Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Changes to the Guide for Proposers

The Guides for Proposers for the Fifth Framework Programme have been altered in response to user feedback. The changes, which were introduced in December 1999, have largely simplified procedures and ironed out areas of confusion.

The guides are divided into two parts. The fir...
The Guides for Proposers for the Fifth Framework Programme have been altered in response to user feedback. The changes, which were introduced in December 1999, have largely simplified procedures and ironed out areas of confusion.

The guides are divided into two parts. The first contains general information common to all thematic programmes, as well as a section on programme-specific information (priorities, objectives, specific participation rules etc.). The second part is different for each programme, and contains a mixture of general, programme-specific and call-specific information necessary for submitting a specific proposal.

Proposers will note changes to certain financial aspects of the forms, in particular to the administrative allowances. These followed complaints from SMEs that some aspects were difficult to understand.

The text in some areas has been made shorter and easier to understand, and acronyms have been introduced to describe the thematic priorities in place of numbers to avoid transcription problems. In addition, country codes for Fiji, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the Palestinian Territories have been altered in line with political developments.

The forms have also been produced in a lighter shade of grey, in response to protests from participants that the forms were too black and printing them out was using up whole ink cartridges.

All changes are scheduled to be updated on the ProTool system for the electronic submission of forms. Registered ProTool users will be informed by e-mail when this has been completed. All users must ensure they have downloaded the latest version.

'These changes were made because of experience with the first calls,' said a source close to the guides. 'The changes resulted principally in a matter of fine-tuning and clarification, but they involved a lot of work. Becoming simple is a big job.'

Feedback was gathered from the frequently asked questions (FAQs) put to the programme information desks and national contact points, from the evaluation panels, and from mistakes made by proposers. The new guides should hopefully reduce the rate of three per cent of proposals which are ineligible, according to one Commission official.

A new innovation being developed for the Guides for Proposers are the web-based guided tours, currently available for the growth and life programmes. These interactive guides can be accessed via the Internet, providing proposers with user-friendly information at the same time as filling in the forms. Once established, these tours will be available via each programme's web service on CORDIS.
A Commission official involved in their development said: 'The programme is very complicated because there are so many different actions. Each of these measures refers to specific parts of the work programme or specific forms, so it is not so easy to understand. These tours should guide proposers through the process, and hopefully take the pressure off the information desks.'

The changes referred to in this article should remain in place until the end of the Fifth Framework Programme, provided no additional problems are encountered.

'We didn't want to change things dramatically because that is confusing,' said a Commission official. 'The forms are not that complicated once you have used them once, and we want them to stay that way. We hope these new guides will be the final version for the duration of FP5.'

However proposers should note that aspects of the programme-specific sections, in particular the list of research activities covered, will change with the annual revisions to the work programmes. Proposers should therefore always consult the most up-to-date version, available on CORDIS.

Source: European Commission, Research Directorate-General

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