1. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com__________________________________________________________________________-Promoting EU FP7 Funding for Biomedical Sciences and Pathology Research to combat infectious diseasesand Cancer.Background:The HEALTH-NCP-NET project was funded under FP7 to reinforce the network of NationalContact Points. One of our objectives is for all NCPs in Europe and beyond e.g. in Africa tobe provided equally with the necessary training, tools and guidelines to carry out their jobefficiently, with special emphasis on lowering the entry barriers to the FP for newcomers.NCPs serve as liaisons between the research community and the European Commission,multipliers of information on calls for proposals and framework programme issues, andsupporters and guides to project proposers throughout the application process.The consolidated Health NCP network, established in May 2008, is ready to adapt to the newchallenges resulting from the Innovation Union. Now more than ever the Health NCPnetwork needs to be empowered to continue providing optimum support to the researchcommunity, with a focus on SMEs, to navigate the new research funding landscape.The Romania ,Bucharest workshop was a comprehensive collection of practical guidelineson how to perform the main duties of a Health NCP efficiently. It was describing a number ofgood practices especially about intellectual property right(IPR) from more experiencedHealth NCPs, and was aiming to achieve a transfer of knowledge between NCPs thusproviding a more equitable service to researchers worldwide. Serving NCPs from newmember states and third countries like Lesotho is a priority of HEALTH-NCP so specialemphasis has been given to aspects of particular pertinence to them. The Romania ,Bucharest workshop constituted the main tool to bridge the gap between FP7and the changes being introduced in the coming European research funding programmes forthe Innovation Union.1. To provide basic information and getting in touch with researchers and SMEs: The creation of an NCP website, The client database.
2. Updated database The NCP website and the client database will provide a bi-directional communication flow with the national research community and become the NCP’s most useful instruments. 2. Raising awareness of FP7 opportunitiesAfter the ‘start-up’ phase, a new NCP needs different tools to begin promotion andassistance activities with the national research entities interested in applying forHealth FP7 Grants.3. NCP characteristicsThe unifying elements of the structures of different national NCPs are the capability to ensureboth competences in the different thematic and horizontal priorities of the SeventhFramework Programme, as well as a coherent approach and a high level of services. Competence Health NCPs need to be well informed about the nature, objectives and principles of the EU Framework Programmes, as well as the technological areas concerning health research. Additionally, they require a profound understanding of the needs of particular research players, such as SMEs, industry, and academics. Impartiality and confidentiality To avoid potential conflicts of interest, and to ensure confidentiality of information they receive in the context of their advisory activities with clients, NCPs need to act within the framework of independent organisations. Active national and international networking with regional contact points, university research services and research organisations, as well as with other NCP organisations. Implementation of quality assurance mechanisms for the services provided. Adequate human resources and equipment. Provision of feedback to the European Commission — informing the Commission about any problems or difficulties in implementing and participating in the Framework Programme. The breadth of this core definition, which applies to all NCPs, implies that the scope and degree of assistance provided to researchers and enterprises may vary between different NCPs. This, however, is not a surprise given that each NCP functions in a specific environment that is shaped by the country, the structure of the NCP host organisation, the commitment of responsible national authorities, and the composition of the particular research community. The training programme The HEALTH-NCP training programme assists all NCPs and ICPC CPs in their capacity building processes. It comprises two levels of training courses: general and specific. These courses, along with the Health NCP Network, have been designed to help NCPs develop their competencies.
