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ICRI-BioM Report Summary

Project ID: 664386
Funded under: H2020-EU.4.a.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ICRI-BioM (International Centre for Research on Innovative Bio-based Materials)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The ICRI-BioM project is a response to European Commission call WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014. This project responds to the work program “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation”, which aims to reduce internal research and innovation disparities within the European Union by supporting research and innovation activities and systems in low performing countries. The project addresses a specific challenge defined by the work program – namely, the presence of substantial disparities in the European Research and Innovation landscape.
Since last decade EC has observed increasing differences among Member States in terms of research and innovation performance. Among many reasons for those disparities lack of critical mass of science and insufficient number of scientific institutions on high level of excellence seemed to be the most urgent problem to be solved.
As a respond to those problems European Commission decided to start “Teaming for Excellence” competition. The aim of the call was to create high level Centre of Excellence in those countries which innovativeness level is not satisfactionary.
It was stated that by increasing number of Centres of Excellence with high scientific potential in those countries that has low factor of innovation may result in achieving slow but sustain innovative growth.
Moreover, spreading scientific excellence from more advanced countries to member states that struggle with low innovation of their economy may help those countries to overcome financial crisis that may happen in Europe. This will help those regions to become more competitive in national and international markets.
In the first phase of the competition beneficiaries in partnership with Partners of Excellence had to prepare high quality business plan for the new Centre of Excellence.

The main objective of the project is to establish the INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR RESEARCH ON INNOVATIVE BIOBASED MATERIALS (ICRI-BioM) in the Lodzkie Region, Poland, based on a strategic partnership with the institute of research and innovation excellence “Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften”, e.V. (MPG).
This long-term, broad collaboration within ICRI-BioM will allow the Lodzkie Region to:
- increase scientific capabilities and innovation performance
- improve chances for seeking competitive funding in international fora
- engage in a strategic growth path
- achieve sustainable scientific and technological excellence
- enrich the European Research Era (ERA) landscape

The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) as the research agency at national level from a low performing Member State acting as Polish Coordinator of the Teaming project in collaboration with the research Polish institution - Lodz University of Technology (POLITECHNIKA ŁÓDZKA) - together with “Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften”, e.V. (MPG) joined their forces to establish a new Centre of Excellence ICRI-BioM to become a world-class innovation, research and education centre, actively contributing to the European Research Area (ERA).
ICRI-BioM will be organized in close collaboration, active participation and support coming from multidisciplinary teaming with the Max Planck (MPG) Institutes: The Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), Mainz, and The Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (MPIbpc), Göttingen . Both partners have confirmed their willingness to collaborate for this purpose by active participation in the preparation and fulfillment of the new institution's vision and business plan for its start-up and implementation.
The mission ICRI-BioM as a new institution will be to join the expertise from the fields of chemistry, biology, and computational modelling to create a new level of biomaterial sciences. Research at ICRI-BioM will follow the engineering principles observed in the living cell in combination with the experience from the field of polymer chemistry, to design, re-design, make, characterize, control, manipulate and use new organic molecules and macromolecules, as well as hybrid organic-inorganic nanomaterials, living cells and tissues and multiscale biological systems. The results will provide insight into fundamental scientific questions as well as will be used in practical applications, delivering new solutions for bioeconomy.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The most important issues concerning project realisation were discuses during the project meetings but members of the consortium were in the constant contact through numerous video and teleconferences between the partners. During the project realisation 4 meetings was held – 2 in Poland and 2 at Germany: Kick-off meeting in Warsaw 23th June on , and 2 meetings at Łódź – 12th Januray and 23rd – 24rd May.

All the partners workout and signed Consortium Agreement in which all the tasks and responsibility for the work packages were evenly distributed between consortium members.

The activities related to the first stage of the project, were described in DoA and realised without any deviations from this document. Works were devided into 6 work packages:

