Uniresearch, a pilot project integrating EU-fin and EU-xpert in their Project management services for FP7 projects
UNIRESEARCH BV provides services in the areas of national and European subsidies, such as the EC’s Seventh Framework Programme. The services are aimed at supporting a customer through all stages of a research project: from topic selection and project inception, through building a consortium and writing a proposal, to contract negotiation and project execution. At present, Uniresearch manages 20 EC-funded research projects, varying from small collaborative projects (6 partners) to large-scale integrated projects (over 30 partners). Uniresearch is active in the following sectors: Mobility & Transport, Process Technologies, Chemistry, Materials & Nano Science, Environment & Energy, and Security.
In most cases, the technical coordination of a project remains in the hands of the customer, while Uniresearch is responsible for the project management and administration. Although Uniresearch utilizes their own web-based management tool, they have decided to purchase EU-fin (the FP-tools financial management and reporting tool) and EU-xpert (the FP-tools technical or scientific reporting tool). The idea is to validate the benefits of both tools by integrating them in their existing management services for a pilot project called THORAX (http://www.thorax-project.eu).
People make the difference
In the sequence of creating and executing research projects, Uniresearch can help to identify ideas for research and advise on applicable subsidies. During the following stage Uniresearch writes and submits the proposal, in consultation with the proposed consortium, and expands the consortium by including the best suitable partners for the project. Tools such as EU-doc (under development, see elsewhere in this newsletter) as well as EU-fin (available, see elsewhere in this newsletter) can support the writing and composition process. The Framework Programme success rate (since 1997) of Uniresearch is 75% (114 out of 153), which is significantly higher than the average success rate of 20% in FP7. This is due to the fact that Uniresearch selects potentially successful ideas, has a network in Brussels that assesses the quality of ideas, has broad experience and works with multi-disciplinary teams.
Once the initiative has been selected for funding, Uniresearch guides the consortium through EC contract preparations. This means that Uniresearch consultants assume the responsibility for revising the original proposal and budget breakdown in accordance with the evaluator’s remarks, and facilitates the process of concluding a Consortium Agreement. Moreover, back office staff are dedicated to collecting all the administrative information required for the timely preparation of the EC contract.