Frequent errors identified in project proposals submitted on theme 6 – Environment (including climate change) and theme 3 – Information and Communication Technologies of the 7th Framework Programme of European Union
National Institute for Research & Development of Informatics – ICI Bucharest
Universitaty Lucian Blaga, Sibiu
National Authority for Scientific Research
Abstract: Within this study it has been identified the frequent errors of consortia who submitted project proposal, in response to the 7th Framework Programme for research and development, theme 6 – Environment (including climate changes) and theme 3 – Information and Communication Technologies. The analysis was performed on more than 450 Evaluation Summary reports, on each evaluation criteria, according to the evaluation ranking of collaborative projects, specified id Rules of Participation to FP 7. The frequent errors were grouped in the following categories: deluxe for those project proposals marked between 4 – 5 points and with a total score between 12 and 15, welldone – for those project proposals marked between 3,5 – 4,5 points and with a total score between 10,5 and 12, good – for those project proposals marked between 3 – 4 points and with a total score between 9,5 and 10,5, medium – for those project proposals marked between 2,5 – 3,0 points and with a total score between 9,0 and 9,5, weak – for those project proposals marked between 2,5 – 3,5 points and with a total score between 7 and 9, and garbage – for those project proposals marked between 1 – 3,5 points and with a total score less than 7 points.
This analysis led us to the conclusion that the errors made by those about 500 consortia who submitted project proposals to the 7th Framework Programme are not dependant on the scientific domain or topic but relates to the writing technique and the consortia that will implement that project in the case that it would be approved by the European Commission. Also, the analysis was used to build up the web platform for project proposal writing and to the pre-screening tool aimed to support the National Contact Points supporting coordinators who submit project proposals in response to call for proposal that will be later opened within the 7th Framework Program.
Key words: frequent errors, projects, research, 7th framework programme, national contact points
Introduction: The EU Framework Programme is the most important pan-European cooperation platform by which the European Commission implements its R&D policies. The first Framework Programme was carried out within 1994-1998 having a tiny budget. The importance of Framework Programmes is indisputable, a contribution of approx. 7 billion EUR for research generating an increase of 200 billion EUR / year in European GDP 
Romania is participating to the Framework Programs since 1994 (FP 4 at that time). Funding for Romanian participants was available only if they participate with „International Cooperation” specific program. (Cooperation with third countries and international organisations). Nevertheless, Romanian participation was also possible in other specific programs but Romanian participants could participate only if they fund their activities by themselves (which was in very rare cases).
In its way towards a full EU membership, one of the conditions requested in order to close negotiations for chapter 17 – science and research, was participation to the Framework Programs in the same conditions with EU member states. Therefore in the first semester of 2000, during the Portuguese chairmanship, Romania opened and provisionally closed 5 chapters: 16 – Small and medium enterprises, 17 – science and research, 18 – education, professional training and youth, 26 – foreign affairs, 27 – Foreign policy and common security. Within this context, starting with the 5th Framework Program, Romanian participants had the same rights and obligations as their homologues from any EU member states, while Romania had some payment facilities to the FP 5 budget. 1997 (just before the start of FP 5) and 1998 were 2 important years when all Programs and pan-European frameworks for science and technology cooperation (EUREKA and COST) were opened for research organisations, universities and companies from Romania, The legal framework (contribution payment and support for Romanian participants) was set during 1999, 1 year after the start of FP 5. Regarding FP 6, the main legal act which set the participation to FP 6 and supported romaine participants was the Governmental Decision nr. 368 of 2 April 2003.
7th Framework Program started in 2007, and for the first time in EU its duration is 7 years instead of 4 like its predecessors with a structure of 4 specific programs: Cooperation, Ideas, People, Capacities. The specific Program “Cooperation” has the following themes: (1) Health, (2) Food Agricultures and Fisheries and biotechnologies – KBBE, (3) Information and Communication Technologies – ICT (4) Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies – NMP, (5) Energy, (6) Environment (including climate change) – ENV, (7) Transport (including Aeronautics), (8) Socio-economic and humanistic sciences – SSH, (9) Space, (10) Security – SEC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_Programmes_for_Research_and_Technological_Development#cite_note-0  http://ec.europa.eu/research/rtdinfo/special_fp7/fp7/01/article_fp709_en.html  Muldur, U., et al., “A New Deal for an Effective European Research Policy,” Springer 2006 ISBN 978-1-4020-5550-8  http://ec.europa.eu/research/intco/intco2.html  http://www.sgg.ro/docs/File/integrare_eu/NegociereRO.pdf  Ordinance nr. 5 / 20.01.1998 on participation of Romania to Declaration of Hanover on 6 noiembrie 1985, regarding the EUREKA innitiative, Governmental Decision nr. 164/05.05.1997 on stimulation of Romanian participation to EUREKA published in Official Journal nr. 83/07.05.1997, Law on Romania’s participation to the general resolution of European ministers of research Bruxelles, 22-23 November 1971, on European cooperation in science and technology COST, published in Official Journal nr. 37/29.01.1998  Governmental Decision nr. 1043 / 17.12.1999 regarding the approval of payment of Romanian contribution to Framework Programme 5‘ budget and Framework Programme 5 Euratom’s budget as well as approval of financial support for Romanian participants, published in Official Journal nr. 635 / 27.12.1999  Governmental Decision nr. 368 / 2 April 2003, regarding the approval of payment of Romanian contribution to Framework Programme 5‘ budget and Framework Programme 5 Euratom’s budget (Euratom), as well as approval of financial support for Romanian participants, including measures for stimulation of their participation, published in Official Journal nr. 238 of 8 April 2003  Decision No 1982/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013), Official Journal of the European Union, L 412/1, 30 December 2006  According to Art. 2, alin. 1. al of Decision Nr. 1982/2006/EC.
Conclusions: As presented in the above analysis, in both themes of FP 7 the most frequent errors are the same, irrespective of scientific domain, or topic addressed (not taking into consideration those errors strictly related to the scientific issue as such). For the first criterion the frequent errors are: quality of R&D activities to be performed during the life time of the project, presentation of state-of-the in that particular scientific field, correlation between project objectives and those presented in the topic for which the project was submitted, the proposed strategies to be followed within the project are not those needed for such an important undertake, workpackages are not well structured, scientific level is not the one needed for such an important project. Regarding the second criterion, the frequent errors relates to: how the proposed activities are organised, the allocation of resources is not appropriate for a successful implementation, management procedures are not detailed and cannot be evaluated, the human resources are under-evaluated, consortium is unbalanced, partner’s responsibilities are not justified. Concerning the third criterion, it can be mentioned that the most common error are: the link between R&D and education and innovation is not presented, exploitation plans are not (well) presented or are not according to requests from the topic, the exploitation plan does not fit with the outcomes of the project and are not in line with project objectives.
Final conclusion: By these analysis (on the two FP 7 themes) it has been showed that the errors made by project proposers are similar irrespective the scientific domain in response to which the project proposal was submitted (environment and information and communication technologies) and organisations which are members of consortia .
The work presented in this papers was possible with support from the project „Environmental NCP cooperating to improve their effectiveness”, acronym ENV-NCP-TOGETHER, www.env-ncp-together.eu, funded by Directorate General Research, Grant Agreement-ul 212494, coordinated by Viorel Vulturescu from National Authority for Scientific Research.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.