NEST stands for New and Emerging Science and Technologies. It is an EU initiative under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) that supports visionary research projects, assesses new discoveries and focuses on highly challenging objectives in science and technology (S&T). Through its project partnerships, NEST furthers the goals of the European Research Area (ERA), increasing the competitiveness of the EU in numerous S&T fields. The EU-funded project 'Dynamics of research partnerships for NEST performance' (DYREP) investigated the partnership dynamics among different research partners under the NEST initiative. The team members wanted to understand how partners get along and how partnership decisions and consortia dynamics influence outcomes and participation in EU projects. Armed with such knowledge, DYREP was able to formulate tools, methods and incentive strategies to manage the research and evaluate the projects, both before and after being undertaken. This was intended to affect policymaking and redesign of instruments for the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), ensuring more effective funding of projects. DYREP assessed the human dynamics in projects in relation to overall performance, such as conflicts, partners leaving, partners being isolated etc. A study of the dynamics during and after the project was also undertaken. Results revealed that most actors were highly satisfied with the human dynamics in general and with the coordinators in particular. Armed with these results, the project team proposed a new method called RADEN to detect future challenges under the FP7 research theme on cooperation of 'Socio-economic sciences and humanities'. This was intended to also help identify and mobilise stakeholders and policymakers for projects, as well as uncover emerging obstacles, understand scientific challenges and study the competition. In short, projects such as DYREP have the potential to make future research programmes more effective and build better partnerships to ensure project success.