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FEAST Extension, Enhancement and Demonstration project

Final Report Summary - FEED (FEAST extension, enhancement and demonstration project)

Executive Summary:

The Forum for European-Australian Science and Technology cooperation (FEAST) is dedicated to facilitating effective research cooperation between Europe and Australia. FEAST is hosted by The Australian National University (ANU) on behalf of the entire Australian research and innovation community. The unit plays an active role in facilitating European-Australian research and innovation cooperation via a two-pronged approach:

1. informing the evolution of public policies and funding arrangements that impact upon international research and innovation cooperation; and
2. formulating effective strategies toward international research and innovation cooperation at the institutional level (in universities, research agencies, businesses and non-government organisations) and advising on tactics at the individual group or team level.

Since its launch in 2001, FEAST has defined and promoted a model for international research cooperation facilitation units that have been rolled out on a wider scale by the EU. As FEAST has evolved it has also informed the evolution of this wider network of international research facilitation bodies.

The 'FEAST extension, enhancement and demonstration' (FEED) project marked a significant new phase in this developmental process. It has made significant progress in its aims of defining and demonstrating new, more strategic and policy-related approaches to fostering international research and innovation systems.

The project has pioneered the application of a suite of methods and technical tools designed to lead to more effective decision-making over European-Australian research cooperation. This included carrying out analyses using quantitative indicators of research and innovation performance in order to map collaborative activity and to inform the policy community of the benefits arising from support for international research collaboration.

FEED has delivered a number of significant innovations in the way that FEAST fulfils its mission. The most noteworthy of these are:

1. bibliometric studies to highlight areas of opportunity for international collaborationand to develop tools suitable for use by policy makers;
2. story-driven surveys that examine core motivators for international collaboration and highlight best practice strategies for engagement;
3. a series of discussion papers and opinion editorials to inform and educate key decision and policy makers;
4. purpose specific partnerships to deliver targeted workshops across a range of different actors in the research ecosystem; and
5. notions of interoperability as it relates to the ability of national research and innovation systems to link and participate in global effortsand how this relates to reducing the costs and risks associated with both national as well as international activities.

In addition to these new capabilities, the FEAST website has continued to serve as a significant global resource for information about international collaboration. This is clearly articulated by the high number of visitors to the website, averaging around 40 000 unique visits per calendar month.

The outputs from the project have been utilised and cited by numerous organisations, including the European Commission, the Australian Government, the Chief Scientist for Australia, the European Research Counciland the Australian Academy of Science. In particular, many discussions in Australia regarding international collaboration in a broad context refer to FEAST both as a key element in this landscape as well as for its important and unique knowledge-base and expertise.

Project Context and Objectives:

The European Union's (EU) Lisbon Agenda sought seeks to enhance Europe's competitiveness in an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable manner, by facilitating knowledge-based economic development with a strong emphasis on research and development (R&D) as a driving factor. This means that the types of R&D encouraged should be environmentally and socially 'aware'. Consequently, the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) explicitly seeks to support and encourage these sorts of R&D and demonstration (RD&D) activities. This results in large consortium-based projects that address major concerns and challenges in addition to research and innovation opportunities.

From the European perspective, research engagement with Australia is an opportunity to enhance the process of achieving the Innovation Union and the Lisbon Agenda by:

1. diversity - drawing upon expertise, data, research facilities/instruments and geographically-specific research assets not available in Europe, this includes access to geographically specific attributes that Europe does not possess (e.g. position in the southern hemisphere, deserts and different flora and fauna);
2. commonality - augmenting the pan-European RD&D effort with relevant Australian capability in order to further exploit the advantages of scale and scope in RD&D.

The past work of the Forum for European-Australian Science and Technology cooperation (FEAST) on the benefits generated for Europe has highlighted these two distinctive conduits for enhancing the Lisbon Strategy. In some projects Australian participation has provided the key ideas and methodologies upon which the project was based - and the Australian researchers were invited to participate on that basis. In other cases Australian researchers have provided data or analytical techniques that were not available in Europe at that timeand which stood to make a significant contribution to the overall project. Indeed, FEAST has also identified cases in which difficulties in obtaining matched funding to support Australian participation meant that European research teams faced time delays and higher costs than would otherwise have been the case because they had to 're-invent' analytical techniques that already existed in Australia (e.g. in bio-medical research).

