CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Mobilizing institutional reforms for better R&I systems/institutions in Europe

Final Report Summary - MIRRIS (Mobilizing institutional reforms for better R&I systems/institutions in Europe)

Executive Summary:
The Europe 2020 strategy foresees future Europe built on the grounds of the competitive knowledge-based economy, the advanced research and innovation performances. EU 13 countries are lagging behind in the effectiveness of exploiting EU funded R&D&I programmes hence they are encountering significant challenges in meeting the Europe 2020 objectives.

MIRRIS (Mobilising Institutional Reforms in Research and Innovation Systems) is a supporting action aimed at encouraging a better exploitation of European research and innovation programmes and a larger participation in the European Research Area (ERA) of the EU12 countries plus Croatia.

Since June 2013, MIRRIS activated 39 policy dialogue in EU 12 countries and Croatia and 13 coaching exercises. More than 800 stakeholders participated to the action, 85 national ministries were involved. The 39 Dialogues contributed to identify barriers, prioritise actions for a better participation to the European research area and mobilise synergies between H2020 and ESIF.

MIRRIS helped to identify numerous R&D&I roadmaps, which addressed the challenges and gaps discussed. However, none of them was close to the implementation phase with an argument of difficulties in reaching out the common agreement with other national institutional bodies involved.

Project Context and Objectives:
MIRRIS as a supporting action funded under FP7 Social Science and Humanities Programme aimed to encourage a better exploitation of European research and innovation programmes and a wider participation in the European Research Area of the EU12 countries (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) plus Croatia. MIRRIS addressed the challenges that the EU 12 countries and Croatia are facing by providing them with an extensive policy learning exercise to identify barriers, solutions to improve the research eco-system and agree on concrete actions. The methodology underpinning the MIRRIS project was based around a series of policy dialogues as displayed in Figure 1. To begin the project, an extensive period of secondary data analysis was undertaken to create a profile document for each EU13 country. These reports provided a detailed overview of the various quantitative data available with references to R&D&I and participation in ERA funding programmes, as well as other broader socio-economic characteristics. These were used not only to gain an in-depth understanding of the countries being investigated but were also used as a basis for discussion at the first policy dialogue meeting. These meetings were led by project consortia members and involved a wide range of stakeholders (from policy makers at different levels of governance, national contact points, universities, etc.) in order to discuss issues affecting ERA participation, and following-on from this conduct a policy gap analysis. The policy gap analysis results were subsequently used as the foundation for discussion in a second round of policy dialogues with stakeholders in order to develop potential strategies and actions for enhancing participation and which could be implemented. The outcomes of these discussions were then used to produce a ‘suggested’ roadmap for each country, based on prioritised challenges in each national context, and becoming the focus of discussion for the third policy dialogue meeting, where the roadmap was refined. The result of this process was the creation of a series of bespoke ‘road maps’, the implementation of which is intended to increase participation in ERA in the future, providing practical suggestions to overcome key challenges experienced in different EU countries.

Figure 1: MIRRIS Policy Dialogue Structure

1.2.1. Roadmapping for EU 13

Three rounds of stakeholder dialogue completed through the MIRRIS project has revealed a complex landscape of barriers and challenges to fostering greater EU13 participation in the European Research area. These barriers can be organised into a typology comprising three broad groups:

1. Personal/motivational: For example: lack of interest in the topics addressed in R&D&I calls, little willingness or enthusiasm amongst researchers for taking responsibility for an FP7/H2020 projects.
2. Structural: For example: low economic reward/ incentives; lack of attractiveness of FP7 funding in comparison to ERDF funding or other national or bilateral schemes; geographical disadvantages, instability of national funding mechanisms; limited national R&D&I budget; fewer researchers rated internationally as ‘excellent’; low representation of foreign researchers; weak supporting infrastructure.
3. Organisational: For example: weak capacity for drafting good proposals; limited recourse to National Contact Points (NCP); difficulty in breaking into/joining existing ‘excellent’ consortia comprising EU15 partners; no leverage on diaspora; no sectoral focus or strategy to support FP7 stakeholders; weak involvement in European networks.
While the set of issues faced in each country will be embedded in the national context, and the complexities of specific institutional arrangements and activities, a broad set of nine common challenges can be identified:

