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Integrated projects in IST Priority

Frequently asked questions (version 2.0; 12 January 2005)

All the documents referred to here are obtained by following links from the IST web site at /ist/

There is a general set of FAQs for proposers to IST call 4. There are also specific FAQs concerning Networks of excellence

Standard Disclaimer
These Frequently Asked Questions does not supersede the rules and conditions laid out, in particular, in Council and Parliament Decisions relevant to the Sixth Framework Programme, the IST Priority, the Model contract, Call for proposals or the Evaluation Guidelines. They are provided as a help to specific questions and present only the current view of the Information desk of the IST programme of the Directorate-General for Information Society of the European Commission. Readers should not regard these views as a statement of the official position of the European Commission.

In what way does an Integrated project differ from the research projects you funded in the past ?
The IP allows us to fund a project which is much broader in scope and ambition then the research projects we could fund the past. Of course, our "old-style" research projects have not disappeared, but still exist as Specific targeted research projects - STREPs.

Broader in scope and ambition…?
An IP is not just focused on carrying out a piece of research or development. It can foresee activities anywhere along the innovation cycle, or indeed all the way through it: from basic "theoretical" research, application or product-driven "industrial" research, training, trials, take-up actions, best practice actions, dissemination…. You should not be developing just another product, you should be planning to have a major impact on your industry sector.

If an IP is meant to be so broad-ranging, might it in fact cover more than one of your Strategic objectives ? Even including one not open in your current call ?
Yes. But the main weight of your proposed project must lie in one (or more) of the Strategic objectives which are open in the current call. If the main weight of your proposal lies in a Strategic objective which we are opening in a later call, we will reject it in this evaluation and recommend that you resubmit it at that later call.

Your documentation talks of IPs needing a "critical mass of activities and resources". What does this mean ?
Big enough to address the objectives and do the job properly, with an adequate number of relevant participants in the project. But no bigger than necessary - our evaluators can always recommend that superfluous activities (or partners!) be removed during the contract negotiation stage.

How many partners do you expect in an IP ?
We think the optimum number is between 10 and 20. Smaller than that and it becomes difficult to see how the partnership could achieve the wide-ranging activities and goals expected of an IP. Larger than that can give project management problems which make it difficult to achieve clear results. But there are always exceptions! There are industry sectors which are dominated by only a few key players, so in such cases IPs with smaller consortia could also be effective in such cases.

And how long should an IP last ?
Perhaps 3-5 years would be typical. Certainly any proposers thinking of work lasting less than three years might be better to consider a STREP proposal.

How can I plan now for partners who may only be involved in the project several years from now, say at the final stage of take up or dissemination ? How can I ask them to commit themselves to a project now ?
You don't need to. You can plan "incremental" participation, in which new partners at present unidentified will join the project at this later stage. Of course, you must have a workable project consortium to start off with - if you get a contract we expect you to starting project work right away, not partner recruitment!

Do I budget for these unknown partners right now in my cost estimates ?
Yes, you must in the beginning foresee the cost of the work these later-joining partners will do.

Do we get to select these later "incremental" partners ourselves ?
The selection will be organised by you, following a standard procedure of an open competitive call for proposals imposed by the Commission.

Can some of the work in the project be sub-contracted ?
Yes, individual elements of any project may be subcontracted where a specialised resource or skill is needed. But core elements of your work should not be subcontracted. We do not want critical elements of any project, or a major part of its funding, going to any organisation which is not a signatory to the project contract. Particularly, the most important element of the project of all, which is the project management, may never be subcontracted in any project in the IST Priority.

How much cost/funding does the commission foresee for an IP ?
We have seen IPs typically in the range of €4-25m of Commission funding. The average so far has been around €10m (therefore with the total cost of the project in the region of €20m). These projects really are intended to be ambitious in goals and scope!

There are apparently some "special" types of IPs in IST call 4….
Yes. Our Strategic objective 2.4.1 Nano-electronics envisages three specialised types:

  • Assessment actions . These IPs deal with the assessment of prototype equipment and materials in state-of-the-art manufacturing processes.
  • Stimulation actions . These IPs aim at increasing the interest of students in and improving the quality of education in SoC design.
  • Use actions . These IPs should promote the integration and use of micro- and nano-technologies (limited to reconfigurable systems) in SME products and in application or geographic areas where these technologies are insufficiently used.
Our Strategic objective 2.4.2 Technologies and devices for Micro/nanoscale integration also envisages a special type of IP:
  • Service actions These IPs should support academic research, feasibility design prototyping, training and education through access to advanced tools, multi project fabrication and design competency.
More details about these are given in the IST Workprogramme 2005-2006

As an IP is very broad in scope, it might possibly be covering some of the same ground as some other project in your Strategic objective, say a STREP. Could two such projects foresee working together in some way ?
Yes. If the evaluators see two or more good project proposals covering similar ground, they may recommend that the projects be managed together by the Commission, as a project "cluster". They would also make recommendations about avoiding duplication of activities between projects. They could even propose that two project consortia merge, to form a single larger project, though of course this merger decision would always lie in the hands of the consortia concerned - it would be a recommendation, not a condition for getting a contract.

The proposal format (Part B) for an IP ask for a lot of information about regulatory and ethical matters, gender equality, socio-economic impact….. You never asked about such things before.
IPs cannot just be seen as isolated pieces of research like before. They should have a much wider impact and much wider implications than our previous research studies. So these issues have to be addressed also in your proposal. And don't neglect them, or treat them in a superficial fashion. Remember that a call of proposals is simply a competition of one proposal against another, and a comprehensive review of relevant regulation, a well-thought-out gender equality plan or a clear appreciation of the social issues involved may make all the difference between two proposals which are otherwise equal on research and technological considerations.

If we make an IP proposal, and the Commission considers it might fit in better, or have a better chance, if evaluated as a STREP, will you change it in the evaluation ?
No. The structure of a proposal is different for the different instrument types, so there would be many difficulties in carrying out an evaluation of a proposal of one type as if it were a proposal of another type. Also it would be very unfair on the others for the Commission to intervene in favour of a particular proposer.

So what makes a successful Integrated project proposal ?
Yours goals are ambitious. Your partners include the key industry players. A full range of activities covering a substantial part of the development chain is envisaged and broad industry sector impact is foreseen. SME participation has been sought and achieved. There are effective project management plans in place.

How can I find out more about Integrated projects ?
Read the information given at /fp6/instrument-ip/

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