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The importance of Partner Organisations in ITNs

22nd June 2020 at 4:25 pm

The evaluation results for Innovative Training Networks (ITN) were published a few weeks ago and now it’s time for grant preparations with the Research Executive Agency (REA) and setting everything up for a good start. As Partner Organisations (PO) do not recruit researchers and do not receive funds from the awarded grant directly, only the Beneficiaries are currently involved in preparing and signing the Grant Agreement with the European Commission (EC). The key role of POs in ITNs is in complementing the Beneficiaries by, for example, providing specialised training to the recruited Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and even hosting them during internships, so-called secondments. Thanks to their active training role, it is recommended to include POs in the Consortium Agreement (CA), a contract that needs to be set up within the network or consortium. As the CA is quite extensive and its negotiation between the project partners can take several months, an easier option is often for the POs to only sign a Partnership Agreement, which is much shorter and sometimes and attachment to the CA. In these agreements, the Beneficiaries can define the fees and reimbursement of costs of the respective PO. Now is, hence, the time for ITN Coordinators to start putting in motion their collaboration with all Beneficiaries and POs.

In a previous blog post, we already highlighted the roles and requirements of Partner Organisations in ITNs, but we are often asked for clarifications on the need for them in the consortium. Here, we’ll take you through the importance of their role, especially in providing training and helping maximise the project’s impact through outreach activities.

Secondments, training courses and outreach

Key components of any ITN training programme are the secondments offered to the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) recruited by the Beneficiaries. POs, who can be from academic or non-academic sectors, can contribute an environment of expertise that complements that of the Beneficiaries. As such, they are encouraged to host the ESRs for secondments, supporting and extending the training and learning experience beyond what is offered by the main local ESR host (one of the Beneficiaries).

While secondments offer the opportunity for the ESRs to extend their expertise and knowledge in a new and different learning environment from that of their main host, network-wide training courses contribute additional specialised training with an important networking opportunity, as typically all ESRs and POs within the project participate in the events. Often combining multiple short courses, network-wide training events see the POs contributing, for example, highly specialised training, transferable skills or other relevant courses equipping the ESRs with additional skills.

POs can also offer or support the ESRs and the other network partners in delivering crucial outreach opportunities. For example, in the case of the project MOSAICS, the Partner Organisation EURO-CIU offers the ESRs the possibility to become familiar with the needs of cochlear implant users across Europe and interact with them through outreach activities. As such, they are also important multipliers for maximising the project’s outreach and impact, while providing the ESRs with a truly diverse and wide-reaching network.

accelopment as a Partner Organisation

What started out back in 2008 during the 7th Framework Programme with the Initial Training Networks HEALING, SYSWIND, REFINE, TRAIN-ASAP and the NeoGel European Industrial Doctorates (EID) programme, has since matured into a long history of supporting training networks. Within the Horizon 2020 programme we have successfully supported the European Training Networks ClickGene, EXCILIGHT, and ImmerSAFE and are currently involved in PEARRL, Train2Target, LightDyNAmics, NanoCarb, MUSIQ and EuroNeuroTrophin as well as the EIDs STACCATO, MORE and MOSAICS. Following the latest evaluation results, we are also pleased to support 4 newly approved ITNs.

As a Partner Organisation we provide training specifically tailored to ESRs, contributing to the development of their transferable skills at different stages throughout their project.

Our training offersContentBenefits to the ESRs
Research project management✓ Planning
✓ Time vs. priority management
✓ Risk management
✓ Monitoring progress
✓ Documentation and reporting
✓ Communication
✓ Know the elements of project management
✓ Become familiar with project planning tools
✓ Be aware of rules of EU funded projects
Science communication✓ Know your audience
✓ Key messages, tools and channels
✓ Language and jargon
✓ EC communication guidelines
✓ Strategies for online communication
✓ Presentation skills
✓ Ethics in science communication
✓ Evaluating communication
✓ Know the basics of good communication
✓ Learn to plan communication activities
✓ Familiarise with a variety of communication strategies and platforms
✓ Become an effective communicator
Data management✓ EC Open Research Data Pilot
✓ Data management plan and tools
✓ Open access data and publications
✓ IPRs and exploitation
✓ EC dissemination and exploitation guidelines
✓ Learn how to develop and maintain a data management plan
✓ Become familiar with data management tools
✓ Be aware of EC dissemination and exploitation guidelines
✓ Learn the basics of IPRs
Gender equality✓ Gender equality in research
✓ Implicit bias
✓ Assertiveness
✓ Gender roles and work-life balance
✓ Strategies for gender-sensitive communication
✓ Gender-sensitive research
✓ Discuss current issues in gender equality in research
✓ Learn about the EU’s priorities towards gender equality
✓ Be aware of implicit bias and strategies to overcome it
✓ Learn how to conduct gender-sensitive research
Funding opportunities✓ EU funding schemes and opportunities
✓ Key documents and resources
✓ Objectives of different EU funding programmes
✓ Evaluation criteria
✓ Success factors
✓ Become familiar with EU funding opportunities
✓ Learn how to identify the best suited funding scheme and how to competitively apply
Grant writing✓ Objectives and requirements of EU funding programmes
✓ Call documents and other sources
✓ Proposal set-up and contents
✓ Evaluation criteria
✓ Developing the scientific part, impact and implementation sections
✓ Budgeting
✓ Learn how to focus-in on the scientific essentials with clarity and appeal
✓ Know what is needed for a compelling impact section
✓ Become familiar with budgeding
✓ Develop a solid and coherent implementation

Stay tuned for upcoming new training offers, as we will soon be introducing new courses. In the meanwhile, for more information on how we can support your ITN as a Partner Organisation feel free to contact our ITN experts:

Jacqueline Strehler
Project Manager Communications
(LightDynamics, STACCATO)

Marco Cavallaro
Research & Innovation Project Manager
(NanoCarb, MOSAICS)

Julia Götz
Project Manager Communications
(MUSIQ, EuroNeuroTrophin, PEARRL)

Géraldine Messmer
Project Associate Communications

Dr. Emily Rose Ciscato
Project Manager Communications