i. Understanding benefits for participation to FP7/H2020
ii. Research excellence promotion
iii. Mobility of researchers, talent circulation
iv. Innovation drive and market oriented research
v. Brain drain
vi. Skilled human capacity
vii. Involvement of private sector in ERA
viii. ESIF H2020 synergy
ix. Evaluation system
The above noted challenges are the key priorities identified for the country with an aim to endorse recommendations to improve participation in the ERA, which are further elaborated in the list of proposed actions, aligned with potential implementing actors, timeline and key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor impact. These nine challenges have been selected on the basis of input from national stakeholders during the three cycle policy dialogues. This unique MIRRIS methodology supplemented analysis based on input from national stakeholders with desk research and outreach activities.

1.2.2. MIRRIS peer to peer coaching

The objective of the peer to peer coaching was to facilitate and speed-up the take up of key of priority actions identified throughout the policy dialogues. Coaching involved the key actors selected during the third policy dialogue round to ensure the right level of participation and foster cooperation throughout different intervention levels.

The MIRRIS approach envisaged that coaching is as pragmatic and operational as possible in order to allow the participants to be able to quickly understand the critical factors and design and deliver the measure at the base the action. Ideally the activity should not later than 3 months after the coaching session took place.

MIRRIS approach for coaching focused on the following elements:

Needs and expectations of the beneficiaries of the coaching session Detailed presentation of a successful experience by the coach
• Actions
• Methodology
• Means
• Do's and don'ts Common recommendations for the transferability in the national and organizational context for the host organization Roadmap design and milestones. Content identification by the trainees and the MIRRIS team

The coaching covered the following topics:

■ Starting up an EU research support
■ Implementation of synergies ESIF-H2020
■ Establishment of Technology Transfer/TTO office
■ Mitigation of brain drain and ageing researchers
■ Lobbying and gaining visibilty in Brussels
■ Internalisation of science
■ Bbusiness plan and business model in SME instrument and collaborative projects (RIA, IA, FTI)
■ Establishment of professional NCP network
■ Competitive proposal writing

During the 3rd cycle of MIRRIS dialogues national stakeholders were very hesitant in taking ownership over the priorities and actions identified. Coaching made the ownership challenge even more evident. Despite the aim of the coaching was explained during the 3rd cycle of MIRRIS dialogues and the individual preparatory sessions with each of the hosting organisations, in the majority of the EU 13 it was not possible to overcome the passive mode of participants and switch their mode from listeners into practitioners.

On one hand, the participants were hesitant to express their point of view in potential conflict with their superiors as they did not get their prior permission. On the other, participants did not want to get out of their “comfort zone” and wanted to take part in yet another workshop, which was not the format of the MIRRIS coaching.

The issue of poor management and lacking professional skills was highlighted almost on every occasion during the coaching on behalf of different research related participated entities. According to them, in majority of cases, the lack of proper management skills is the biggest obstacle towards implementation but is also a barrier for an individual motivation.

It is important to emphasize however, that there were countries that were “exceptions”. Smaller countries, such as Slovenia, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia have demonstrated again their willingness and readiness for the change and committed a “task force” to the further development and implementation of the selected measures.

Stakeholders from 11 EU Member States stated that, if they would have a chance to receive the MIRRIS coaching for a longer period of time, that would result into faster adoption and implementation of their action plans as well as into improving of professional skills and building of the needed knowledge base.

Tailored made peer to peer activities, resulted also very much relevant from the perspective of cultural exchange, change of mind-set, creation of potential partnerships and opportunities. Such an approach could contribute to giving a boost to the countries and helping them to make a step forward toward building more competitive EU research profile.

Project Results:
1.3.1. Lessons Learnt
During MIRRIS we collected a wide set of feedback from the dialogues. They provide a snapshot of how the EU12 and Croatia (EU13) perceive their participation to FP7 and H2020 programmes and more in general on their perception on their participation to the ERA.

