Partners (also balance, distribution, gender), rules of participation
Eligible participants in FP6 are legal entities (for example research institutes, universities and industry including SMEs, but also natural persons) from any country in the world. Different rules for participation and funding apply to different groups of countries. Exact specifications and exceptions from the general rules will be given in the work programmes and calls for proposals. There are also important guidelines and requirements related to such issues as gender.
Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the legal minimum requirements are just that, and it is neither necessary or desirable to include every imaginable participant of every type and location. The project must be able to work efficiently, and to pool resources. Just adding names will neither guarantee acceptance of the proposal nor make a good proposal.
Details of the rules of participation and dissemination are available at:
Knowledge Management and pooling, IPR, Innovation Aspects
In both IP and NoE, the questions of knowledge management and pooling, IPR, and innovation aspects are key items. For IP, the effective management of knowledge and its dissemination and transfer, will also be an essential feature of each integrated project together with the analysis and assessment of the technologies developed and of the factors relating to their exploitation, where relevant.
Even in NoE where all knowledge is planned to be put immediately into the public domain, an active approach to knowledge management is vital. The key point is that resources need to be shared and used in common. Even with knowledge in the public domain, individual participants are still concerned with getting credit for their work, and building up the institution that is responsible for their salaries.
Each proposal should therefore have and present a philosophy and an operation structure for pooling knowledge and using it in the most active and efficient way. An example of an existing FP5 project with the size and ambition of an FP6 project is the bioinformatics cluster project TEMBLOR (INTEGR8) with 25 partner institutions, at http://dbs.cordis.lu/fep-cgi/srchidadb?ACTION=D&SESSION=241972003-1-14&DOC=1&TBL=EN_PROJ&RCN=EP_RCN_A:60161&CALLER=PROJ_FP5 .
Concerning IPR (Intellectual Property Rights), in the rules for participation for FP6, a minimum set of basic principles concerning ownership of knowledge and access rights are fixed, leaving considerable flexibility to adapt to the specific situation of each individual project. More specific provisions may be specified in a consortium agreement.
The IPR provisions distinguish between two basic types of intellectual property: Knowledge (all kind of intellectual property generated during the contract that did not exist before.) and Pre-existing know-how (intellectual property owned by the partners before the start of the project “background” or created outside project during its duration “sideground”). Since ownership of knowledge resides with participants generating the knowledge, a consortium agreement becomes especially important in circumstances where there is a particular strategy for sharing the production and ownership and exploitation of knowledge, including public domain options.
The provisions governing access rights are much simpler than in FP5. An additional novelty in FP6 is that a participant may exclude – under specific conditions - pieces of pre-existing know-how from the obligation to grant access rights to the other participants.
More details of possible strategies can be found at the website of the IPR helpdesk at http://www.ipr-helpdesk.org/ . There have also been several reports published on the strategic use of IPR in research programmes, available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/era/ipr_en.html , including for example, a report on IPR in bioinformatics.
As an example of how a project can be actively managed. The main point is that a project should start with a shared philosophy of working together and the project goals. Projects should also have clear exploitation goals for making the maximum use of knowledge and capabilities generated, whether in public or private domain, and have a clear plan for demonstrating this both to the Commission and to potential users.
Research & innovation stage
IPR and knowledge management activity
Defining a research project topic
Review prior knowledge
Identify IPR protected areas
Exploiting research results, by converting results to a commercial product, and by successful marketing
Use publications and resources to enhance long term reputation of organisations or projects
Use IPRs to secure R&D investment (internal, loans, venture, etc.)
Use licensing for revenue even without direct exploitation
Use IPRs for enforcement against misuse
Model contracts and Consortium Agreements
A good description of the current state of development of the model contracts and guidelines for consortium agreements may be found at http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/working-groups/model-contract/index_en.html . The model contract will embody the various legal instruments and especially the rules of participation. An example of a checklist for a consortium agreement is found at http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/working-groups/model-contract/pdf/checklist.pdf . Again, participants are actively cautioned against the philosophy of looking for a "model consortium agreement" that will fit all circumstances. It is precisely the nature of the new instruments that makes this difficult. Where people do provide such agreements and checklists and guidelines, the participants must remember that these do not have any force in law, and are encouraged to read such documents critically, with a view to their own interests and goals in mind.
Financial aspects (esp. NoE awarding, spending, auditing)
There is no substitute for carefully reading all the relevant contracts and details, and summary documents such as that on the FP6 instruments: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/fp6/pdf/brochurefp6.pdf
Key aspects for the two main instruments include:
Integrated Projects: Cost models for FP6
There is a single family of three closely-related cost models:
• FCF: a simplified variant of the full cost model in which a flat rate of 20% of all actual direct costs (excluding subcontracting) can be charged to cover indirect costs; and
• ACF: an additional cost model, covering all actual, non-recurring direct costs, together with a flat rate of 20% of all these direct costs (excluding subcontracting) to cover indirect costs.
The maximum rate of Community support for FC and FCF participants is:
• 50% for RTD and innovation-related components;
• 35% for any demonstration component; and
• 100% for consortium management and training.
ACF participants will be supported at up to 100% of additional costs for all components of the project (with the exception of consortium management, for which they will be supported as under the FCF model). A share of no more than 7% of the Community contribution will be reserved for consortium management costs reimbursed at up to 100%.
Networks of Excellence: There is a lot of misunderstanding of costs in networks of excellence. A key point to remember is that there are effectively three "stages" concerning costs, which are rather weakly related, as follows:
1) Proposal and money allocation stage: In this stage, the amount of money a project can receive is judged by several criteria, one of which is the number of researchers being integrated, and ratio of money to total resources integrated.
