As many calls are published now with an autumn/December deadline, we start a blog series on proposal development. We will continue later on with project management phases.
EU projects are excellent chances for organisations to increase their international presence, expand their network base and obtain references on international project participation, all while working toward the common good of the European community. While participating has its advantages, it also has disadvantages.
Here are some tips to help organisations decide if the time is right to join e.g. FP7 this last year or Horizon 2020 from 2014.
First, be sure that participating in FP7 fits with the organisation's strategy. It is not worth expending the effort in participating in a project if the project will not benefit the company or is in the future interests of the company. Participating in any FP7 project has advantages, but it also has costs and therefore the project must be beneficial to the organisation.
- Make sure the project has a clear focus and can be implemented with relative ease. If the project requires huge investments, make sure the rewards / results will be worth the extra effort.
- Taking on new staff in order to run a project is always a great way to increase organisational capacity and is an eligible cost under FP7. An organisation may have the financial resources to participate in a project, but may lack the human resources.
- Participating in an FP7 project requires an organisation’s own contribution. The funding rates for the Community programmes have increased, but in order to participate an organisation must have the financial capability to implement the project, as the funding rates are typically not 100%. In general an organisation is required to contribute between 25% and 50% depending on the type of funding scheme and participating organisation. Be sure the organisation can cover its contribution!
- Become familiar with the entire process, from proposal development to project implementation to final reporting. Participation in an FP7 project is no light-hearted effort.
It takes a lot of time, effort, continuous planning and careful implementation and reporting. If an organisation cannot fully commit to the project in terms of required time and delivery, it should reconsider participation. Beginning with the proposal, the more detail and planned a proposal is, the fewer problems the consortium will have during negotiations and implementation.
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