EU 15 are perceived as “fierce big brother” that are utilising all the benefits of the ERA based on the funds and the infrastructure built at the time the conditions were more favourable. According to the EU 13, these enabling conditions at the time the countries entered European Union, helped them to progress and built the excellence that is now hard to compete. EU 15 are felt as “closed club of EU excellence” that is inviting EU 13 to join their consortiums when observed that participation of EU 13 could increase the chances of EU 15 to be awarded with the project(s) they have applied for and not for their “value”. When “more favourable conditions” for EU 15 are noted, it seems to be forgotten that EU 15 have much less structural funds at their disposal which, on the other side, EU 13 are utilising and heavily depend on for a number of years already.

All the EU 13 stakeholders encountered during the dialogues addressed low salaries and disparity in between the range with salaries of EU 15 as the biggest obstacle for their participation to the R&D programmes. This issue of inequality of the salaries was found also as the major factor that is influencing the brain drain phenomena in EU 13. The absence of an adequate reward system for the ones participating to the ERA and H2020 is another big obstacle for motivating R&D actors to apply to such programmes.

Brain drain and ageing researchers is a raising concern for the EU 13. Again, the issue of low salaries, inability to offer the attractive research landscape environment and reward incentive compering to EU 15 has been considered the major driver to this phenomenon. The overall opinion of the EU 13 is that they are unable to compete with the conditions offered by EU 15, which will always be very attractive, in particular to young researchers, thus they consider this trend being inevitable.

It is important to highlight that each of European Member states is responsible for its own national research and innovation system. The structure, the strategy and the vision behind it is up to the national governments and the relevant bodies in charge of science and innovation to develop. EU 13 countries still preserve science and innovation as marginal fields. A strategic vision of investing in R&D is still not a priority.

Exploitation of research results is not perceived as the ultimate goal, acknowledgement and a reward to strive for. Researchers in EU 13 are committed to the teaching from 80-100% of their time since their respective national status prescribe this as an omit. Participation to the ERA and H2020 is considered burdensome, too much efforts invested into proposals with an “inevitable” result, and moreover, this is considered an additional commitment outside of the regular working scope.
The allocation of resources based on competitive funding and excellence was highlighted as the factor that would contribute to a positive change and to the mitigation of brain drain. On the other side the current attitude of researchers is not ready yet for such reform.

EU 13 countries gave priority to European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) over central managed ones with an explanation that participation to ESIF is administratively less burdensome, it does not require quest for international partners nor good English skills.

Synergies between ESIF and H2020 are not considered strategic. They are perceived as a mandatory requirement by the European Commission. MIRRIS observed that EU 13 are establishing new departments within the national ministries to deal with the synergies. However, remains the fact that the implementation of synergies in practice is still a “mystery,” thus making an investment into such departments questionable. Another outstanding issue is the ability to hire skilled and experienced personnel that would be able to carry out the related activities effectively.
If the research efforts rely on ESIF and the country is not successful in applying for H2020, why to put so much effort on creation of synergies? Furthermore, synergies with other available research and development funds is often not considered at all.

The SME instrument revealed another bottleneck of EU 13: the inability for SME’s to compete in this particular excellence niche. The cut 2 phase showcased again that countries that are leaders of research excellence in EU 13, such as Slovenia and Estonia are also successful in terms of number of awarded projects under the SME instrument scheme. MIRRIS observed how the above noted countries, alongside with the national investments into the research and building the excellence on the climate of competition are making significant efforts into strengthening of the innovative SME eco system and in general, bridging of the gap in between academia and business sector.

Smaller countries of EU 13 such as Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Slovenia appear to put efforts on the creation of an enabling ERA ecosystem. These countries are very perceptive of the potential disadvantages they are encountering being smaller and somewhat isolated countries and chose to work on niches of excellence and leveraging on the R&D&I framework considering important the internalisation of the research excellence.

Having that said, and for the number of reasons already above noted that such as lack of climate of competition, motivation of researchers to participate to the ERA and/or H2020, the gap in cooperation in between business sector and academia is significant and hard to overcome. In majority of cases, academia and business sector shall be “innovation injected” in parallel in order to build the eco system alongside with developing the human capacity with the common understanding of how science, innovation and business are strongly interlinked and only if supporting each other, the collaborative learning process shall result in commercialisation and reaching out to markets towards building up of an excellence niche.

