In order to have a good project and good collaboration, partners need to complement one another and they shall share an interest in the common problem they will be tackling in their research.
The minimum number of partners and any requirements related to their geographical location, legal form and expertise are determined in the call. Following the thoughts of the previous blog post, the partnership is defined mostly by the expertise you need to have in the consortium to achieve the objectives and be able to have a considerable impact.
An ideal consortium in an ideal world
- is well balanced in terms of geographical coverage (north-south-east-west, New and Old Member States);
- involves partners from different sectors (industry, academia, public and private bodies, networks and Non Governmental Organisations);
- carries out all tasks internally and subcontracting is used only for minor tasks and because absolutely necessary;
- has the best available experts for all tasks in Europe or the world on board;
- has relevant references in terms of international activities/research and EU projects in the relevant fields;
- is led by an experienced coordinator;
- is fully committed to the project and all partners have a clear plan on how the achievements will be used after the end of the project.
Having an excellent partnership should be always your scope, but after 10 years of building consortia, I am not sure I have ever achieved the perfection. But trying was worth it.
You cannot always work with partners you know well, sometimes you have to take a risk and have a partner who has no clue about FP7, but has specialist knowledge. Having partners from the north, south, east and west again is great in case it makes sense for the project. Sometimes it just does not as the expertise and experience is in two-three countries. You have to find another way of ensuring European coverage. Invite aboard a relevant association, umbrella organisation or a network with wide membership.
Towards the end of FP7 I think the focus of having as many new organisations involved as possible shifted to a long list of references needed to win an FP7 project. This shift supports the already top 50-100 organisations involved in FP7 to win the projects investing less effort. So, before Horizon 2020 starts, check the list of organisations winning most of the projects relevant to your project idea and get one-two of them on board to have a chance of winning.
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