As the newly appointed Coordinator of the FP7 GEOCOM project, I was looking forward to meeting all our project partners in person; I had been in touch with them for some months now. The third interim meeting in Budapest provided me an excellent opportunity not just to do so, but to test my organisational capabilities as well. Three project meetings having taken place so far, the bar was already high to meet the standards which were set during the previous gatherings.
Day zero brought about a fruitful discussion on our socio-economic research work package, however it was pointed out many times that the communication channels tend to get clogged time after time, hence limiting the full potential the consortium has. The main issue in my opinion is to keep the partners motivated throughout the whole duration of the project, not just for a few weeks after these meetings. Experience shows that during the periods after such meetings, a lot more tangible results come into life compared to those times when the memory of the previous meeting has already faded, and the next one is still far away.
Although I felt a bit disappointed that only half of the participants from the first day of the meeting managed to make themselves available for the second day’s site visit to Galanta (SK), we had a great time there thanks to our excellent hosts. After having visited the almost completely finished demonstration components (retrofitted buildings, the thermal well, and geothermal heating system), we had a great lunch with amazing traditional food on the plates. Coffee was served at the outdoor patio where informal chattering formed in no time between the partners.
The scenic route on the way back to Budapest put the crown on our three days meeting. The satisfied and happy project partners gave us nice feedback and lots of compliments about the overall quality of the meeting. Honestly, I was a bit nervous before, but by the end it turned out that having cool partners makes the coordinator’s life so much easier. :-)