The lack of vision of the importance of “global markets” as far as R&D is concerned is a significant obstacle preventing EU 13 to set a policy framework that would correspond to the potentials of their R&D actors. The ESIF investments in R&D&I are still strongly focused on the regional dimension and on the updating up the physical infrastructure without a long-term plan on how to exploit and market it.

Within the 2014-2020 ESIF programming period, the EU 13 countries are considering to integrate some capacity building measures, however, majority of countries reported that a significant percentage of previous investment in research infrastructure will have to be written off due to the fact that it was not utilised and by now it is already outdated. When capacity building measures are considered, synergies were not taken into account as an option to explore.

Collaboration among different players and synergies among different financial schemes is looked as competition. The inter-sectorial collaboration is considered from the perspective of synergies in between ESIF and H2020, as competition. Gathering of different national authorities at the same table that in reality do not meet, became a common practice for MIRRIS.

Only few of EU 13 countries are utilising research mobility and fellowship programmes to the full extent with an aim to facilitate the international collaboration, building of partnerships and transfer of know-how for its researchers, and moreover, at the institutional level to use this as an opportunity to attract inward research talent through the transnational collaboration. This is a very valuable incentive for the local researchers as well as for the institution they are coming from, as the experience and network brought in will most certainly be of the mutual benefit.

The importance of involvement of scientific diaspora has been recognized by EU 13 as one of the solutions for turning “brain drain” into “brain gain”. The countries are drafting the measures and strategies with an aim to attract the scientific diaspora back to the countries. However, these countries do not know their diaspora in a sense to well understand the conditions and the terms under which their involvement would be secured in a strategic and sustainable way. Countries did not make an effort in creating a national database of this profile and this should have been the first step.

Another key element is the visibility of the single country excellence and the active participation to European networks and associations. During the dialogues it became evident that EU 13 countries are not taking the part in the relevant EU networks and moreover, they did not recognize the value. MIRRIS showed how an active participation to the EU networks matters as the few organisations that exploited such networks were awarded with more EU projects. More projects result in additional partnerships, more funding, better conditions and increased know how. All of this creates more motivation and ultimately visibility and appreciation at international level.

National stakeholders in EU 13 were in most of the cases responsive and supportive and the participation to the dialogues showed a raising trend. However, the issues of governance and the hierarchy in some countries were more important to respect and follow, then the content and the objective of initiative itself. In the presence of superiors, the participants were not feeling comfortable to speak and share their views, thus they would approach MIRRIS representatives via email after the dialogue in order to share their arguments.

When it was time to prioritise the challenges, even though the selection was coming out from their discussion, participants were not keen to take the position and asked MIRRIS to do it instead. The same attitude was present during the coaching activity. Countries approached this exercise as another workshop lecture with too many invitees, instead of the first step toward implementation of priority actions.

Coaching made evident that proactivity, intended as readiness to take over ownership of the selected actions and taking actual steps towards implementation, is not existent. The challenges and obstacles for participation to the ERA and H2020 were always outspoken, but solutions for bridging the gap, even when identified and facilitated through peer coaching were not been taken with an approach that would manifest the act and willingness to make an effort towards a change.
1.3.2. Importance of cultural factors
Beside the issue of the relative excellence of researchers, research teams and research infrastructure of EU 13, there are many cultural factors, beliefs and behaviours that the EU13 stakeholders will have to overcome before they will be in a position to successfully compete or be considered as equal partners by the EU 15 research community.
Those factors are related to:
Unrealistic claims or expectations
a) EU 13 partners should have the same wages as the one in EU 15 when implementing H2020 projects. This does not take into consideration that:
▪ EU grants cover real costs (salaries) not figurate ones;
▪ Wages (salaries) are decided by national legislations or by the single institution (and their level reflects the policies of the employers);
▪ Wage differences with EU 15 make EU 13 competitive for FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).
b) EU 13 Member States are net contributors to the H2020 budget. Why don't they have the right of a "fair return"?
▪ What about a similar claim from EU 15 for the ESIF budget?