Work Package 1 – Project Management and Coordination
The management and coordination of the ICRI-BioM project was arranged to ensure the smooth accomplishment of the project’s major goal - the elaboration of the detailed Business Plan ready for implementation in the second stage of the ‘Teaming’ action. Efficiency of the overall project management was achieved by a simple but effective management structure, clearly defined tasks and responsibilities of the partners, the reasonable use of resources and adequate allocation of the budget according the work plan and efficient and adequate reporting and communication with the EC.
To ensure effective menagment of the project, the Partners of Excellence, created a method of dividing responsibilities for the project realisation and include it in the consortium agreement. The fundamental deciding bodies were: the steering committee, project coordinator, project manager and work package leaders.
The Steering Committee was the main deciding body in the governance structure responsible for approving any changes to the project plan, both regarding the budget and merits. The members of the SC were the head representatives of all partners. All important changes and strategic decisions were discussed amongst the SC.
The Project Coordinator was responsible for the formal coordination of the project, communication with EC and submitting deliverables and reports. PC was responsible for the management structure and process, and the single point of contact with the European Commission, responding to the EC and any other external bodies regarding key decisions on all levels of the project realisation.
A crucial role in the project structure is the Project Manager – person responsible for the merits of the project, day to day monitoring of project progress, supervision over WP and deliverables preparation.
The Work Package Leaders were responsible for assuring successful and timely completion of work, preparing deliverables within each Work Package and coordinating work between task leaders assigned to each task.
The International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) as external, advisory committee consisting of leading researchers in the domain, industrial partners, representatives of local authorities and society as well as other stakeholders was appointed in month 3 to assess activities to improve the CoE once it is established.
This management structure ensure proper realisation of the project accordingly to the DoA. All deliverables were successfully submitted through Participant Portal and were accepted by the project officers in European Commission. Finally thanks to good management project has successfully finished phase one of the ToE competition PoE had created and submitted business plan that represents long-term vision of the new Centre of Excellence.

Work package 2 – Economic & Envirmoental Analysis; Research Plan & Innovation policy
In this Work Package PoE have analized potential socio-economic factors of establishing ICRI-BioM and their impact on the future strategy of the CoE, identified the Critical Research Issues which will be further developed in the ICRI-BioM and identified significant clusters and set out the rules of cooperation with them. One of the biggest deliverable in WP2 was the commercialization strategy, that was work out together with external company.

Work package 3 - Functional and Implementation concept of the NEW INSTITUTION
In this Work Package PoE have created the full concept for creation new CoE. It was decided that ICRI-BioM will operate as foundation under the Polish Act-Law on Foundation of April 6, 1984, based on the Max Planck Society experience and its best practices. The ICRI-BioM will be located in Lodz, and may establish branch offices and other organisation units, and if operating outside the borders of the Republic of Poland – representative offices. PoE in this WP have created complex scheme of governing and operational bodies including research structure. Consortium also work out regulation for staff recruitment & remuneration policy and assessed potential risks. As a last deliverable Logical Framework Matrix (LFM) was submitted.

Work package 4 - Legal & Administrative issues; Financial Analysis
In this Work Package PoE have described the basic procedures applied in the Max Planck Institutes that will be adopted in new CoE, they created statut of new institution, determined steps for legally establishing CoE, and created comprehensive financing plan that will provide long-term self-sustainability.

Work package 5 - Business Plan
Draft of the business plan allowed PoE to conduct comprehensive evaluation of the project realisation. Evaluation made by external company helped consortium members to improve final version of business plan.

Work package 6 - Communication & Dissemination
Dissemination activities took place, not directly, but by participation in other important actions:

1) 11.04.2016, Lodz- Head of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Poland on presentation of the project ICRI-BioM at Lodz Regional Science and Technology Park. The head of the Ministry of Science announced support for the creation in Lodz the International Research Center for Innovative Biomaterials ICRI BioM.

2) 26.04.2016, Warsaw; Małgorzata Snarska-Świderska was invited to the presentation of the ICRI-BIOM project, as a good practice of the Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014-1. It was also an opportunity to promote the project and dissemination results of Teaming Stage 1. The National Contact Point for Research Programme of EU was holding an Info Day on the Spreading excellence and Widening participation Calls in Horizon 2020. This Info Day was taking place in Warsaw on 26th April 2016, at the Institute of Fundamental Research Polish Academy of Sciences. The event was addressed primarily to research and development units, universities, science parks, technology and all stakeholders interested in the subject, as well as obtaining funding in future calls.

3) 29.04.2106, Brussels - Dissemination activities took also place during the workshop organized by Committee of the Regions and the European Commission/DG RTD with the support of ERRIN (Lodzkie region is a member of ERRIN). The project ICRI-BioM was presented as a part of regional policy by Prof. Bielecki Rector of POLITECHNIKA ŁÓDZKA during Case Study session.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Within the first phase of the “Teaming for Excellence” project Consortium Members achieved all expected impacts:

-Established a close cooperation between Polish organizations involved in planning the ICRI-BioM and excellent partner institutions. Coopration beetween partners will surly benefits in future researcha ctivities of both partners.

-Created the detailed analysis of various aspects of plans for establishing the ICRI-BioM, including the existing local resources, availability of highly qualified staff, already existing strong points (specialized research fields, unique experimental techniques, people), local needs with respect to innovation fields, industry branches, development and education, correspondence of the project with the local and national development plans. On that basis business plan was created and submited to the EC at last week of may. Before that bussines plan was evaluated by the external company. Bussines plan will be esencial tool for future creation of the new entity.

-Appointment of a new legal entity (Centre of Excellence), which applayed to the Phase 2 of the Teaming project.

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