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Technical Annex Preparation Guidelines

Introduction

You have submitted your proposal to the Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources specific RTD programme. It has been evaluated favourably by external scientific and technical experts and, before you and your project partners can begin work, the first step is to prepare the contract.

The standard EC research contract (known as "model" contract) details the terms and conditions for Community support. It settles all legal, administrative and financial arrangements for the research work to be undertaken. For the contract to be drafted, all project participants must complete the "Contract Preparation Forms"(CPF). You will find these forms together with guidelines on how to complete them among the documents mailed to you by the Commission. A technical annex to the contract, known as the "technical annex", presents the scientific and technical details of the project.

It is the purpose of this document to help you and your project partners prepare the technical annex in the format and structure required by the Commission so that it becomes an integral part of the contract.

What is the technical annex?

It is a technical document which presents, in as clear and concise a manner as possible, all activities, actions and tasks which the partners are committed to undertake in order to fulfil the scientific and research objectives stipulated in the contract. It should be written in the third person and be based upon the description of scientific/technological objectives and workplan outlined in the proposal and possibly modified according to specific recommendations made by the external experts during evaluation and as further discussed with the scientific officer in charge of contract negotiations. In addition to its legal significance, the technical annex is meant to serve as benchmark for the contractors, the Commission and possibly external experts to effectively monitor and check the progress during the project's lifetime.

What is the structure and content of the technical annex?

The most important parts of the technical annex are the description of workpackages to be undertaken during the period of the project, the milestones to be achieved and a complete account of "who does what and when" and the deliverables . Having mentioned "when", it is important to note that in order to avoid possible conflicts with other parts of the contract, no calendar dates should be given. The reference time point is day 1 of month 1 of the project's life, which normally is the first day of the month following the signature of the contract by the Commission. Likewise, no references to costs incurring from the described RTD actions should be mentioned in the technical annex. Finally, the length of the technical annex should, preferably, not exceed 30 pages with a 12-pt font.

In defining the format and structure of the technical annex, every effort has been made to follow closely the format and terminology used at the proposal stage. In what follows, a comprehensive review of the document's sections in the form of a "typical" layout is presented.

Format and Layout of the Technical Annex

First page: Title page (centred and in bold)


Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources

Full Title

Acronym

Key Action nº and title


Second page: Table of contents (main headings, page numbers)

Third page and on

  1. Objectives and Expected Achievements
  2. Project Workplan
  3. Role of Participants
  4. Project Management and Coordination
  5. Exploitation and Dissemination Activities
  6. Ethical Aspects and Safety Provisions

1. Objectives and Expected Achievements

The scientific, technological and, where appropriate, demonstration objectives of the project must be clearly stated in a measurable and verifiable form. Vague expressions such as "several experiments will be conducted" or "the performance will be improved" should be avoided. Also to be avoided are unnecessary references to existing state of the art and bibliographic citations.

2. Project Workplan

2.1 Introduction

The section presents the overall methodology to be employed in order to achieve the objectives of the project. To facilitate the presentation, all contractors and assistant contractors are identified as they appear in the contract preparation forms.

2.2 Project structure, planning and timetable

This section comprise the following tables and diagrams:

  • Table 1: Workpackage list , presenting all workpackages (and sub-workpackages) envisaged in the project and possibly modified during the contract negotiation phase so that they reflect comments/recommendations made during the evaluation of the proposal. Graphical representations of the time dimension of all project's components- workpackages, participants, milestones and project meetings- should accompany this list (see diagrams 1 and 2 as examples).

  • Table 2 : List of deliverables A list of all deliverables by participant, workpackage, and year in the project must be included in this section. Needless to mention that the management of the project as well as the progress evaluation of the project will be based upon this list of deliverables. Items to be included in this list are periodic and final reports presenting all results and conclusions reached during the reporting period. The confidential nature of the deliverables should be specified.

  • Figure 1: Management structure , a flow-chart describing the links between workpackages and partners must be provided in order to facilitate a comprehensive overview of the project's structure. In this respect PERT diagrams would be particularly useful.

2.3 Description of the workpackages

The description of each workpackage should begin with the following information:

  • Workpackage number:
  • Phase: (for combined projects only, indicate Research or Demonstration)
  • Start date: (month in the project's duration)
  • Completion date: (month in the project's duration)
  • Partners responsible: (workpackage leader first and in bold)
  • Person months per partner and total:

Note: As it is usually the case, workpackages which comprise complex, multidisciplinary and multi-partner actions, are broken down into one or more sub-workpackages. In such a case, sub-workpackages must be numbered with a decimal indicator (e.g., 1.2 indicating the second sub-workpackage being part of the first workpackage) and described in the same manner as shown hereafter.

Each workpackage and, where necessary, sub-workpackages, should be described in reasonable detail under four headings:

  • Objectives Once again, it is emphasised that the objectives should be verifiable and quantifiable.

  • Methodology and study materials This part should elaborate on the methods and techniques, which will be employed in order to achieve the specific objective(s) of the workpackage. It should specify the number of specimen or samples to be collected, the tests or analyses to be carried out, the partner(s) involved and the need for special equipment or sub-contracting services, which are deemed necessary for the successful completion of the workpackage.

  • Deliverables Describe all deliverables, which are expected to be realised from a particular workpackage. Typical deliverables may include reports, guidelines, protocols, technical description of prototypes, scaling-up operations etc. Indicate the type of deliverables; confidential or public. Those deliverables, which will serve as input to other workpackages should also be highlighted.