FEAST is explicitly encouraging Australian researchers to develop and communicate clear and verifiable 'value propositions' that specify the nature of the assets, both tangible and intangible, that Australia is able to contribute to European RD&D projects. FEAST is also working to increase the research engagement deal flow between Europe and Australia by helping Australian researchers to articulate the value proposition - allowing them to weigh up the benefits they are likely to obtain from participation in European projects against the transaction costs of supporting this collaboration. Consequently, the major impact that FEAST now stands to contribute to the realisation of the Lisbon Strategy's objectives is to reduce the risk that European research misses out on the potential 'additionality' to European RD&D provided by Australia.

Given the growing prominence of major global challenges in mitigating potential trade-offs between economic growth and environmental and social acceptability (climate change, energy security, water security, environmental degradation, health and disease) the scope for exploiting this additionality is growing. This is reflected in a strengthened interest by a number of governments, including Australia's, in prioritising international engagement in RD&D around these global thematic issues.

The FEED project has provided a significant extension and enhancement to the capability of FEAST. The underpinning rationale for the project was that mutually beneficial science and technology cooperation between Europe and Australia was to be enhanced by providing coherent evidence-based answers to the following key questions:

1. Why collaborate? - Defining collaboration value propositions: Clarifying the nature and extent of the likely benefits to be obtained relative to the costs, including identifying the range of cost-benefit configurations that exist. This is important because it helps to stimulate a vibrant collaborative community willing and able to collaborate because they are clear about both the advantages and the costs.
2. What to collaborate in? - Defining thematic priorities for collaboration: The world faces major global challenges and emerging new opportunities both of which require a scale and scope of research, development and demonstration activities that are beyond the resources of most individual nations. Better information on the distinctive research capabilities available in Australia relevant to these challenges and opportunities will facilitate efficient and effective international cooperation in these important areas. It is also important to provide an agile capability to more quickly to scope out the potential for cooperation in emerging research areas.
3. How to collaborate? - Assessing and recommending strategies and tactics: Actually conducting effective collaboration usually involves choices within a sequence of events. There are also important issues to consider when deciding upon collaboration with researchers in different European nations. Assisting researchers to make better decisions by collating and sharing information on strategies and tactics helps to maximise the quantity and quality of European-Australian research collaboration.
4. Who should collaborate? - Providing advice appropriate to different career stages: The international mobility of researchers is linked to collaborative behaviour. Different career stages involve different opportunities and constraints regarding mobility and collaboration. Consequently, it is important to tailor advice on why to collaborate, what to collaborate in and how to collaborate to the distinctive concerns found at different stages in a research career.

The set of six work packages (WPs) in this project provided answers to these key questions. In so doing, the project demonstrated an enhanced capability for facilitating science and technology cooperation between the EU and Third Countries. This demonstration effect has been assisted via cooperation with other international cooperation (INCO) projects during the life of the project.

The overall objectives of the project activities were to:

1. maximise the likelihood that opportunities for attractive and feasible research cooperation exploiting Australian capability of use to Europe are exploited effectively, and;
2. maximise the likelihood that Australian researchers can exploit attractive and feasible cooperation opportunities with the far larger European research, development and demonstration effort.

The specific objectives for each WP that underpin these aims are listed below.

Extension I: Thematic Collaboration Roadmaps (WP2)

1. Provide key information on those aspects of major thematic areas in which Australian RD&D capability is competitive.
2. Enhance the levels of transparency and rigour that can be applied when defining consensus priority areas for RD&D cooperation between Europe and Third Countries.
3. Increase the likelihood of these competitive Australian RD&D capabilities being recognised in EU FP7 work programmes and other strategic plans (including those of EU Member States and other European nations).

Extension II: Liaison (WP3)

1. To manage all of FEAST's external relationships effectively by providing sufficient targeted resources to enable a smooth inward and outward flow of information and knowledge.

Enhancement: Best Practice Strategies and Tactics (WP4)

1. To maximise the benefits and minimise the risks associated with European-Australian RD&D cooperation by defining and disseminating appropriate decision-support information.
2. To enhance the breadth, intensity and effectiveness of RD&D collaboration between Europe and Australia.

