Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

EERASE2 Report Summary

Project ID: 613170
Funded under: FP7-ENERGY
Country: Italy

Final Report Summary - EERASE2 (EERA SEcretariat 2)

Executive Summary:
The aim of the project is to support the activities of the Secretariat of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). Organised in sectoral Joint Programmes (JPs), EERA is the largest network for low carbon energy research in Europe. Bringing together more than 175 organisations from 28 countries, EERA has been a cornerstone of the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) since 2008, and a key actor for coordinating European energy R&D. Its main mission is to accelerate technology development in support of the SET-Plan, by pooling research efforts across Europe. EERA Joint Programmes represent a coordination platform for research organisations which share a common research agenda, voluntarily committing themselves to align to the SET-Plan goals research resources and programmes carried out at the national level. EERA currently runs 17 Joint Programmes covering research in materials, technologies and systems, including policy and social aspects, with a shared European vision and a common strategic planning.
To support EERA the development and strengthening of EERA, activities of the project have been structured into 7 Work Packages, which can be grouped into two main axis:
1. Internal operations and management, aiming at supporting both EERA decision bodies in the strategic direction of the network, and Joint Programmes in their development and operations;
2. Promotion of links and collaboration with stakeholders, aiming at better liaise EERA with key actors, such as industry, SET-Plan actors, public and community research at large.
Among the results achieved within the operational and managerial support, it is worth mentioning, first of all, the contribution to the re-organisation of the EERA governance structure through the establishment of a legal body (EERA AISBL) and the approval of the related Statutes and Internal Rules. This activity endowed the EERA network with a new governance structure, aiming at better managing activities whilst ensuring a broader impact of its initiatives. As a complementary activity, the Secretariat supported the governing bodies in the preparation of the EERA Strategy and Implementation Plan 2015-2020, which defines the directions for the strategic development of the network in the mid-term, in order to better fulfill its mission. The document is the result of concerted efforts of all EERA bodies and members (and, in particular, its Joint Programmes). In parallel, thanks the input of EERA members and the support of the Secretariat, two new Joint Programmes has been launched (one in the field of energy efficiency in industrial processes and the other in the field of energy system integration), thus addressing two additional important topics within the SET-Plan agenda. Finally, in order to improve the reporting capabilities of JPs, a JP reporting tool has been developed in the course of the project, as well an IT platform for the sharing of IP assets.
As regards the relations and collaboration with stakeholders, strong efforts have been invested in three main areas:
1. Communication activities: the consortium arranged 3 EERA annual congresses, developed and revamped the EERA website and created a LinkedIn profile, produced periodic newsletters, organized workshops in collaboration with JPs for the exchange of good practices and discuss on how to tackle common policy and research challenges.
2. Knowledge sharing: through the development of the IP Repository and Web Showcase, the consortium aims at supporting IRP/JP participants in the management of their Intellectual Property (IP) assets, as well as in promoting the results generated by each IRP/JP towards external stakeholders, in view of their exploitation.
3. Relations with stakeholders: the agreement signed with EUA/EPUE and the support to the provision of inputs and feedback to the SET Plan Integrated Roadmap and Action Plans by the EERA JPs are concrete examples of the EERA involvement and commitment in the SET-Plan key initiatives.

