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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
✓ Risk management
✓ Monitoring progress
✓ Documentation and reporting
✓ Communication
✓ Become familiar with H2020 rules
✓ Learn to deal with common project challenges
✓ Be ready to efficiently manage their project
Science communication✓ Know your audience
✓ Key messages, tools and channels
✓ EC communication guidelines
✓ Storytelling and the ABT framework
✓ Ethics in science communication
✓ Evaluating communication
✓ Know the basics of good communication
✓ Learn to plan communication activities
✓ Become familiar with the storytelling technique
✓ Become effective communicators
EU funding programmes and proposal writing✓ Objectives of EU funding programmes
✓ Proposal set-up and contents
✓ Evaluation criteria
✓ Section specific requirements
✓ Budgeting
✓ Have an overview of EU funding schemes
✓ Set up their project-specific work plan
✓ Learn successful proposal feature
✓ Learn to write competitive proposals

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
(Train2Target)

Dr. Emily Rose Ciscato
Project Manager Communications
(MOSAICS)