EU 13 stakeholders seem to have developed a “victim syndrome”
a) EU 15 Member States have too much influence on the design of the H2020 programme, its priorities and the calls' objectives.
▪ Not a single stakeholder during the three round of MIRRIS dialogues did not propose that EU 13 Ministries of Science shall join forces to adopt common positions on critical priorities for the EU research community.
b) EU 15 excellent research organisations are working together in close partnership/cartels. They are not open to the newcomers from the EU 13.
▪ During MIRRIS dialogues it was never highlighted the opportunity to organise marketing campaigns to promote the EU 13 excellence in the EU 15;
▪ Why not to advertise the new investments made in research thanks to ESIF investment? Budgets are available for such activities, if this is a priority, of course.
b) EU 13 research organisations are small and have not the critical mass of competences and manpower to challenge the one coming from EU 15.
▪ How about joining forces within the country or with other EU 13 colleagues?
▪ These two opportunities have been suggested by MIRRIS but, strangely enough, it was always stated that collaborations already occurred.
c) EU 15 stakeholders benefit from the EU 13 brain drain.
▪ In none of the MIRRIS dialogues stakeholders from EU 13 highlighted the strategic role the diaspora can play as bridgehead/ambassador of a single country excellence. The EU 13 did acknowledge the importance of involving diaspora but without a clear provision of their roles, the measures to attract them or notion of importance of their contribution in the future.

EU13 stakeholders are taking the easiest way to ensure their financial sustainability
a) ESIF (ERDF, ESF) are perceived as a quicker way to finance projects than the access to EU funding.
▪ Those funds have less constraint in terms of language, networking, leadership,...
▪ There is no reflexion regarding synergies between ESIF and H2020 programmes and on how to use ERDF budget as an investment to participate in the future EU R&D framework programmes or as a resource to bring R&D results to the market and impact the regional economies;
▪ There is no concern on the effect of not exposing the R&D&I community to the international dimension and preparing them for the opportunities/threats of global markets.
d) EU 13 public administrations don't create added value from the information they get from DG Research & Innovation in terms of pre-information on calls or their priorities, evaluation criteria or EU buzz concepts, ...
▪ How about putting in place schemes to help stakeholders to access early information and improve the quality of their ideas, proposals, foreign partner search, as well as offer early quality check.
e) EU 13 stakeholders are not very active in EU professional and sectorial, formal and informal associations.
▪ EU 13 organisations often see the membership as cost and not as an investment that is appreciated by their peers.
▪ They do not evaluate the networking power of those organisations as well as their capacities to lobby DG Research's departments, to dialogue with EU representatives and so to access early information on calls.
▪ EU 13 do not consider to hire EU professional organisations to be their advocates, which would also undertake an important role in promoting excellence: If you are not there, you often don't come in the radar of your colleagues unless you are a super star that everybody pays to partner with!
EU 13 stakeholders have not yet developed a "wind of modernisation" attitude
a) There is still a top-down model through which national funding is allocated to universities and national research organisations without demonstrated merits. There is no real competition spirit between those organisations or stimulation for excellence;
b) Many participants to the dialogues were not able to sort out what is of the highest importance or relevance from opportunities and discussions, from details or anecdotic stories. This has been noticed at organisational, strategic and prioritisation level.
c) All MIRRIS dialogues were prepared and organised in an old fashioned style.
▪ Participants often expected to receive a ready-to-use solution instead of inspiring themselves from challenges/practices presented;
▪ Expectation was to listen to external experts rather than contribute/activate a change;
▪ There was little room and interest for open dialogue, brainstorming sessions, creative circles of discussion...
d) There is still a high hierarchical approach to communication flow among the different national agencies, ministries and key other players.
▪ In some countries, participants were all coming from the same organisation. In other countries, the agenda and briefings were obviously not circulated.
▪ If this occurred for MIRRIS, why to expect a different dynamic for other topics?
If those issues, factors and attitudes are not seriously tackled, all the efforts to enhance the participation of EU13 stakeholders in H2020 and the next EU R&D framework programmes will fail.
People make a difference, not the structure!
1.3.3. Final recommendations

A list of actions is one of the main results of the MIRRIS dialogues. Actions were identified and selected with an aim to contribute to the prioritisation process providing customised examples on how to enhance the participation in central managed programmes. The actions provided are to be implemented at national, regional, organisational or individual level. In some cases, they have to be simultaneously implemented by all stakeholders in others only by a specific group or actor.