Project Context and Objectives:
The overarching aim of the project is to run the Secretariat of the EERA (European Energy Research Alliance). EERA was established in 2008 through the initiatives of 10 leading research organisations in Europe. Since then the network has been closely embedded within the European SET Plan strategy, and it makes an integral part of it, representing the “research pillar” within the SET Plan stakeholders. Aim of EERA is to coordinate research activities in the field of applied energy research in Europe, in particular through the alignment of national research priorities, as well as the integration and the implementation of joint research activities among the research organisations of the different MS.
Today EERA brings together over 175 organisations from 28 countries and runs 17 Joint Programmes whose activities are aligned to SET Plan priorities. Therefore it plays a central role in delivering research and innovation contributing to the Energy Union pillar on research and innovation.
Since its establishment, the alliance undertook an evolution process affecting all aspects (size, operation, governance) with the purpose to better accomplish to its mission and goals, turning from a network to a structured organisation. In particular, the scope of the alliance get wider in the course of the years, till covering a wide spectrum of topics falling under the SET-Plan. This evolution required also a change in its governance model, through the establishment of a formal body allowing all its members to be represented and to commit efforts and activities in view of the implementation of its strategy.
As a result, with the creation of the EERA Aisbl and the signing of its Statutes and Internal Rules, main bodies within EERA, established in the course of the project, are (Figure n.1):
• The GENERAL ASSEMBLY, which is the supreme governing body of the EERA. It is composed of representatives of all the Members and is responsible for the most important decisions, namely those concerning the approval of the budget, the membership fees, the annual report of activities, the appointment of the Executive Committee, the change of the Internal Rules, etc.
• The EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (ExCo), which is the EERA strategic planning body, composed by 15 members. It also in charge of the relations with European Commission and the EU Member States on EERA policy and development. The ExCo is supported by the Personal Representatives, who are in charge of discussing and preparing, together with the Secretariat, the decision to be taken by the ExCo.
• The JOINT PROGRAMMES (JPs), which are strategic collaborations between major research organisations forming so-called “virtual centres of excellence”. In the JPs, research organisations join institutions from other European countries to develop shared agenda and priority setting, as well as plan joint activities and run common projects.
• The EERA SECRETARIAT, which takes care of the day-to-day management of EERA, as well as the support and liaison with all EERA bodies and main stakeholders.

Figure 1 - EERA bodies

The main objectives of the EERA Secretariat activities in the course of the EERASE2 project can be summed up as follows:
• to provide support to the strategic decision process within EERA, as well as the planning of future activities; in particular, such support is addressed to ExCos, PRs and General Assembly. Such objective includes the support provided to establish the EERA Aisbl and to define priorities and key actions to be carried out in the coming years (and formalised in the EERA Strategy and Implementation Plan);
• to support the development of the JPs, help them in tackling issues like internal JP management and strategic planning in line with EERA vision and rules, inter-JPs relations, knowledge transfer, financing. At the same time such an exercise entails the need to periodically evaluate (as well as, continuously monitor) the JPs and their performances, in order to assess how the development process is proceeding and, where necessary, suggest corrective actions;
• to ensure that updated information about EERA is available to all interested stakeholders and to continuously engage to constructively influence the policy framework at the national and EU level;
• to strengthen EERAs position as a recognised stakeholder in the field of European energy research and research policy, via the promotion of links with third parties (i.e. SET-plan bodies and the EU member states, European stakeholder organisations, strategic partners from countries outside EU).
The EERASE 2 project builds on the results achieved and the experience gained through the FP7 EERASE project, which has already supported, over the period 2010-2013, the activities of the EERA Secretariat. While the previous project was more focused on the growth, structuration and internal management of the network (and in particular, on the launch of the first Joint Programmes), the EERASE2 project included activities aimed at consolidating the network (including its governance), as well as strengthening (and, where necessary, establishing) links and collaboration with external stakeholders. The project run a combination of activities, coupling the support to internal operations and strategy development and implementation together with concrete activities in the fields of relations with key stakeholders, knowledge transfer and communication.

Project Results:
Project results can be grouped into two main categories:
1. Internal operations and management, which concerns results aiming at: supporting EERA bodies (Executive Committee, General Assembly, Personal Representatives) in the management and strategic planning of the network; supporting Joint Programmes (JP) bodies (coordinator, management board, steering committee) in JP operations and development strategy, ensuring an alignment with the directions and decisions of EERA ExCo and General Assembly.
2. Promotion of links and collaboration with stakeholders, which concerns those results derived from the interaction of the project with external stakeholders, as well as those addressed to an external audience.
Results and/or achievements, grouped according to the two categories above, are detailed as following:

INTERNAL OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT:
3. Establishment of EERA Aisbl; drafting and approval of EERA Statutes and Internal Rules (WP1): after its establishment in 2008, EERA experienced a dramatic increase in the number of members and in the breadth of activities and initiatives being planned, managed and run (financial budgeting, dissemination and get-together events, support and strategic advices to JPs, liaison with SET Plan actors, relations with industry etc.). In order to start a transition towards a professionally managed network, the process for the creation of legal entity in charge of managing the operations of the network was launched in 2012.
It took a two year-work to outline a governance structure which could effectively cope with the manifold issues/needs of the network: a constantly increasing number of Joint Programmes and members; the need to ensure members´ commitment and active involvement; the need to lay down the basis for a consistent development of a financially sustainable network.
The drafting exercise of the legal document and related negotiations to reach consensus required EERA Secretariat a considerable effort in terms of time and energy. EERA Statutes and Internal Rules were formally approved on the occasion of EERA Aisbl incorporation (on 8 April 2014). The establishment of EERA Aisbl was then completed through registration on 12 June 2014. As a result, the EERA has now a stable legal and organisational framework, with clear rules and governance bodies, thus facilitating the decision-making and, above, all, the development of a long-term development strategy. With the AISBL, the governance structure ensures representation of all members whilst maintaining streamlined decisional process. Most relevant strategic decisions are taken by the General Assembly, which represent all EERA members, while the Executive Committee is responsible for the strategic planning and directions, through the support of the Secretariat, which act as liason between Joint Programmes and EERA decision and strategic bodies.
4. EERA Strategy and Implementation Plan 2015-2020 (WP1): The document outlines the strategic vision of the Alliance and it is meant to set out the EERA Aisbl future direction with a five-year horizon, projecting the association towards 2020. Basing on what EERA has already achieved so far, and building on the lessons learnt on the way, the document clearly identifies pathways and actions to be undertaken to reach the objectives stated in the strategy. The Secretariat actively supported the process, organising the consultation exercise within EERA (in order to give voice to all its members and Joint Programmes on vision, priority setting and actions to be taken), and the launch of working groups. Finally, the Secretariat coordinated the drafting of the documents, together with the EERA task force on Strategy (composed of representatives from the ExCo and JPs).
5. Reports on horizontal cooperation between JPs (WP2): these annual Reports, drafted by the Secretariat, aimed to analyse and monitor the links and level of collaboration occurring among the EERA JPs. Such collaboration, which concerns technical as well as non-technical aspects, has strengthened over the time, and the analysis was meant to give account of the main factors fostering collaboration as well those hindering exchange and links among JPs. Such an analysis was in parallel supported by active and continuous efforts to stimulate a more frequent and interactive dialogue between JPs, through joint workshops for sharing views, practices and tools, with the aim of generating more inter-JPs initiatives and outcomes.
6. Creation of 2 new Joint Programmes (WP2): the EERA Secretariat actively contributed to and supported the establishment of two new Joint Programmes: JP Energy System Integration (ESI) and JP Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes (EEIP), in order to cover the spectrum of the research priorities in the SET-Plan. The action of the Secretariat was mainly devoted to accompany the process of launching the new JPs. At first, contribution consisted in supporting JP participants on the establishment of a core group of JP “promoters”. Secondly, in the preparation and drafting of their respective DoW (Description of Work), ensuring that those were in line with EERA rules and practices, aligned to the SET-Plan. In this exercise, the Secretariat supported the JPs in addressing relevant ongoing policy developments in the field, also involving external members in providing contributions. Finally, the Secretariat supported new JPs in presenting their Research Agenda to the EERA ExCo for approval.
7. JP Reporting tool (WP3): it is meant as a tool to streamline and simplify the reporting activities of the JPs, and in particular:
• The drafting of the JPs’ research agendas (the so-called JPs’ DoWs)
• The annual report of the JPs about the activities and results achieved
The tool entails a section to be used for the review of the JPs (the review exercise is planned to start a new cycle in Spring 2016). By accessing this section, reviewers are enabled to access all relevant support documents of the JPs and can easily submit their comments (thus the tool facilitates the reporting work of the reviewers, too). The tool has been developed by the Belgian company “56k”, under the specifications provided by the EERA Secretariat (see Deliverable 3.4 for a description of the tool). The project consortium is the owner of the tool, therefore economic rights (copyrights) pertain to the whole consortium.
The tool is now in the testing phase and is expected to be used starting on September 2016.