  • Milestones Milestones are "landmark" results that are to be achieved during the project's life and are crucial to the successful continuation of the project and also to reliable periodic progress assessments of the project. It is important not to confuse milestones, as defined above, with workpackages or sub-workpackages. A milestone could be the amalgamation of deliverables of more than one workpackages, whereas a workpackage is merely a step towards the completion of a milestone. It is therefore possible that not all workpackages would necessarily result or lead to milestones.

3. Role of Participants

This section presents the involvement and the responsibilities of the participants in the project (contractors, assistants to contractors). For each participant the following information should be provided:

Participant number, names and address of the participating organisation
Where appropriate, specify the department or unit to be involved in the project.

Scientific team
Provide the names of team-leader and scientists to be involved in the project.

Contractual links to other participants
Specify the participant number and name of any contractor or assistant contractor with whom there is a contractual link.

Objectives
Outline the participant's role and contribution to the project's objective

Workplan
Specify the workpackages (or sub-workpackages) to which the participant will contribute. For each one of them detail on the specific RTD or demonstration actions (material and methods) which he will undertake and provide with the corresponding number of person-months required to carry them out. If sub-contractors are involved, details should be given regarding the name and type of organisation, country and type of service provided.

Note: Justification for durable equipment, consumables, sub-contracting, travel (specifically related to RTD actions (eg. field trips, sampling, ..) or any other costs incurring from your involvement in the project, should also be provided but not as part of the technical annex. Such justification will be the subject of further contract negotiations and will be annexed to the contract preparation forms. The workplan, however, should be in direct correspondence with such justification.

Deliverables
Describe in detail all deliverables, which will be provided by the participant. Include a timetable. A list of deliverables similar to that provided in 2.2 (Table 2) should be attached.

4. Project Management and Coordination

This relates to both administrative and scientific co-ordination of the project, particularly aspects such as the co-ordinator's administrative and financial responsibilities, his links with the EC administration as well as with the administration of each participating organisation. A workplan must be presented detailing the specific co-ordination actions to be undertaken during the course of the project and, in case co-ordination costs are claimed as a separate cost category, the estimated number of person-months. If the project is part of a cluster, all additional co-ordination and management efforts contributing to the cluster's objectives must be detailed.

The scientific co-ordination is, in most cases, also the responsibility of the administrative co-ordinator who may assign specific workpackage co-ordination responsibilities to other contractors. All aspects of such co-ordination efforts must be stated in this section. Particular attention should be paid to aspects concerning decision-making, communication flow between the participants and to methods and practices for quality control and progress monitoring. Plenary project co-ordination meetings should be scheduled regularly (typically twice a year) during the project's life. All meetings, workshops, conferences etc. scheduled to take place during the course of the project must be mentioned in this section. It is the co-ordinator's responsibility to timely (i.e., at least eight weeks in advance) inform the responsible EC scientific officer about scheduled meetings and their agendas.

5. Exploitation and Dissemination Activities

The effective communication of research results to the targeted audience, such as industry (large or SMEs), academics, researchers or end-user groups, constitutes one of the major challenges addressed by the Fifth Framework Programme. In light of FP5's major socio-economic orientation through the adoption and implementation of the concept of key actions, the goal of bringing tangible scientific and technological solutions to the socio-economic groups in need is of paramount importance.

This section should describe, in clear terms, how the project's deliverables, results and conclusions are to be communicated to the concerned user groups and the respective scientific community. It should not only identify the ultimate beneficiaries of the project's output but it should also define the specific means and tools used to reach this audience. Where appropriate, synergies and co-ordination with relevant ongoing projects or other actions must be sought.

With regard to exploitation, the partnership's strategy toward securing intellectual property rights (e.g. patents) or exploiting the technology should be explained and elaborated. Any agreements within the partnership or between partners and industrial end-users for further exploitation of results are particularly welcome.

The following Describe the partnership's plans for exploiting and disseminating the results of the project, in particular:

  • Will one (or more) of the partners be involved in the exploitation and what will be his role?
  • Will a consortium agreement with an exploitation plan be signed between the partners? (give a short description)
  • Will an exploitation contract be signed with external organisations to the project?
  • Will advises be taken from a consultancy firm for the exploitation of results?
  • What will be the object of the exploitation? (product, process, know-how methods, service ….)
  • Will an intellectual property plan be prepared?
  • Which type of protection is envisaged for the results? (Patent, Trade Secret, plant variety protection, trade marks, copyright…)
  • What steps are envisaged to be taken to come to full exploitation? (Market studies, Business plan, commercialisation plan, collaboration agreement, industrial development, testing, commercialisation….)
  • Is it envisaged that the project will result in publications in scientific journals, books, reports, participation at conferences with published proceedings, etc…?
  • What are the perceived obstacles for exploitation?

6. Ethical Aspects and Safety Provisions

Potential ethical implications arising from the project's implementation should be clearly spelled out. The participants commit themselves that they will abide by all principles expressed in relevant international texts or codes of practice such as the conventions of the Council of Europe on human rights and biomedicine, the UNESCO Declaration on human genome, etc.

In all cases, actions undertaken out during the course of the project must fulfil all legal or ethical requirements of the member state(s) where they are carried out. In some cases, national law requires authorisation from an ethical committee or other bodies. In this respect, all relevant national regulations (e.g. on medical research, animal experimentation) should be specified and precise references are provided. Also to be indicated are any required authorisations or approval by competent bodies.

Appropriate safety provisions must be specified, particularly those related to the deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms.

When dealing with infected material, strict safety procedures must be in place to ensure that there is no risk of transmission among species and across species and to the environment.

Where appropriate, the participants must declare that the EU (directive 93/88) and national requirements are met.

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