Demonstration I: Impact Monitoring System (WP5)

1. Design, develop and demonstrate a software-based method for tracking research engagement across the full life cycle from initial concept/opportunity through to collaboration outcomes.
2. Provide a transparent and auditable means of demonstrating FEAST's additionality with regard to facilitating European-Australian research cooperation.
3. Pilot a generally applicable software system capable of tracking the evolution of bilateral research engagement deal flows and assessing the impact of research collaboration facilitation units.

Continuity: Established Activities (WP6)

1. Continue to develop the FEAST website by providing timely information and enhancing its utility.
2. Continue to extend the scope and coverage of the on-line database of collaborative projects.
3. Continue to provide helpdesk support.
4. Plan and deliver catalytic activities in response to emerging opportunities.

These objectives have supported the strategic intentions in the EU and of the Australian Government with regard to science and technology cooperation by:

1. providing information relevant to the bilateral discussions held via the Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC) - contributing to the maintained momentum of this important forum;
2. supporting bilateral dialogues over science and technology cooperation between individual European Member States and the Australian Government.

The approach summarised above was explicitly designed to support the scientific and technological (S&T) agreement between Australia and the EU, particularly with regard to:

1. mutual benefit based on an overall balance of advantages, and;
2. reciprocal access to research undertaken by each party.

This has been achieved by the combined impact of the Thematic Collaboration Roadmaps and the Best Practice Strategies and Tactics WPs.

The Thematic Collaboration Roadmaps were developed to provide policy-relevant information on the mutual benefits to be obtained from intensified research and innovation collaboration on major challenges for both Australia and the EU. Providing policy-makers with this sort of information helps to demonstrate mutual benefits. To this end the project has drawn upon and used extensive bibliometric data possessed by the host institution on patterns in joint Australian-European research publications. The work undertaken on Best Practice Strategies and Tactics was aimed at encouraging reciprocal access to research by directing collaborative efforts along the most productive avenues.

Project Results:

During its 50 month lifespan, the FEED project has delivered a number of significant innovations in the way that FEAST fulfils its mission. The most noteworthy of these are: bibliometric studies; story-driven surveys; discussion papers and opinion editorials; purpose specific partnershipsand notions of interoperability. These elements are each discussed below in further detail.

Bibliometric studies

One of the key activities of the FEED project, Thematic Collaboration Roadmaps, was originally intended to highlight areas of research collaboration strength and potential between Australia and Europe primarily through surveys and topic-specific workshops. However, early in the project the FEAST team was integrated into a group at The Australian National University with strong competency in bibliometric studies. This group, the Research Evaluation and Policy Project (REPP), had access to unique and significant bibliometric datasets.

Given this development, it was decided to shift the focus away from the anecdotal methods of surveys and workshop, to the more robust quantitative analysis offered by bibliometrics.

FEED activities focused on developing methodologies for probing bibliometric dataand analysing the results, as they pertain to international collaborations between Australia and Europe. in addition to Australia's other key research partners, particularly United States of America (USA) and China.

Using bibliometrics also removed the restriction of having to prioritise analysis to a limited number of research fields, as would have been the case with surveys and workshops.

Work proceeded by conducting a broad mapping of the overall structure and performance of the Australia-European collaborative research relationship by identifying both bilateral and multilateral collaborations. The methodology for carrying out this work, together with results on bilateral versus multilateral research collaboration was described in the first of FEAST's Discussion Papers.

Three major FEAST Discussion Papers on the thematic roadmapping work were published between 2009-2011. These are described below.

FEAST Discussion Paper 1/09, A Bibliometric Analysis of Australia's International Research Collaboration in Science and Technology: Analytical Methods and Initial Findings

This paper presented the initial findings from an exploratory bibliometric analysis of Australia's international collaboration in science and technology. It focussed on:

1. Assessing the methodological challenges faced in comprehensively mapping Australia's S&T research activity from an international engagement perspective;
2. Suggesting solutions to these challenges;
3. Providing some policy-relevant findings.

Most of the analysis in the paper relates to counts of publications in different research fields and in a limited number of different combinations of national authorship, together with the relative citation impact (RCI) associated with these publications.

RCI compares the number of citations per paper with the relevant world average or median (as appropriate). RCI tells us the extent to which a group of publications deviate, upwards or downwards, from the median or the average citation rate for that field of research.