PROMOTION OF LINKS AND COLLABORATION WITH STAKEHOLDERS
Within the results originating from the second group of activities (“promotion of links and collaboration with stakeholders”), we can list:
8. EERA Communication strategy paper (WP4): overall aim of the strategy is to present a clear view of what EERA is and how it functions, and build on this to promote EERA at both national, EU and global level. Main goal is, first to ensure an overall consistency in the message EERA is communicating to the outside world, both visually and in content. Secondly, such strategy aims at actively influence the policy context EERA relies on, in order to promote the alliance’ interests in support of the SET-Plan goals. The Secretariat provided a first version of the strategy and two additional updated versions in the course of the project.
9. EERA Annual Congress (WP4): the EERA Annual Congress is the opportunity for the EERA community to present its achievements to the energy community at large (institutional stakeholders, research, industry and investors). In the course of the EERASE2 project, the Secretariat organised 3 annual conferences (18th/19th April 2013; 9th April 2014; and 30th April 2015), each followed up by a report. Those events represented valuable occasions to discuss and reflect with stakeholders (European Commission, MS representatives, industrial associations and clusters, companies, research organisations) on policy priorities and initiatives in the energy field, and on how research and innovation can effectively contribute to their impact and success.
10. EERA Website, EERA LinkedIn profile, EERA Newsletters (WP4): EERA website (www.eera-set.eu) has been completely re-designed and launched in July 2014. The new website design and updated logo have been followed up by a review of the graphic identity of EERA on all communication platforms. At the same time, the Secretariat opened the EERA LinkedIn profile, which aims at providing to stakeholders timely and updated information on EERA activities, energy R&D as well as policy issues in the sphere of interest of the Alliance (https://www.linkedin.com/company/eera---the-european-energy-research-alliance). The EERA Secretariat also started an activity of periodic information targeting EERA members and interested stakeholders on the alliance’s activities by means of a periodic newsletter, conceived as the house organ of the alliance. Under the frame of the EERA Communication strategy, the layout of the EERA newsletter has been revised, as well as the content, now including, besides updates on activities, an opening editorial by the EERA Executive Committee and pages for contributions by stakeholders.
11. IP Repository and Web Showcase (WP5): The repository is an instrument that aims at helping Integrated Research Programme (IRP) and Joint Programmes’ participants to manage the Intellectual Property (IP) assets developed within respective IRP/JP. It contains the description of relevant IP assets (Foreground and Background), documents and deliverables, which can be uploaded, “attached” to a document of Foreground/Background, stored and made available to the IRP partners in a selective manner. Furthermore, IRP/JP participants are enabled to easily express their interest by requesting access rights, being the related granting procedure recorded and tracked by the platform. The Repository is accessible only to participants of an IRP or a JP – i.e. only IRP/JP participants are allowed to upload/download documents, submit requests to access an asset etc.
The Web Showcase represents the public front-end of the IP Repository, and it is used to promote externally the results generated by each IRP/JP, as well as other (complementary) IP assets owned by the IRP/JP participants. It is also used to foster indirect exploitation of the IP and to list technology profiles containing the description of results, their main features, domain of application, IPR status etc. IRP/JP participants can also indicate the type of partner they are looking for (depending on the maturity stage of each result) in order to advance their development. The showcase aims at presenting and disseminating all the opportunities stemming from EERA IRPs/JPs. Whilst only IRP/JP participants are allowed to manage the IP asset, adding documents, text, images etc., the information is visible to third parties on the web.
Both tools (which are accessible through the same web interface: http://app.eera-set.eu/ecm/) have been developed by the French company “LGI”, under the specifications and instructions provided by the EERA Secretariat. The project consortium is the owner of the tool, therefore economic rights (copyrights) pertain to the whole consortium.
12. Support to the provision of inputs and feedback to the SET Plan Integrated Roadmap and Action Plans (WP6): the Secretariat has been involved, since the beginning of the project, in ensuring a proper involvement of the EERA Joint Programmes in providing inputs to the drafting of the SET-Plan Integrated Roadmap. EERA was represented with one representative in the Steering Group and three experts in three Working Groups, who have been actively supported by the Secretariat in their work. Most recently, following the starting of the consultative process on the new Integrated SET-Plan launched by the EC, the Secretariat supported the JPs in replying to EC SET-Plan issues papers. In particular, the Secretariat took care of keeping JPs informed and updated about the process, identified the JPs interested in the concerned topic/s, monitored the preparation of the input paper/s, promoting the delivery of contribution in collaboration with third parties. The input papers produced until 1st February 2016 concerns Key Actions 1, 2, 3 and 4. The Secretariat ensured that the concerned JPs replied to the call for inputs in a timely and consistent way, in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders. A total of 6 input papers have submitted with the contribution of EERA JPs for the 4 key actions, and namely the contribution by: JP CSP, JP Wind; JP E3S, JP Smart Grid and JP Energy Storage; JP Smart Cities.
13. Memorandum of Understanding EERA-EUA/EPUE (WP6): the agreement formalises the collaboration between EERA and the European University Association (and in particular with its platform operating in the energy field: the European Platform of Universities Engaged in Energy Research - EPUE). The cooperation between EERA and EUA-EPUE takes place at the following levels:
• First of all, each organization participates in the key high governance meetings of the other. On the matter, EUA-EPUE has the Status of Observer in EERA PRs and ExCo meetings, while EERA is Observer in the Steering Committee of UNI-SET project.
• Secondly, EUA members are involved in EERA Joint Programmes and collaborate in the typical JP activities including performance of research, knowledge exchange, workshops, preparation of joint project proposals etc.
• Thanks to the MoU, collaboration includes activities aiming at coordinating positions and arranging joint EERA-EUA/EPUE initiatives (in the field of mobility and trainings).
The Secretariat actively contributed to draft and negotiate the content of the agreement. It is now in charge of monitoring the status of the MoU and related activities falling under it.