The actions illustrated below take into consideration input received during the dialogues by all the stakeholders involved, even if they do not represent any official position.
Actions are not presented in order of importance. Prioritisation is a core task of each of the Member States. Each competent Ministry in EU 13 shall follow up on this to further finalise the roadmaps turning them into a formal action plan and monitor progress made.
1. Consider, in the allocation of competitive funding from national budgets, criteria related to the “international opening” of the applicants to promote the “culture of excellence” in the national research community.
2. Promote/incentive marketing campaigns around the excellent research teams and equipment available in the country, or include these actions in the future planning and secure financing via ERDF funding.
3. Build a vision and the strategy with a full commitment when the ERDF investments in R&D&I and ESF investments in research skills are in question in order to be competitive in the next EU R&D&I framework programme (use RIS3 as the actual roadmap to guide ESIF investments in R&D&I, not just a compilation of desiderata).
4. Provide assistance, both financial and advice, to help researchers/organisations/SMEs to draft better proposals. These actions can be coordinated by "grant offices" or simply by making available vouchers for accessing the market. Amongst the support services to be offered/incentivised:
▪ Assistance in reviewing previous proposals that did not reach above the threshold, assistance in evaluating previous calls results and identifying the areas of improvement;
▪ Organisation of workshops on: idea development/formulation, proposal drafting, leadership and communication, marketing, exploitation/use of R&D results, etc.;
▪ Visit to project partners or for using experts;
▪ Access to expertise to improve the quality of the proposals;
5. Implement rewarding systems for successful applicants. The reward can be offered to the researchers themselves or to the department where they work to exploit R&D results and for “go to the market” activities. The clear exploitation and commercialisation plan shall be the additional condition to obtain the reward.
6. Incentivise participation in EU professional associations and peer clubs.
8. Mobilise members of the scientific diaspora to market the excellence of national research organisations or teams and to offer their national organisations a chance to join EU15 consortia.
9. Apply the EU selection criteria to the national calls. This will help national stakeholders to become familiar with EU rules as well as with the spirit and the “language”.
10. Reinforce the presence in Brussels at national or organisation level in order to be able to access pre-information on trends and to develop intelligence on the next calls and policies.
11. Use "role models" and mobilise successful applicants and evaluators to coach newcomers to better check and formulate their ideas and proposals.
12. Encourage the participation in COST, Marie Sklodowska Curie, ERA Chairs and Twinning projects as an entry strategy to contact with peers and possible project partners.
13. Support universities and research centres to put in place a "grant office" or finance vouchers to engage experts to advise on the drafting of proposals.
14. Reform the structure and role of NCPs. They have to move from their current role of "information processors" to the new role of "promoters of excellence, intelligence providers and knowledge facilitators".
15. Analyse data regarding the performance of faculties and research units in order to understand why some are performing better than the others in capturing H2020 funding, and to further understand why there are differences in the motivation of research teams and what could be the different needs in terms of support/awareness raising.
16. Identify competitors and profile of the RTD actors to better market country excellences and develop stronger links and collaborations with other organisations abroad.

Potential Impact:

The MIRRIS survey aim was to look on the satisfaction of the stakeholders and participants involved in one or more of the MIRRIS activities, and to collect information useful for future activities.
The electronic survey was launched on 27 July 2016 to a first list of contacts. A first reminder was sent on 4 August 2016 along with the invitation to participate in the survey to a second list of contacts. The last reminder was sent on 23 August 2016 and on the 1st September we started the analysis of the results.
Out of 299 recipients of the survey we received 128 responses, of which 79 were full responses and 49 were incomplete and then not useful for the analysis. Of these 128 responses, 63 were considered fully complete and then analysed, 30 didn’t provide any answer and 30 declared that they never participated in the MIRRIS activities.
Considering the 299 recipients, the most represented countries were Poland (55), Croatia (51), and Lithuania (29), the least represented were Malta (9), Latvia (7), and Cyprus (5).