In the analysis there is a particular emphasis on examining how different clusters of international collaborative activity affect RCI performance. The clusters chosen for analysis involve Australian scientific research papers and co-authorship clusters between the USA, Europe and the EU.

It was found that most of the growth in Australia's research publications is associated with international collaboration rather than purely domestic efforts.

The proportion of Australian with international co-authorship has increased from almost 21% in 1991 to over 44% of total publications in 2005. The output of internationally collaborative papers is growing at almost double the rate of purely domestic papers. The volume of international collaboration increased significantly after the 1990's.

The RCI by major research fields of science were examined. The findings show that bilateral collaboration between Australia and Europe is associated with higher citation rates than are achieved by publications with no international co-authorship. Furthermore, in most major research fields' multilateral collaboration involving Australian, Europeanand USA-based co-authors is associated with higher citation rates than bilateral cooperation alone.

FEAST Discussion Paper 2/09, A comparison of Australian and EU research performance profiles

This paper put forward a simple decision-support framework for understanding the risks and rewards associated with bilateral research collaboration and provided key data on ranked national citation performance by major fields of research together with a standard pay-off matrix for the EU27 versus Australia, utilising RCI as the measure of comparative capability.

The picture that emerges for the Australia-EU27 relationship is that most research fields lie in the borderline areas with an RCI of between 0.9 and 1.1 but with a significant number of fields in which Australia has clear strengths and the EU27 exhibit borderline performance.

However, closer examination of the data reveals that Australia may have the most to gain from enhancing its S&T cooperation with the smaller EU member states in the 'greater' Scandinavian region (the core of these countries plus geographical neighbours). If combined with Canada and the USA, cooperation with this subset of EU nations could provide the basis for productive multilateral cooperation in areas of key policy importance for Australia.

FEAST Discussion paper 4/11, Reconciling Quality and Quantity

This paper built on the methodologies of the previous two papers to demonstrate the combining of key indicators in order to better inform policy discussion. It extended the concepts by applying several measures at once in order to demonstrate more clearly, from a broad country-level perspective, those countries with which Australia gains a comparative advantage by collaborating. This technique allows for policy-makers to target only those countries that provide a clear justification for doing so, in particular by combining quality measures with output volumes.

In particular, the paper demonstrated a new metric, dubbed the relative significance (RS), which combines a country's RCI with that country's publication output as a percentage of the total global output.

Such a metric allows for clear demonstration of where a country's quality is significantly higher that the global average, and/or its total output volume contributes a significant proportion of global output.

It was found that Australia could best achieve pull-up opportunities from focusing bilateral attention primarily on the European science powerhouses of France, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK)and secondly on Italy, the Netherlands and Denmarkand thirdly on Spain and Sweden. Looking multilaterally the EU-27 still shows a compelling pull-up capability.

Outside of Europe it is obvious that the USA is an attractive partner country, as are Canada and China.

Story-driven surveys

The FEAST unit is the oldest of the BILAT unitsand hence has a strong sense of the issues and motivations for research collaboration between Australia and Europe. However, until the FEED project there was little empirical data to support this understanding. A short survey undertaken during the previous project, FEAST II, largely confirmed the superficial understanding of the issues. This survey led to a realisation, however, that behind each collaboration was a unique story that could be drawn upon to reveal information that was previously not obvious from an outside perspective of the collaboration.

The primary motivation for conducting a more detailed survey during FEED was to draw on the experiences (positive and negative) of a large number of Australian researchers engaged in FP7 in order to develop a comprehensive and sound set of strategic recommendations that could be used to optimise future collaborations.

Rather than a simple questionnaire, the FEED project developed the notion of a 'guided interview'. A detailed set of questions was prepared with a number of quantitative elements that formed a basis for discussion. Interviewers, however, allowed the participants to tell their own story, in their own words, of the factors that they felt were important and significant to the collaboration. Responses were then codified, where appropriate, in order to be able to aggregate some statistics across the large number of interviews.

By allowing researchers to tell their own story ensured that the issues that they felt were important were highlighted. As opposed to many other surveys where the questions, by definition, force participants to provide answers to pre-defined notions of important issues.

