On 26th of November, The Research Council of Lithuania organized a “Horizon 2020” (H2020) Information day, as an example of good practice - project “Alliance4life” (A4Life) was presented. Presentation was followed by the discussion: “Is it Worth Participating in International Science Programs?”
Project participant prof. Osvaldas Rukšėnas presented A4Life as one of the first projects based on bottom-up principle which aims at reducing the exclusion of European health researches and innovation. As a results of the project, a permanent structure of Alliance4Life was established with the goal to support and reinforce European research excellence and the impact of scientific researches on society, human health, and quality of life.
The presentation was followed by discussion on experiences, accomplishments and challenges that arise while participating in international science programs. One of the main objects of A4Life is the engagement of scientists in the project activities and the role of higher education institutions. According to participants, training on project themes, preparation of applications and encouragement are crucial elements for scientists to increase their interest of participation. Equally important is a more flexible policy of administration and promotion-motivation within institutions. There were more suggestions from the audience: to provide co-financing for project activities, to involve more PhD students in to the project, to leave more time for project preparation and to establish an internal financial incentive mechanism. Also, developing the entrepreneurial skills of researchers and increasing their involvement in project promotion and partner-searches is essential.
As a possible success formula, the input of consultants and experts involvement in the evaluation of the application was identified as significant. Choice of project partners and personal contacts of researchers also play very important role. Therefore, it is particularly important to ensure the mobility of researchers through internships, individual in-service trainings and other activities.
The participants also gave their opinion on the impact of information dissemination on successful projects and experiences. Sharing of good practice is one of the ways to motivate researchers to become more involved in project work. In addition, the funded projects allow us to identify relevant research trends, ideas for future development and give us an opportunity to evaluate what kind of experience is lacking in certain areas.
National contact points (NCPs) from the Research Council of Lithuania and Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology stated the importance of NCPs and their involvement in proposal development and improvements, proof reading by peers, trainings and possible good practices from other sectors. As an example, when the author of idea, professional project writer and NCP or other person with knowledge of the program and call requirements team up in proposal writing.
During the event, several key conclusions were reached - dissemination of information, assistance in the preparation of applications, development of researchers’ entrepreneurial competences and active participation in partners-search events is advised to enable researchers to become more involved in ongoing projects.