2) Spending stage: The choice of how the money is spent and on what priorities is really up to the Network itself, and is only very weakly related to how the money was given out. For example, although probably undesirable and probably bad strategy for impressing the evaluators, it would be legally possible to spend all the money on a computer at one institution alone, or to spend all the money on salaries at a different institution, if that was what was necessary to achieve integration.
3) Accounting stage: The details of how the money is spent will still be watched and probably audited by the Commission according to precise requirements and cost models (see above). Therefore, although the choice of priorities is wide, the way the money is spent is carefully controlled to avoid waste and fraud.
In summary, the goals of each stage are to 1) support integration; 2) choose priorities to best accomplish project goals; 3) make sure that public money is spent correctly.
Evaluation and evaluators
There are a number of common evaluation criteria for evaluating proposals, which are copied below from Annex B of the work programme ( http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/call_details.cfm?CALL_ID=4 ). See the work programme for details about the individual instruments. However, despite all the various criteria, a useful guide is to remember the psychology of the evaluators. They are mostly top scientists in the fields being evaluated, so any successful proposal will inevitably need to have a very strong and interesting scientific content, especially since proposals are competing among and within topics. In addition, the proposal really does need to be consistent with the type of instrument proposed, otherwise the evaluators will be inclined to reject it, or there would be considerable difficulties during the contract negotiation stage even if recommended.
A number of evaluation criteria are common to all the programmes of the Sixth Framework Programme and are set out in the European Parliament and the Council Regulations on the Rules for Participation (Article 10). These are:
b) Ability to carry out the indirect action successfully and to ensure its efficient management, assessed in terms of resources and competences and including the organisational modalities foreseen by the participants;
c) Relevance to the objectives of the specific programme;
d) European added value, critical mass of resources mobilised and contribution to Community policies;
e) Quality of the plan for using and disseminating the knowledge, potential for promoting innovation, and clear plans for the management of intellectual property.”
Furthermore, in applying paragraph (d) above, the following criteria are also to be taken into account:
a) “For networks of excellence, the scope and degree of the effort to achieve integration and the network’s capacity to promote excellence beyond its membership, as well as the prospects of the durable integration of their research capabilities and resources after the end of the period covered by the Community’s financial contribution;
b) For integrated projects, the scale of the ambition of the objectives and the capacity of the resources to make a significant contribution to reinforcing competitiveness or solving societal problems;
c) For integrated initiatives relating to infrastructure, the prospects of the initiative’s continuing long term after the end of the period covered by the Community’s financial contribution.”
As set out in the Rules for Participation, the calls for proposals determine, in accordance with the type of instruments deployed or the objectives of the RTD activity, how the criteria set out above are applied by the Commission.
The purpose of this annex is to indicate how these criteria shall be applied. In particular, as the Sixth Framework Programme contains a differentiated set of instruments, the way in which each criterion translates into the issues to be examined as the basis for marking proposals will differ. In evaluating against these criteria, the checklists of issues set out in the following pages are intended to be universal for each type of instrument.
Unless otherwise specified in the relevant parts of this work programme, the principal issues set out below (i.e. the main numbered headings) will be given equal weighting in the evaluation. For each principal issue, a minimum score to be achieved is also indicated as well as a minimum overall score for each instrument. Proposals that fail to achieve these minimum threshold scores shall be rejected. Any departures from these threshold scores are indicated in the relevant part of this work programme.
In addition to the basic checklists below and any specific criteria or interpretations of the criteria required for a call, the following issues are also addressed for all proposals at any appropriate moment in the evaluation:
Are there gender issues associated with the subject of the proposal? If so, have they been adequately taken into account?
Have the applicants identified the potential ethical and/or safety aspects of the proposed research regarding its objectives, the methodology and the possible implications of the results? If so, have they been adequately taken into account in the preparation of the proposal?
An ethical check will take place for all proposals during the evaluation. A specific ethical review will be implemented following the evaluation for proposals recommended for funding and which deal with specific sensitive issues or whenever recommended following the ethical check during the evaluation. To this end, additional information on ethical aspects may be requested from proposers to allow the specific ethical review to be carried out. (See the section “The ethical review of proposals” below for more details on the criteria to be applied).
When appropriate, the following additional issues may also be addressed during the evaluation:
To what extent does the proposal demonstrate a readiness to engage with actors beyond the research community and the public as a whole, to help spread awareness and knowledge and to explore the wider societal implications of the proposed work?
Have the synergies with education at all levels been clearly set out?
If third country participation is envisaged in the proposal, is it well justified and the participation well integrated in the activities?
Planned results and exploitation
A key consideration in all of the above is: "What use is the project?" Most especially with projects of the size of the new instruments, real outcomes are expected, and they should be seen to be produced. There is a wide range of documentation and help line available for innovation and exploitation plans on CORDIS at http://www.cordis.lu/
Also, for example with IPs, reflecting the novel nature of IPs, the Commission will go still further than in FP5 from a detailed monitoring of inputs to the strategic monitoring of outputs. For this, the Commission envisages a reinforced monitoring scheme – involving high-level independent experts – consisting of annual reviews, a mid-term (or ‘milestone’) review, and an end-of-term review. The Commission also has at its disposal a range of audits (technical, financial, technological and ethical) which it intends to use more systematically. Each IP, in fact, can expect to be subjected to at least one financial audit.
To return to the main document, go to: Strategy for Proposal Preparation
7 Details of Unit F.4 (Fundamental Genomics) Contacts
Directorate F - Health (Director: Octavi Quintana Trias
Unit F.4 "Fundamental Genomics"
European Commission General Telephone Number : +32 - 2 - 29 91111
Unit F.4 Secretariat, Room SDME 8/45
Directorate-General for Research, European Commission,