Potential Impact:
In the course of the project, the EERA Secretariat managed to achieve most of the objectives of the project itself. A number of Key Performance Indicators have been monitored in the course of the project; they provide an overview on the “quantitative” performance of the different WPs (see Table n.1). In particular, those KPIs covers key aspects of the works carried out under the different WPs. The table indicated the results achieved in the first half of the project (M18) and at its end (M36) i.e. cumulative results of the projects.

Table 1 – Project Key Permance Indicators (KPIs)

The project impacted on two main aspects:
• Evolution of Joint Programmes: even though Joint Programmes and their activities fall under the planning described in the EERA SIP, results and progress achieved so far deserve a dedicated section. JPs are in fact the key operative tool of EERA and are core target in EERA Secretariat activities. One of the main aims of EERASE2 was to support the development of the JPs, helping them in tackling issues like strategic planning, internal JP management, inter-JPs relations, knowledge transfer, financing, while at the same time assessing their performances.
Thanks to the support of the Secretariat (i.e. through EERASE2 project), the following results have been achieved:
- Joint Programmes have been actively supported in their operative and strategic development. This represents an important step towards a sustainable business model for each JP. As each JP has to tackle issues specific to their sector and technology domain (as regards internal management, Intellectual property management, knowledge transfer and relation with industry, financial sustainability etc.), one solution does not fit all. The role the Secretariat played was, therefore, also to drive JPs to reflect on strategic issues and develop a tailored vision functional to their further development. The contribution provided by EERASE2 was determinant in the direction of well-functioning and self-sustained JPs. Those efforts pushed JPs to: better identify shared priorities; invest resources to structure a well-running portfolio of joint R&D which comply to the needs of MS and industry; establish effective links with industry and key stakeholders (in terms of representation of interest in the JPs, contribution to the preparation of the research agenda, collaboration in the R&D activities, knowledge sharing).
- Enhance cooperation between JPs: this aspect contributes to both the development of the JPs and to the overall goals of EERA. Such an exercise has the goal of minimising overlapping and valorising synergies and, ultimately, it shall contribute to make JPs more effective in achieving the expected results avoiding an undesirable silo-effect. The “synergies” aspect between JPs has been addressed and required particular efforts in the course of the project.
- Project activities on IP management and knowledge transfer had a manifold impact. Firstly, they raised the awareness and competences of JPs on the matter and pushed JP efforts in better dealing with the management of IP assets, functional to an effective sharing of knowledge within JPs. A number of JPs made use of the IP support services offered by the EERA secretariat which help them in overcoming issues related e.g. to joint IP ownership, access rights, IP protection and, at the same time, provided support to better conceive strategic approach for the exploitation of research results.
- The project contributed to the active involvement of the JPs in shaping the SET Plan Integrated Roadmap and the related Action Plan (i.e. replying to the SET Plan issue papers on the SET Plan Key Actions). Such an exercise pushed JPs to be in general more actively involved in providing inputs and contributing to the discussion on policy aspects, as witnessed by the thematic policy workshops run in the course of the last year of the project.
- the Secretariat actively supported and encouraged JPs in establishing and improving contacts and collaboration with stakeholders from third countries. The number of international partners collaborating with JPs strongly increased in the course of the project.