The results of the process, described in FEAST Discussion Paper 3/10, Stocktake of Australian engagement with FP7, were remarkable. Whilst a number of previously understood issues were confirmed, a great deal of new information was gathered. This included the revelation that approximately 70% of Australian participants in FP7 had been misled or misinformed regarding the nature of their engagement with FP7 (including eligibility, funding, status, IP issues, etc.).

Another interesting finding was that FP7's reputation for being an overly bureaucratic programme was overestimated by most participants.

The (limited) possibility of obtaining EC funding, or dedicated Australian funding, was not a primary motivator for becoming involved. Far more compelling were the benefits of:

1. synergies - to exploit economies of scale and complementary expertise;
2. access - to obtain privileged access to knowledge, facilities, people, results and methodologies, and;
3. relationships - to establish or further professional relationships and networks.

The following best-practice methods for Australian participants were deduced from the stocktake results and augmented with FEAST's experience:

1. Seek expert advice outside of the consortium. For example, FEAST staff, research office or other support networks. Involve local research managers from the very beginning of the proposal.
2. Select projects and consortia carefully, look at the FP track record of the coordinator.
3. Know your position of strengthand the value you bring to the consortium.
4. Be clear on what you will get out of your participationand what the costs of participation will be.
5. Create a fall-back position where you can maintain a level of participation without the need for additional external funds. If your participation does require additional funds, prepare for a potential time lag between the beginning of the FP7 project and the receipt of appropriate funds from Australian sources.
6. You should not need to be involved in any financial reporting (unless you are a WP leader and/or you received funding from the EC for this project).
7. After the proposal has been evaluated retrieve the evaluation reports from the project coordinator.

Discussion papers and op-eds

FEAST has traditionally circulated information about its activities and findings via newsletters and reports. However, as it became apparent that more people amongst university management and government policy were taking an interest in the work of FEAST it became important to disseminate via other target mediums. In particular, this has included discussion papers and opinion editorials in the mainstream and professional media.

The discussion papers, of which seven have been produced during the FEED project, were all developed based upon the input and needs of the relevant actors in government and funding agencies. The topics of these papers varied, but generally focussed on communicating the results of other FEED activities (bibliometrics, symposia, surveys).

These papers have received broad circulationand a number of them have been often cited by leading international organisations (e.g. Chief Scientist of Australia, Australian Academy of Science, the British Council, etc.).

Purpose specific partnerships

In the past FEAST has delivered seminars and workshops to researchers via liaison with university research offices. This has worked well when delivering content specific for researchers (e.g. how to access mobility schemes and funding opportunities). However, during the first part of the FEED project these types of seminars were not attracting the desired target audience. A number of factors were at play here. The FEAST team have now concluded that a comprehensive roadshow of InfoDays aimed at researchers around the country may not be required more often than every two to four years. By the last 12 months of the project, the interest from researchers had built up across the country againand there was a substantial increase in the numbers of seminars given and the numbers of researchers they attracted.

While the researcher cycle was in its downswing, in an effort to continue to deliver content to relevant participants, FEAST decided to take a slightly different approach, which resulted in excellent exposure.

A series of workshops was developed in conjunction with the Australasian Research Management Society (ARMS), focussed on delivering information relevant to research managers, business developersand other key research administration personnel.

These seminars were an overwhelming success, with excellent engagement and feedback from participants. In the months following these seminars, FEAST noticed a significant increase in the level of detailed and targeted enquiries from across the Australian research community (as well a number for Europe). Previously, most queries were of a more general nature. These new queries came through as a direct result of local research managers understanding the nature of the support available from FEASTand hence referring more questions to FEAST.

Notions of interoperability

One of the continuing struggles of Australia researchers wishing to become involved in FP7 projects is the requirement that (in most cases) they source their own funding. The available domestic funding sources in Australia (primarily through the Australian Research Council) are somewhat flexible, but their rules also provide unique challenges when trying to integrate the Australian project into a FP7 project (notably the timeframe).

This common scenarioand range of complexities, led FEAST to begin discussion on ways that different national funding systems could more easily operate together in order to fund international research initiatives.

During the previous project, FEAST II, the FEAST team floated the idea of a Standard International Research and Innovation Cooperation Agreement (SIRICA). This was to be a standard legal template that would enable research teams from different countries and with different funding sources to quickly and easily link their projects together. Whilst the idea was generally well received, it has not yet gained any meaningful traction in the marketplace.

