Now that the calls for Horizon 2020 have been released, I have been asked by several people how to find partners to participate in the calls. I always recommend partnering with at least one person you already know, either through previous projects, publications or simply having met at a conference. The lifespan of a project can be many years and you need to be confident that your approach to work is complementary and that you feel you can trust your partners to deliver.
It’s not always possible to partner up with people you already know and below are some of the resources you can utilise to help for all subject areas:
- National Contact Points – these figures are the main contacts who can provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020 including searching for partners. There is an NCP for each subject area and also one for Marie Curie Fellowships.
- CORDIS Partner Service – one of the largest databases of partner profiles (self-registered profiles). It has a list of Partnership Requests and you can also launch your own.
- UKRO– BU subscribes to the UKRO service which is a fantastic information resource and which can help you find partners.
- Previously awarded bids: all proposals funded under FP7 are available to view on line and have the PI listed. Many people have found emailing the PI from a relevant project to outline their own area of expertise and request a collaboration, very successful.
There are also several subject specific searches, such as:
- ICT Idealist Partner Search – the service includes advice on creating your profile by your local National Contact Point and there is a quality control of all the published data.
- Net4Society – this features partner search requests in the socio-economic sciences and humanities
- Nanosciences and nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production technologies Partner search – this lists those looking for partners and also allows you to launch a partner search
- Fit for Health – this is a quality checked database contains expertise profiles of researchers and SMEs acting in the Health / Life sciences sector. The service includes partner search activities advice on all aspects related to a research project, starting with help in first orientation and strategy development to proposal preparation, implementation, exploitation and promotion.
- Innovative Medicines Initiative Partner Search – the IMI supports collaborative research projects and builds networks of industrial and academic experts to boost pharmaceutical innovation and this site displays the partner searches which includes SMEs, large organizations and Universities.
- Enterprise Europe Network Cooperation Opportunities Database – this site publishes an extensive number of innovation and technology profiles from international companies and research organisations to help identify suitable partners for bilateral business, innovation and technology cooperation.
UKWaterResearchDirectory: An online directory of UK researchers has just been developed to support the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) UK Water Research and Innovation Framework (UKWRIF) and the UK Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme (WSKEP). It covers all disciplines with interests in water and could be used to find partners for EU funded, and other, projects. Researchers who are not already on the database can add their details. It is also possible to keep up to date with additions and updates by subscribing to a mailing list. The main purpose of the Directory is to improve the ease by which government and industry can find research skills that they may be interested in, trade associations knowing who to invite to meetings/workshops for their members, and for the research community to have a better way of finding complementary research partners. The database has only just been launched and still being actively populated with researchers. It is also possible to keep up to date with additions and updates by subscribing to a mailing list. If so, you will receive no more than one update email per month.
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic:
The Department for Adaptation Strategies Research is looking for partners, who are interested in similar research fields and who are willing to be a part of newly created networks in the following fields:
- climate variability and its impact on social and economic systems, including adaptation strategies and mechanisms;
- adaptation measures with a wide multidisciplinary nature with regard to development interventions;
- natural hazards (climate extremes) and their impact on society from the regional, national and global points of view;
- research methods oriented to mitigate vulnerability of society and improve its resilience towards climatic extremes, natural hazards and environmental risks;
- environmental limits of social and economic development from the environmental geography perspective;
- climate change and its impact on migration and environmental security;
- environmental changes (risks) and their impact on population processes, theoretical conceptualisation, drawing case studies;
- estimates of people vulnerable to climate variability carried out on the basis of climate modeling and simulations (regional and nation-wide level);
- analysis of the the relationship between the environment, economic growth, financial flows and population aspect (migration and development);
- relationships and impacts of interactions between the environment and society and the reflection of theoretical trends of environmental sociology;
- dissemination of environmental risks and understanding interest groups’ standpoints with regard to environmental risks (climate change);
- analysis and evaluation of economic benefits of adaptation strategies in selected sectors and applying suitable methods for optimal combination of these measures; and
- analysis of adaptation measures in bioenergy and agricultural sectors.
EC projects usually require partners, with the number and geographical location varying for each call. A useful tip to remember when considering your partner options is that a consortium should include a good balance of sectors industry, academia, user groups etc) and that all partners should be well-matched to the activities in the proposal.
You can find partners through your existing contacts, by reviewing previously awarded FP6 and FP7 projects, by searching/ advertising on the UKRO website ,by seeking the assistance of the relevant UK National Contact Point and by attending EU conferences and project evaluations, by scanning the CORDIS website.
The best and most effective way to become involved in FP7 consortia however, is to join European Technology Platforms (ETPs). These are groups of industry-led stakeholder forums who explore Europe’s key challenges. ETPs define the EU Strategic research agenda and then bid for European Commission funds (through FP7 etc) to address these. The biggest players in the field across Europe belong to these groups and obviously as they set the research agenda, they are increduibly successful at winning FP7 funds for research. Joining these groups will not only open you to a plethora of partners but also will allow you to contribute in shaping the research agenda of Europe (which you can then address through funding). Some of the major ETPs are listed below with hyperlinks to their webpages:
Advanced Engineering Materials and Technologies
Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe
Embedded Computing Systems
European Biofuels Technology Platform
European Construction Technology Platform
European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council
European Rail Research Advisory Council
European Road Transport Research Advisory Council
European Space Technology Platform
European Steel Technology Platform
European Technology Platform for the Electricity Networks of the Future
European Technology Platform for Wind Energy
European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration
European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral Resources
Farm Animal Breeding and Reproduction Technology Platform
Food for Life
Forest based sector Technology Platform
Future Manufacturing Technologies
Future Textiles and Clothing
Global Animal Health
Industrial Safety ETP
Integral Satcom Initiative
Mobile and Wireless Communications
Nanotechnologies for Medical Applications
Networked and Electronic Media
Networked European Software and Services Initiative
Plants for the Future
Sustainable Nuclear Technology Platform
Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform
Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants