given expertise etc).
It is wise to give yourself a few days of slack with the deadline, e.g. if you need something by the 15th, its worth setting a deadline by the 10th which will provide you with some room to react in case of some partners did not do their homework properly and/or on time.
Also providing a detailed list on the expected info with the partners will ease your life when getting to the point of the actual writing of the proposal. Occasionally it happens that being the coordinator does not coincide with being an expert on the given topic. Rounding up a potent and technically qualified consortium is essential and none of the partners can expect that just because you are in charge, you know everything on the subject. The technical expertise and experience of the partners thus their relevant input are key to a successful proposal.
Next time I will discuss some of the most common issues a coordinator encounters while getting closer and closer to the proposal submission deadline.