Coordinators of the H2020 projects in the environmental area

The role of coordinators, especially in collaborative projects based on the cooperation of high number of participants, is very important and demanding. Administrative as well as expert skills are necessary for the management of the teams from different national environments. As a benefit in addition to the higher contribution from the EC, the coordination brings also a so called ‘pull effect’ – it means the coordinator usually pulls up other partners from his/her country. The pull effect has also positive impact on the involvement of the institutions with no previous experience with the framework programmes´ projects.

Analysed data shown in Fig. 1 are taken from the E-CORDA database (version 7, 28/02/2017)

Fig. 1 Number of coordinators from EU15 (blue columns) and EU13 (grey columns) and share of coordinators in projects financed in SC5.

Altogether, there are 337 projects in the frame of societal challenge 5 – Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials – coordinated by EU countries in the database of projects with the signed grant agreement. Out of them, 93 % is coordinated by organisations from the EU 15. Large countries (ES, IT, UK, DE) plus the Netherlands coordinate 72 % of SC5 projects. Coordination appears to be a big problem of all EU 13 countries. Results regarding coordination in SC5 are similar with those concerning the whole H2020. It indicates that the problem with coordination is not thematic but rather systemic. EU 13 countries probably do not have the necessary support and background for the coordination of such complex projects, they also lack sufficient experience.

Scatter plot shows the share of coordinators of each country to the total number of projects with the participation of given country. Spain, Estonia, Italy and United Kingdom have the highest share in this respect (more than 40 %).  The leadership of Spain and Italy in this parameter can be partly explained by the high number of coordination of SME-instrument. Also all projects coordinated by Estonians and most of projects coordinated by EU 13 countries are assigned to this type of action which is usually monocontractual and does not require so high administrative effeort. We can conclude that the coordination of research projects with large international consortia by institutions from EU 13 countries is exceptional and it is a question what can be done to change the situation.

by Jana Cejkova & Daniel Frank