Hence, during the course of the FEED project, the FEAST team realised that there was an opportunity to bring together like-minded people from around the world to discuss these issues. The general topic of discussion was termed 'interoperability', which refers to the ease of transparently conducting research across and between funding systems across the globe.

A significant symposium was organised, in partnership with The University of Queensland, that brought together some key players in this space: policy makers, university administrators, facilitators, consultants, funders, diplomats, etc. A number of special keynote speakers were invited from Europe and North America, in order to facilitate a truly global debate.

Some simpleand cost-effective, solutions to better enable different research systems to become more interoperable with each other include:

1. learning from other major issues of international significance, such as telecommunications, air traffic control, nuclear safety, financial management systems, etc., which have been made explicitly interoperable out of necessity and offer exemplars of the scale of international agreement and coordination possible when nations agree on priority issues;
2. highlighting deficiencies in national funding programmes when they hamper international collaborations. This includes better definitions of success and impact, reducing red tape (despite increasing compliance requirements)and increasing the availability of funds for international collaborations;
3. involving major research bodies with the development of international standards and agreements relating to research and research systems (such as the Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI) initiative being led by Canada);
4. encouraging and supporting the international exposure and connectedness of research managers, science policy bureaucratsand other actors at the interface of research and government, in order to gain better understanding of the best practice initiatives in this area, as well as the genuine challenges that can be addressed through practice and policy changes;
5. identifying mechanisms that will support local innovation gain access to the global knowledge marketplace, hence supporting governments in making decisions regarding the distinction between the types of research that will be supported domestically and regionallyand the types that will be sourced from, or shared with, international partners;
6. encouraging and supporting researchers to become involved with major international initiatives and programmesand provide feedback and input to those schemes to enable greater international interoperability;
7. encouraging and supporting civil society, including scientific unions, to coordinate and advance research efforts whilst opening science and innovation policy to other sectors, including science diplomacy, and;
8. continuing to provide support for early career researchers to develop international professional networks, in order to build relationship capital with international participants.

Participants at the symposium all agreed that the topic was timelyand that the content was very useful and practical. Detailed discussion points and outcomes are presented in FEAST Discussion Paper 6/11, The case for interoperability in global researchand in FEAST Discussion Paper 7/11, From interoperability challenges to syncing opportunities: a pathway to global research.

Potential Impact:

Two key impacts have arisen from the FEED project. Firstly, via the tools and results that were developed as part of the projectand secondly via the support that the project has delivered to researchers and research organisations regarding their engagement with FP7. These areas are detailed in the following subsections, along with descriptions of some of the key dissemination activities.

The tools and results that were developed as part of the project have since been utilised and cited by numerous organisations. In particular, this has included the European Commission, the Australian Government, the Chief Scientist for Australia, the European Research Counciland the Australian Academy of Science.

Most significant of these has been the project's bibliometric work, the results of which are often cited as demonstration of the increasing internationalisation of science. Charts and methodologies from a number of the project's Discussion Papers have been reproduced in various government reports and trade publications, including the following:

1. Health of Australian Science, Chief Scientist for Australia, 2012
2. Australian scientist: global leaders, international rising stars, Focus Publishing, 2011
3. Australia's International Research Collaboration, Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Innovation, 2010.

The project's report on the results of its stocktake of Australian involvement in FP7 has also been widely cited, particularly by European bodies as a best-practice example of how to conduct such studies. In particular:

International Cooperation Activities of the Seventh Framework Programme, Capacities Programme - Interim Evaluation Report of the Expert Group, European Commission Directorate General (DG) Research and Innovation, 2011.

We believe that the project has pioneered usage of the terminology 'interoperability' as it applies to international links between national research funding systems. During her keynote speech at The Inaugural Asia Pacific Science Policy Studies Research Conference in Wellington, New Zealand in February 2012, Helga Nowotny (President of the European Research Council) stated that 'the biggest thing for the science world to focus on is interoperability'. Subsequently, the terminology has also been used by the Canadian initiative Consortium for Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information (CASRAI)and as a central topic of the BIC Workshop on the Cross Domain Coordination of International Cooperation - BIC is a FP7 project in the information and communications technology (ICT) domain.

From the first FP7 InfoDays that FEAST conducted in 2007, to the latest briefing sessions on Horizon 2020, FEAST has observed a significant increase in the level of sophistication in Australian research actors' approaches to engaging with these programmes, in part due to the design and delivery of these InfoDay workshops.

