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Content archived on 2024-06-16

Enlarging fuel cells and hydrogen research co-operation

Final Report Summary - ENFUGEN (Enlarging fuel cells and hydrogen research co-operation)

The main objectives of the project were the following:
1. improve NMS and ACC R&D competences visibility by mapping R&D competences in the five reference countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria), creating a database of researcher and research performers, developing and widely disseminating a visibility catalogue containing all the relevant information ( profiles, expertise, facilities, contacts, etc.) of at least 40 hydrogen and fuel cells actors in the five reference countries.
2. create a collaborative virtual environment (ENFUGEN portal) for the exchange of experience, knowledge sharing, the development of project ideas and partnership building. The platform would allow for: documents exchange, news and document publication, partner search posting, expertise and CVs publication, the creation of thematic forums, the concurrent development of documents and project proposals (Wiki tool).
3. improve NMS and ACC actors capability in promoting their expertise, accessing to funds and building partnership. This would be done trough: an in-depth analysis of the needs and barriers which impacted on the low participation of NMS and ACC actors in the European research, the development of training modules and guidelines based on the needs analysis, the organization of three national workshops in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia, The activation of a Skype based help desk made available through the ENFUGEN platform.
4. directly support the creation of MS and NMS/ACC partnerships trough: the organization of at least one large brokerage event, the large dissemination of the visibility catalogue, direct brokerage and mediation activities, networking and promoting ENFUGEN community to other initiatives at EU level.

The activities foreseen for the accomplishment of the project target were organised in five operative work-packages:

1) WP1 - Mapping competencies
The first work-package was meant to 'prepare the ground' for the implementation of the support action. On one side, the New Member State partners were, in fact, in charge of mapping of the competences in their respective countries, enlarge the study also in Bulgaria and Romania, and preparing a first list of references and therefore create a database to be used for the contacting activities. On the other side, the Italian and Belgian partners worked at the identification of the key actors from the member states to be involved in the knowledge sharing and brokerage activities. The work consisted in the: identification of the running and under negotiation projects in the field concerned, identification of the contact details of the coordinators, identification of the most active organisations in the field ( ranking according to the number of participation in EC projects), identification of NMS / ACC participants in EC project, analysis of the 'expression of interests' published at the beginning of FP6 on CORDIS and identification of the promoting organisation, identification of the energy NCPs in Europe and identification of major initiatives (projects, networks, technology platforms, etc.) operating within the European Research Area (ERA).

2) WP2 - Needs assessment
In parallel with the mapping exercise the consortium planned an analysis of the needs, trends and market possibilities for fuel cells and hydrogen energy development in NMS and ACC in order to: use this knowledge for the development of the training modules and the guidelines for a better participation of NMS and ACC actors in ERA and disseminate this knowledge to the largest number of European stakeholders which could use it to improve their approach and plans towards these countries. The first activity of this task consisted in the development of the project groupware for the project document exchange and storage. Then Labor identified a reliable subcontractor able to develop the project PLATFORM. Following to a first analysis of the tools necessary to implement the platform Labor worked at the definition of the graphics and static text of the platform. For the database: a first excel file has been prepared by the consortium with the references of the relevant actors to be involved in the action. The final database was then integrated in the platform MySQL database system.

3) WP3 - Stimulating the researchers' interaction
According to the original project workplan the interaction among stakeholders had to happen on the project platform. However, the response to the initial involvement activities in which the researchers were invited to register in the platform and independently use the tools didn't give the expected results. The consortium, therefore decided to promote to interaction among the stakeholders using more traditional means such as: the involvement of researchers through direct contact, the collection of project ideas, the collection of profiles and match-making and mediation activities.

4) WP4 - Assistance to research performers
The first step of the WP consisted in the finalisation of the guidelines to entrepreneurial university: A set of guidelines concerning EU funding to research projects, mainly in the context of the Framework Programme for research and technological development. The training activities were then implemented during the three workshops organised by the project. Support on proposal writing and financial rules was provided on request of the researchers on a one to one basis during the second year of project life. The work continued with the creation of the ENFUGEN visibility catalogue containing the profiles and expertise of researchers and research centres' in the targeted NMS and ACC to potential project coordinators.

5) WP5 - Dissemination and visibility
The main objective of this WP5 was to give visibility of ENFUGEN activities and results and therefore maximise the visibility of NMS research potential. This has been done by: networking the action to the major initiatives in the field at national and European level, presenting the project in the largest number of national and international events, distributing and presenting promotional material (leaflets, posters, etc.), widely disseminating the exploitable project deliverables and promoting the website.

The main results achieved by the ENFUGEN project were:
1) needs analysis: the document presented the situation in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania in terms of needs and barriers for the development of fuel cells and hydrogen economy;
2) mapping report: it contained for each of the three counties directly involved in the action the references of the major actors in the field of hydrogen and fuel cells: technology platforms, experts, associations, dedicated press, industries, private and public research bodies, research projects, fairs and events, etc.;
3) ENFUGEN platform: the platform allowed the subscribers to: post news and pieces of information, browse information and download documents, post and answer to partnersearch, consult the ENFUGEN Skype based helpdesk, ask for the activation of a Wiki-based collaborative environment for the preparation of project proposal and register to the project database;
4) database: the database, MySQL based, contained the data of 184 researchers;
5) guidelines towards building entrepreneurial university: the guidelines aimed at supporting researchers with no experience in the EC funding schemes to implement the necessary actions to either present their own proposal or to participate in others' proposal:
6) visibility catalogue: the visibility catalogue was a promotional publication containing the profiles of 36 research organisations from Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania;
7) other quantitative results.

Regarding the impact of the project, in the short term an impact on the research sector was produced by the partner search, brokerage and mediation activities directly implemented during the project life.

In terms of medium-long term effects the consortium conceived and produced among its deliverable a tool allowing for long lasting effects. The expertise catalogue would be available to the most relevant FC&H sector actors and hopefully used when selecting research partners. Furthermore ENFUGEN project, during its dissemination and awareness activities promoted the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technology Platform (HFP Europe) and stimulated the Eastern Europe researchers to step forward and actively take part to the HFP and possibly to the newly born technology initiative.