3. The general training course is designed to provide basic practical information to perform NCP tasks, and is tailored to less experienced NCPs and ICPC CPs.A twinning programmeTwinning should be dedicated to the capacity building of less experienced participants.During a twinning activity the more experienced people coach the less experienced on issuesand procedures using indirect tools such as email, Skype and phone calls. The programmeshould continue for either a fixed duration, or until the less experienced „twin‟ becomes moreexpert and able to contribute as a coach.A staff exchange programme is undoubtedly the most demanding activity that can beundertaken. This type of programme consists of short-term visits (two to five days) to otherrelated organisations for real-time, onsite experience and exchange. The aim of a staffexchange is to consolidate knowledge transfer allow cross-fertilisation between work groupsto increase personal contacts and networking between participants.The partnersDepending on the anticipated scope of the brokerage event, organisers can also seek support toarrange and promote the event from strategic partners who might add value and are available onthe envisaged date.There are several ways to find support and identify a strategic partner: within nationalorganisations, companies and universities within NCP networks by contacting the relevantHead of Unit at the EC inviting a leading person from the EC, key company or organisationto present the keynote lecture contacting relevant European Technology Platforms or nationalmirror platforms using established networks to promote the event or invite them to be co-organisers.Information and promotion materialsAside from dissemination through established networks (including key multipliers), thebrokerage event should be heavily promoted through several channels, such as brochures,leaflets and dedicated web pages. A web page is a complete source of information and theleast expensive one. It can provide up‑to-date information on the time and venue of thebrokerage, topics, experts and speakers, agenda and invitation, identification form template,presentations that are available prior to the event, useful links related to the event or topics,and so on. It is also useful for the web page to include a registration facility and amatchmaking facility for the parallel workshops.Once a participant completes registration their information is analysed either by the HealthNCP or the system (using key words for filtering) and they are allocated to one of theworkshops according to their stated interest in a specific topic. Alternatively, the participantcan subscribe to a specific workshop using a website facility. The formed groups can then bemade available to all registered participants. The NCP must ensure the deadline forregistration is clearly displayed and disseminated, and be mindful that at least one week isneeded to finalise preparations once the final number of participants is known.The participantsAfter establishing the topics, the organiser must identify appropriate participants, which is themost difficult and important task in organising a successful brokerage. A main method ofidentifying participants, aside from email, is the phone. Given the time constraints of
4. researchers and entrepreneurs, personal invitations and assistance can be pivotal inmotivating potential participants. The personal approach on the phone also helps to ensurehigh quality contributions (for example online interest/expertise profiles) and commitmentfrom the participants“ A service to assist proposal preparation”Personal consultation is an essential element of an NCP‟s advisory service to researchers andother stakeholders. And whilst there are no rules or codes of conduct about personalconsultation for new NCPs, in this chapter we provide advice and share experiences aboutmanaging the one-on-one relationship with clients. Firstly, it is the NCP‟s responsibility todecide how to communicate. The Health NCP adopts a general approach involving severalactivities that usually start with face-to-face meetings, although phone and email support canalso be valuable.The personal consultation processPersonal consultations could be regarded as the preparatory phase of an NCP‟s assistancewith proposal preparation (see Chapter 12), and can be broken down into four maincomponents:1. A comprehensive presentation about the FP7 and Health theme priorities, includinga detailed description of the yearly work programme and rules of participation.2. An analysis of the different thematic lines opened to the call that seeks to obtain a betterunderstanding of the client‟s needs and problems. This provides the opportunity for the clientto reformulate their research interests in a way that is consistent with the FP7 opportunities.3. Determination of gaps in the client‟s knowledge and understanding of FP7 with a view toaddressing any deficiencies.4. Increased efficiency of consultation work through interactive information exchange.Depending on a researcher‟s designated role in a project proposal, a personal consultationmay be essential. Coordinators should always have personal consultations to improve thequality of their proposals and to draw attention to important but unseen issues. Researchparticipants should also have one‑on‑one meetings to get support for optimal participationprovisions and to maximise gains from participation.Preparation and developmentRequests for personal consultations can arrive *via routine office communication channels,but also by a direct approach at seminars, information days or at special onsite visits to majorresearch institutions. However the requests are received, modern and effective back-officesystems and software at the NCP host organisation will enable all personal consultationrequests to be sorted and processed quickly and efficiently. As mentioned, personalconsultations can be provided over the phone, by email or as face-to- face meetings.However, in‑person meetings with researchers allow the broadest scope for the consultation,including being able to discuss confidential issues. Face-to face and phone consultations alsoenable immediate feedback and understanding, whereas email discussions could beconsidered too impersonal, and are generally unsuitable for exchanging private orconfidential information. On the other hand, face-to-face consultation is the most demandingon an NCP‟s personal resources, and small group consultations — the most personallyengaged form — are particularly intensive and time consuming. As such, in-person
5. consultations require detailed planning and a measured approach to avoid burnout. The key tomaximising the efficiency of the information exchange is a competent and completepreparatory phase for each personal consultation.Follow-up tasksImmediately after the consultation, it is recommended to enter a short summary into yourclient database or CRM. You should also amend any existing information on the basis ofnewly acquired knowledge, and be prepared to appropriately answer inquiries from NCPcolleagues about the particular researcher/group. Follow-up activities are crucial toestablishing full and complete client portfolios, and they provide the NCP with a goodoverview of the progress of their contacts‟ FP7 applications.