27.07.2016 | online
Webinar with Coordinators of Projects supported by the IncoNet EaP/CA Twinning Grants
The IncoNet EaP and IncoNet CA projects jointly organised two calls for twinning grants. A third call – targeting only the Eastern Partnership region – has been pre-announced for September 2016. The main objective of the twinning instrument is to increase the participation of Eastern Partnership and Central Asian countries in EU calls. In order to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of this funding instrument, the DLR Project Management Agency organised a short webinar session with coordinators of projects supported by the twinning grants on 27 July 2016.
Results of the webinar
Were the twinning grants an appropriate instrument in order to increase EU-EaP / EU-CA cooperation?
The instrument was generally understood to be a very appropriate and useful instrument. Whilst it was found to be difficult to start cooperation within the framework programme of Horizon 2020 (due to, amongst others, the high competitiveness and the expected low chances of success), the twinning grants were seen as very useful instruments to start scientific cooperation. Furthermore, the twinning grants were described as appropriate not only to start cooperation between individual scientists, but to strengthen cooperation between institutions.
Typical quote: 'Yes, of course it is up to now the best instrument to stimulate the cooperation (between the EU and the countries of the region) for scientific teams and industrial companies.'
What was the experience with the technical and administrative implementation of the twinning projects?
The technical and administrative implementations were described as very adequate and smooth. Asked individually, the participants of the webinar saw no reason for any kind of criticism regarding the implementation and the administrative handling of the Twinning Grants by DLR. Some partners asked for information from other twinning projects in order to further support the exchange of information.
Typical quote: 'It was perfect.'
Experience with cooperation within the twinning projects
Problems of cooperation (in some cases) were connected to communication (language). This was especially the case when it came to writing project proposals: Communication among the partners often was and still is conducted in Russian language, while project proposals ask for English language. There is a need for capacity building in the field of proposal writing and – especially as long as English is the language for applications – English language in general.
In some cases (e.g. Kazakhstan), it was found to be difficult to cooperate with administrations, especially all in the case of state-owned institutions. Brain drain was found to be a problem as well. Scientists trained in English and proposal writing tend to leave the countries for better job opportunities in Europe. Therefore mere capacity building in the regions would not solve the problem but only help individuals with the development of their income opportunities. More complex solutions are asked for.
Recommendations for the future
It was recommended to have twinning projects assuring a more continuous cooperation, e.g. over a period of two or three years. This would help to put cooperation on a much more sustainable path. Also, this would enable projects to take more partners on board of proposal writing consortia or to better use existing infrastructure.
Finally, it was recommended that financial support for short term visits amongst twinning partners should be made available (e.g. for a period of 14 days).
The objectives of the twinning instrument were:
to increase the participation of Eastern Partnership / Central Asian countries in EU calls,
to reveal and select tandems of European and regional partners with the strongest collaboration potential and huge experience in the preparation and carrying out of EU projects,
and to support the information exchange among partners (travel costs, staff exchange, preparation of workshops) and the concrete preparation of thematic proposals.
Now, close to the end of the project duration of both IncoNet projects, it was decided to asses, whether and how far these objectives have been attained and what could be improvements for future twinning activites.
In order to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of this funding instrument, a short (approx. 1 hour) webinar session with the coordinators of the twinning grants was organised.
Coordinators of both Eastern Partnership and Central Asia related twinning projects took part in the online meeting, which was organised by IncoNet project partner DLR, who had also implemented and managed the Twinning Grant calls.
Thus, the objectives of the webinar were:
an exchange of cooperation experience with Eastern Partnership / Central Asian project partners
an exchange of experience concerning the administrative implementation of the twinning projects
to give practical recommendations for the further development of this funding instrument