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Forming a winning team for Horizon 2020 calls is a matter of finding the right balance

The takeaway message from Louise Mothersole's webinar on 29 June - all about ‘building a winning team’ for Horizon 2020 funding proposals - was the best way to find good funding partners, and influence future calls, is to be to be engaged with European level technology platforms and associations.

A list of organisations and links, plus full details of the presentations by the Horizon 2020 UK National contact point for transport will be viewable in a recording of the webinar. In addition, the slides can be downloaded from the links below.






Forming a winning team

Louise started her presentation, the fourth in a series designed to help enhance the standard of proposals, by saying the most common question she's asked is about building the right type of team for collaborative project, which Louise addressed in fine detail in the KTN hosted webinar of 29 June.

The presentation covers the principles of forming teams, noting in passing that UK universities were the strongest performing sector across all nations for applications for the FP7, the European Commission research programme that preceded horizon 2020.

Which is not to say that all UK universities were equally as successful. Variation was also evident, said Louise, even between departments in universities.


Balance of experience and expertise

Most Horizon 2020 calls require at least three different entities and representation from three eligible nations. According to Louise, the right team would have a balance of expertise, type of organisation, and have the right approach, the right coordinator and the right lead.

It makes little sense, in her experience for an organisation to lead a proposal in its first project.

Willingness to be flexible was judged by Louise to be a key factor.


Technology platforms

Louise included listings and links to suitable technology platforms and membership bodies such as a ERTRAC (European Road Transport Research Advisory Council); ACARE (Advisory Council for Aviation Research and innovation in Europe); ERRAC (European Rail Research Advisory Council) and ALICE (The European Technology Platform on Logistics).

These and suitable membership bodies are also helpful, according to Louise, for helping to shape future calls, and are an effective way to meet partners, although she acknowledged it can be an expensive exercise.

Sources of data on previous projects

Louise also listed sources of data of previous projects and sources of information on track record of potential partners in previous collaborations, as listed in sources such as: CORDIS - listing of H2020 projects already approved; Transport Research and Innovation Portal for European transport projects; and the Innovate UK transparency data on funded projects to date.


Team size

Another question who is often gets asked is the optimum number of members of the team.

Six to twelve is common. Nine could be too many, she said depending on the scope, but size of size of teams depends on what is needed to cover the full scope of projects.

Louise added, "there is no optimum size and that there may be occasions when nine is too many but there may be times when over twenty is appropriate. The right size is the right size to do the work with no ‘hangers on’ to make up the numbers. Three partners is the legal minimum but after that there is no optimum team size."


Teams need real-world implementation expertise

Academic bodies should note that proposals should explain how projects can be implemented in the real world, so a commercial partner is essential.

Any requirement for a budget for twinning the commissioner keen to see that more needs to be found out about that also social sciences and humanities she is sometimes need to be considered.


Register for €6BN Horizon 2020 transport masterclass

Knowledge Transfer Network, in cooperation with Innovate UK, is hosting a special preview event at the ICC Birmingham on 15 July, providing early sight of the draft 2016/17 Horizon 2020 transport activities across all transport modes.

Confirmed keynote speakers so far include Alessandro Damiani, the EU's Head of Unit Strategy within the Directorate General Research and Innovation and Dr Miles Elsden, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department for Transport. There will also be opportunity for delegates to give a short elevator pitch to kickstart consortia-building for the calls featured.

Register to attend KTN Horizon 2020 Transport preview – a €6BN opportunity



Previous Horizon 2020 Webinars



















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