As a result of relatively subdued support for InfoDays early in the FEED project (2008-2010)and the findings of the project's stocktake of Australian involvement in FP7, the FEAST team have developed a series of targeted workshops designed to penetrate the superficial rules for third country involvement in FP7 and explore more pertinent and strategic matters relating to Australian participation. The development of these workshops have been supported by the EU Delegation in Canberraand the Australasian Research Management Society (ARMS).

Feedback from these events consistently demonstrate a high level of satisfaction from participants. Follow-up support with individuals and institutions further demonstrate the improved level of strategic approaches being taken towards engagement with FP7.

The FEAST staff are now regularly invited to present such targeted workshops at institutions around Australia (as well as at several events in Europe)and are consulted by key executives in a number of large research organisations in Australia.

One anecdotal measure of the success of these events is the relatively high success rate of FP7 proposals that include Australian partners. The overall success rate has varied from year-to-yearand is approximately 15 to 20%. Project proposals that include Third Country participants generally have a success rate close to this average. Proposals with high-income Third Country partners, however, display greater success rates, noting that proposals with Australian partners offer one of the highest success rates of all, at between 30 to 35%.

We attribute this success rate largely to the high level of sophistication displayed by the Australian partners, who must consider the relatively high barriers to participation, especially the tyranny of distance from Europe. Hence, Australian participants more often than not articulate clear strategic benefits for becoming involved with FP7and tend to consider involvement with strong consortia that offer significant added value.

The most accessible medium for the FEED results and outcomes is the FEAST website. This number of monthly visitors to this website is surprisingly high, given the nature of the project, at approximately 40,000 visits per month. This, however, includes subscribers to FEAST various RSS feeds (particularly the feed on funding opportunities), which account for a significant portion of these visits (over 30%).

Given that the FEAST website has been in place for over a decadeand that the site maintains content from this entire period, it is therefore understandable that there would be a large number of other web resources that link to FEAST pagesand hence help to drive traffic to the website.

One key section of the website is the entire catalogue of project Discussion Papers, opinion editorials and other writings.

According to website statistics the FEAST Discussion Papers have been downloaded over 13 000 times, with Discussion Paper 1/09 accounting for 40% of these downloadsand Discussion Paper 3/09 accounting for 20%.

Over the life of the project FEAST has delivered a range of presentations to a total audience of approximately 2,000 individuals. The formats of these presentations has included conference presentations, workshops, seminarsand roundtable discussions. Participants have come from a variety of backgrounds, predominantly researchers and research managers. Other participants have included policy makers and bureaucrats, diplomats, administration and business development staffand private consultants.

List of Websites:

The project's main website is http://www.feast.org/. Further information about FEEDand requests for support in deploying the results and expertise generated from the project, should be directed towards the former Executive Director of FEAST, Dr Rado Faletic (rado.faletic@montroix.com).

The sole project partnerand project coordinator, of this project was The Australian National University (ANU), located in Canberra, Australia. Co-funding was provided by the Australian Government via the International Science Linkages programme.

The Australian National University thanks the following staff members who have directly contributed to the success of this project:

1. Dr Mark Matthews
2. Dr Rado Faletic
3. Jean-Francois Desvignes-Hicks
4. Dr Merrilyn Fitzpatrick
5. Kerrie Glennie
6. Olivia Wehnolz
7. Ashvini Munindradasa.

Thanks also go to the key individuals who have contributed to and overseen the key activities and outcomes of project:

1. Armand Beuf, European Commission, DG Research and Innovation
2. Dr Tarik Meziani, European Commission, DG Research and Innovation
3. Mary Finlay, Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE)
4. Nikki-Lynne Hunter, Delegation of the EU to Australia
5. Professor Lawrence Cram, The Australian National University (ANU)
6. Professor Adam Graycar, The Australian National University (ANU)
7. Dr Joanne Daly, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
8. Toss Gascoigne, Toss Gascoigne and Associates
9. Donald Kenyon, former Australian Ambassador to the EU and to GATT/WTO
10. Dr Miriam Goodwin, Goodnews Marketing and Communications
11. Dr Marcus Nicol, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
12. Simon Sedgley, Australian Research Council (ARC)

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