During the second month of the exchange, the HE and I focused our attention on the European project planning and management, especially in the area of Horizon 2020 projects.
Thanks to his help I improved my knowledge about the distribution of funds and, as previously mentioned, I asked to highlight the field of research and innovation and Horizon 2020. As a matter of fact, Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation program ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years, and you have to take into consideration the private investment that this money will attract.
I come from a region in the south of Italy where the role of SMEs is very important for the economy; this is why I have been attracted by all the opportunities given to them. H2020 supports SMEs with a new instrument that runs throughout various funded research and innovation fields, so it should be easy for SMEs to find opportunities in many calls. In effect, this instrument provides full-cycle business innovation support from the stage of business idea conception and planning over business plan execution and demonstration to commercialization. The HE has been very helpful showing me all the web pages to monitor in order to find the funding opportunities.
Moreover, after the analysis of European funding opportunities, the HE and I focused our attention on the development of an effective project idea and the creation of transnational project partnership in order to match the call requirements.
During these weeks, I learned the basis on how to write the proposal for the EC and I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand these processes following the work of the HE. With regards to the development of effective project ideas, HE pointed out all the different steps to be followed. As a matter of facts, for most types of action there is a technical annex that gives a detailed description of the project idea and work plan, so you have to:

– divide the planned work into work packages;
– assign the related responsibilities and resources within the consortium;
– set out a project time schedule, main milestones and deliverables;
– describe the project management structure and describe the communication and exploitation plans.

Furthermore, particular attention has been paid to the budgetary rules in Horizon 2020 and the differences between the personnel costs and the indirect ones.
Lately, we have been analyzing the project evaluation process and its management, namely:  
the contractual procedures, the project life cycle and organization, the management of the project partnership, quality issues and analysis of best practice and the financial management and auditing.

I will keep you posted.

lucrezia
Lucrezia