FP7 Funded RI Project experiences: some overly honest tips from a project coordinator

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Smith, V.S. 2014. FP7 Funded RI Project experiences: some overly honest tips from a project coordinator, EC Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures Information Day in at the Natural History Museum London, U.K. 18 June 2014.

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FP7 Funded RI Project experiences: some overly honest tips from a project coordinator

  1. 1. Vince Smith, NHM, London EC Horizon 2020 Research Infrastructures Information Day, 18 June 2014 FP7 Funded RI Project experiences some overly honest tips from a project coordinator
  2. 2. My research background Circa 5,000 spp. Mammals & birds 12,000 associations 15,000 potential hosts
  3. 3. Enabling research via (small) digital infrastructures Circa 5,000 spp. Mammals & birds 12,000 associations 15,000 potential hosts http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~rpage/LouseBase/2/ LouseBASE Specimens Images (SID) http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~SID/ Literature PHPBib http://myphpbib.sourceforge.net/ Lab Notebook http://www2.flmnh.ufl.edu/pdb/ Host-Parasite Checklists http://www2.flmnh.ufl.edu/adb/
  4. 4. EC funding opportunities, a question of scale • Became involved with (and frustrated by) EC projects • Fixing these issues required getting involved • Invited as a FP6 proposal reviewer • Started writing FP6/7 proposals
  5. 5. FP6/7 eInfrastructure Projects European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT) 27 EU taxonomic institutions, 5-yrs, FP6 funded NoE 2006-11, €11.5 m Towards a European Museum of Natural History by functionally federating existing facilities Synthesis of Systematic Resources (SYNTHESYS) [1,2 & 3] 18+2 partners, 4-years,FP7 funded eInfrastructure 2013-17, €8.9 m Improving physical and digital access to European natural history collections collections Virtual Biodiversity Research and Access Network for Taxonomy (ViBRANT) 17 partners, 3-years, FP7 funded eInfrastructure 2010-13, €4.75 m Supported the development of virtual research communities involved in biodiversity science
  6. 6. Experiences developing, running & sustaining projects • Project planning and design • Management • Sustainability • Reviews & outputs Mostly common sense? (Caveat: my judgment derived from experience rather than study)
  7. 7. Project Planning & Design Issues • Set "Goldilocks goals" (suitably ambitious but realistic) • Embed your users in every aspect (and ideally be a user) • Build in agility (reassess and redefine milestones) • Identify realistic partners (with a track record) • Avoid silos (for both partners & activities) • Submit it to the right call! Open source & modular Open source & modular Infrastructure maintenanceInfrastructure maintenance Technical maintenance Technical maintenance User supportUser support Crowd- sourcing support activities Crowd- sourcing support activities Maximising support efficiency Maximising support efficiency
  8. 8. Management Issues • Teamwork (a day-to-day project manager is critical) • Devolve as much responsibility as possible • Communication is key • Use the Web as much as possible • Keep a healthy travel budget (and use it) • Measure and monitor progress (KPI dashboard) • Advisory boards (mixed views) SYNTHESYS Project Management & Access Websites
  9. 9. Sustainability Issues • The sustainability plan starts now! • Embed sustainability activities at every level – For infrastructure (align with institutional strategy) – For content (an active user community) – For training and development (e.g. “ambassadors”) – For marketing – For strategy • Think programme, not project! 23 ambassadors23 ambassadors in 19 countries;in 19 countries; 600 communities,600 communities, 7,100 active users7,100 active users 23 ambassadors23 ambassadors in 19 countries;in 19 countries; 600 communities,600 communities, 7,100 active users7,100 active users
  10. 10. Project Reviews & Outputs • Link to external community events where possible • Ideally, use reviews as an opportunity to do something useful – e.g. Public launch activities, workshops or training events – Strategy development • Have tangible outputs (not just reports for reviewers) • Or have a plan to build upon (use) project reports • Invest in marketing and outreach

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