The group of questions about the Dialogue Meeting sessions held in each new member state was those answered by the majority of the respondents, 40. The general opinion about this type of event was positive, the option “Agree strongly” and “Agree” collected the majority of votes for each question, but it’s relevant to see how for the exploitation of the potential of such kind of event the attitude is still positive but more neutral compared to the other questions.

The answers provided in the free text field for comments about the Dialogue meetings, confirm what the graph displays, which is a positive evaluation of these events in terms of quality of information and organisations, but some respondents underline the need to involve more the decision maker level for more effective impact on the national level.

The questions regarding the Coaching Sessions were answered by 34 respondents and also in this case the opinion about this kind of event was markedly positive; again, regarding the exploitation of the potentials, the opinion is still positive but less enthusiastic.

In the free text field for comments about the Coaching Sessions shows that this kind of event was highly appreciated and underlines its usefulness, the competence of the speakers and the quality of the information received.

With regards to the MIRRIS Final Conference, the number of respondents who participated to this event was low, only 11. The results follow the general positive trend of the other two types of event and reflect an overall satisfaction of the participants, especially about the usefulness for the discussion on the national level and the information received. The exploitation of the potentials of this event was again the less rated and this is somehow confirmed also by the few comments provided (3) in the free text field where some respondents expected a higher number of EU13 representatives and more interaction with the public.

The last part of the MIRRIS survey gave the opportunity to provide further opinion about support activity for new member countries. 20 respondents gave their contribution and the main point is that this kind of activities has been very useful and should continue, especially with regard to the coaching sessions. Some of them underline the weakness of EU13 countries in networking, lobbing, skills and resources . Others ask for partner search support and stronger promotion of programs such H2020. An important issue is to involve more decision making stakeholders in these activity for better chances of follow up at the national level , and to address specifically each country particular situation and needs.
Dissemination and communication

Work on dissemination and communication during the second reporting period (M18-M36) has entered its more active phase. All partners have participated to communication activities via their institutional communication channels, and depending on their mission and constituency. These activities have been singularly registered by each partner directly in the Participant Portal Form.

Dissemination through main media
Newsletters are reachable through the homepage of MIRRIS website – All 12 numbers of the project newsletter have been made available online, and distributed to MIRRIS contact list, counting more than 300 contacts among European National Contact Points, policy makers from ministries of research, university and education, and agencies dealing with research and innovation.
The newsletter general structure has been maintained, dividing contents, when possible, into three parts: 1) interview, 2) news or articles (on results, data, reports, analysis), 3) events’ calendar or articles.
For this second phase of the project, the strongest focus has been reserved to spreading data and results, either on MIRRIS activities (specific policy dialogues and roadmaps, update of MIRRIS Scoping paper, coaching and mentoring activities), or in alternative on EU reports with focus on R&I statistics and funds at the country level within the EU (e.g. evaluation reports; the embedding of SSH in H2020, etc).
Website trends have shown good results. The following data cover the period October 2014 - June 2016 (18 months).

Total Number Of Visits: 11,778
Total Number Of Page Views: 33,568 (this refers to people who accessed more than 1 page/per visit)
Total Number Of Unique Visitors: 8,752
Average Accessed Pages/Visit: 2.85
Average Visit Duration: 2 minutes and 17 seconds (2:17)
Most Viewed Pages:
1. Homepage – 12,050 views
2. Partners – 1,420
3. About MIRRIS – 1,179
4. Downloads – 1,009
5. Available online the 2nd phase results of Horizon 2020's SMEs instrument – 669
6. MIRRIS Final Conference - Better exploiting European funds for Research and Innovation: - 669
7. European Research Funding in the post-2004 Member States – 560
8. Success rate of countries applying for the new H2020 SME instrument – 533
9. Newsletter – 512
10. 1st MIRRIS policy brief - midterm results - has been published

Traffic Peaks
Traffic peaks have been reached as follows; we could not establish any particularly relevant link between the day and the amount of visitors, since no news was published in that day. Traffic might have been so high possibly from dissemination action through partners’ media (e.g. partners’ newsletters) or social networks.