• Ensuring a good communication flow with key stakeholders: ensuring transparent and regular information about EERA results towards a large stakeholder group has been a priority of the communications strategy. Communication activities have been addressed mainly by WP4. Key targets of the activities were the European Commission, the Members States and the other actors in the SET-Plan. The EERA website (www.eera-set-eu) was one of the key channels to deliver messages and information to the stakeholder community at large. It was then complemented and reinforced by EERA presence on social media (LinkedIn). Messages conveyed so far included review reports and key achievements of the Joint Programmes (JPs), outcomes of EERA workshops and newsletters covering EERA results and developments and designed as information source for the general public.
Events were another key channel to communicate achievements – in particular:
- the annual SET-Plan Conference where EERA has contributed with presentation and/or panel discussions and/or side events
- the EERA Annual Reception, targeting mainly EU decision makers and external stakeholders;
Information on EERA developments and results – including success stories – has been updated on a regular basis and included in the EERA general communication materials (flyers, brochures...) and in messages and presentations tailored to specific targets and developed on an ad hoc basis.
Activities also aimed at strengthening internal communication and synergies within EERA. Feedback mechanisms to address the communication needs of the EERA internal stakeholders have been developed via ongoing activities (e.g. discussion at JPC meetings) and via the direct support and discussion between JPs and EERA Secretariat.

As regards EXPLOITABLE RESULTS, two are the main ones produced in the course of the project that need further efforts for their promotion and wider uptake:
1. JP Reporting tool: it is a web application supporting the reporting and the review of JPs. The tool has been developed by the Belgian company “56K” under the instructions of the EERA Secretariat. Currently all the project participants (i.e. ENEA, VTT, DTU, HGF, CEA) are owners of the economic rights on the tool (the tool is copyright protected). Once the testing phase is over, the project partners will transfer the economic rights over the tool to the EERA Aisbl which will first take care of making it adopted by all the JPs and, after an exclusive use by EERA JPs (until the end of 2017), it will be promoted to external stakeholders for adoption through licensing. Such period will also allow to fix bugs and improve the tool features.
2. IP Repository and Web Showcase: it is a web application made up of two main “layers” for managing IP assets and promote solutions and collaboration opportunities to external stakeholders. Both tools have been developed by the French company “LGI”, under the specifications and instructions provided by the EERA Secretariat, with the feedback of JPs. The project consortium is the owner of the tool, therefore economic rights (copyrights) pertain to ENEA, VTT, DTU, HGF, CEA. The exploitation steps planned by the consortium are the following:
a) The agreement with the IT provider “LGI” foresees that the company can utilise the source code in other applications, mentioning the contribution of EERA to the development. This agreement will ensure that the source code will be further developed and adapted to different needs.
b) LGI will take care of the maintenance of the tool for the project consortium.
c) The project will transfer the economic rights over the tool to the EERA Aisbl, which will take of its promotion to EERA members.
d) Stakeholders (out of EERA) interested in using the tool as such in their projects shall be licensed the use and the access of the tool by the EERA Aisbl.

List of Websites:
Project website: www.eera-set.eu

IP Repository & Web Showcase website: app.eera-set.eu/ecm/

Contact

Salvatore Amico Roxas, (Technologist)
Tel.: +32 25120448
Fax: +32 25122468
E-mail
Record Number: 189385 / Last updated on: 2016-09-14