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Creating ERA in Central Europe

Final Report Summary - CERA (Creating ERA in Central Europe)

CERA two-year project was a Specific Support Action (SSA) with a main objective to create synergy for virtual networking and strengthening of the European Research Area (ERA) in Central Europe by networking and twinning the best research centres, organisations and associations.

CERA had developed a series of specialised activities helping to establish new co-operation links between leading research centres of Germany and Austria and Centres of Excellence in New Member States (NMS): Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The project had also provided an opportunity for the NMS researchers to exchange 'best practices' with their colleagues from Germany and Austria and to master skills in proposal development aimed at preparation of successful proposals for new Networks of Excellence (NoEs), Integrated Projects (IPs) and Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREPs). The CERA project activities covered all Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) thematic priorities mainly focusing on life sciences, materials, environment and energy.

The CERA project was coordinated by the Instytut Podstawowych Problemow Techniki PAN (IPPT PAN) from Poland. The project was carried out in cooperation with the following partners:
1) Cracow University of Technology - CUT (Poland)
2) Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation - HSTF (Hungary)
3) Austrian Research Promotion Agency - European and International Programmes -FFG/EIP (Austria)
4) Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres - HGF (Germany)
5) Slovak Research and Development Agency - APVV (Slovakia)
6) University of Lodz - UL (Poland).

All CERA partners were involved in achieving project objectives and had contributed to the planned realisation of project work packages (WPs). IPPT PAN was responsible for successful implementation of the project activities, financial coordination of work and dissemination of the project results. Being the coordinator of the project and the leader of WP1: 'Project management and dissemination'. IPPT PAN was engaged in daily management of the activities carried out by all seven partners. As the leader of WP3: 'Training' CUT mainly was engaged in management of the activities carried out by the partners involved in organisation and realisation of trainings. HSTF - the leader of WP6: 'Promotion' - was mainly engaged in management of the promotional activities carried out by the partners. As the leader of WP4: 'Networking' FFG/EIP was mainly engaged in coordination of the networking activities and organising of Bridging Meetings. HGF - the leader of WP5: 'Twinning' - was mainly engaged in coordination of the twinning activities and organising of get in touch meetings. As the leader of WP2: 'Identification of Research and technological development (RTD) potential' APVV was engaged in preparing the list of best research centres and mapping of excellence. UL was mainly engaged in work under WP2 and was responsible for collecting information about research potential and mapping of excellence in Poland.

CERA project had three key-focus areas corresponding with the thematic priorities of the FP6:
- life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health;
- nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices;
- sustainable development, global change and ecosystems.

Management of the CERA project was based on Project management board (PMB), project manager and WP leaders and was coordinated by the project coordinator in collaboration with all partners.

During the two-year period of project running, four different types of measures were used to fulfill its main objective:
- training workshops;
- get in touch meetings;
- bridging meetings;
- single expert visits.

The CERA project increased awareness of the FP6 for and on rules and guidelines for participation. Scientists and scientific managers from partner NMS have established contacts with scientific organisations from other partner countries. Through a series of specialised workshops and other measures participants had an opportunity to master their skills in proposal development, identified project preparation opportunities and developed proposals. The project, through selection of the most active organisation (mapping of excellence), training and developing their skills, unlocked these institutes to the international cooperation. Selected institutions were expected to be able to participate in the European Union (EU) programmes, to promote and disseminate results of research, to transfer innovative technologies from their laboratories to industry, and to find proper partners for future research development and technology transfer. Institutions participating in the project were expected to be able to get access to research results, to express their needs and benefit from transfer of the available development technologies.