Monday – 4th May 2015 – 1,355 Page Views.
Thursday – 19th February 2015 – 800 Page Views.
Monday – 13th April 2015 – 641 Page Views.

MIRRIS twitter account counts now 152 Followers (against 89 of M18) and 230 Following. Tweets are 176 in total, with an average of 4 retweets each.

Although no specific Facebook account has been activated for the project, some partners have disseminated news on MIRRIS through their institutional accounts. At least 19 facebook posts have been shared in total by partners.

MIRRIS LinkedIn group counts 153 members of which about 90 members are from EU13.
Contents have been posted in LinkedIn with continuity for a total of 134 posts, although engagement levels are in general more difficult to raise in this social media.
Five main themes have been identified, as follows:
• H2020/FP7: 54 posts
• R&I type subjects: 42 posts
• MIRRIS project developments: 15 posts
• EU in general, often with funding focus: 13
• EU13 specific information: 10 posts

Main operational activities
Keeping in mind the two main objectives of the work package , major highlights of MIRRIS dissemination activities in its second period can be identified principally in the wide dissemination of the MIRRIS First policy brief, and in the MIRRIS Final Conference (M36).

Dissemination of MIRRIS First policy brief

Regarding the first Policy Brief, Dissemination of MIRRIS First policy brief, while the report mid-term results was finalized and submitted during the project’s first reporting period, its related dissemination activities reached their highest intensity after M18. Mid-term results available in the Policy Brief have been reflected into a press release that was published on site on Jan 21, 2015 and that partners have disseminated, besides the project’s channels, through their-own media (including all NCP networks):
The Press Release has also been published on:
DG RTD e-Library:
NET4Society website:

Final Conference

A detailed reporting has been provided in deliverable 6.3 Final Conference Appraisal document. Here a few organizational details.

The final conference of the MIRRIS project took place on 26 May in Brussels, with the title Better exploiting European funds for Research and Innovation: the challenge for EU13 countries. It took place in the premises of the Lazio Region, in round point Schuman. It was attended by an attentive audience of about 60 R&D&I stakeholders coming mainly from EU13 representation offices/delegations based in Brussels.
The conference was not intended to be broadly attended; it was conceived to be very specific in focus and audience. For this reason and to guarantee the participation of relevant contributors, registration to the conference was sought only by targeted invitations. Invitations were sent via email through Eventbrite to 315 persons, including:
• EU 13 MEP: Parliamentary committees: ITRE, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
• EU13 Representations in Brussels -Scientific Officers
• EC Representations in EU13 (press officer)
• Relevant EU officials (in particular from the EC)
• EU13 Regional institutions in Bruxelles
• EC and EP press officers and communication multipliers
• EESC European Economic and Social Council (press officers)
• NCP Networks
• Brussels-based associations and firms with an interest in R&I
• Research-focused magazines, including EC ones.
• Hosting organisation MIRRIS worked with during the policy dialogues
• Contacts sent by partners
Quantitative panorama of actions in reporting period (M18-36)
Academic conference Papers (from Alborg University):
- Barriers to the participation of the EU 13 in the European Research Area’. Paper presented at the Regional Studies Association 2nd North America Conference: Cities and Regions: Managing Growth and Change. Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta USA (14th – 17th June).
Under preparation:
- Paper 1. Barriers and challenges to participation in European research programmes in EU 13 countries (under preparation)
- Paper 2. Addressing problems of participation in European research programmes in EU 13 countries
- Paper 3. Developing a policy for increased participation in European research programmes for EU 13 countries
Approximate number of articles published in partners’ website: 26
Approximate number of news on MIRRIS spread through partners institutional newsletters: 56
Approximate number of subscribers for partners’ newsletter distribution lists: from 1000 to 20.000 subscribers
Approximate number of presentations of MIRRIS (booths, presentations or flyer distribution) hold in annual association meeting or other events: 38
Approximate number of persons reached during the above-mentioned events: 1000
Webinar 22/10/2015 called "Fools make researches and wise men exploit them". Discussing the success factors on how innovation systems can better address the Participation to the European Research Area: 48 participants. Jointly organized by META-Group and INSME.

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