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Net4Mobility: Network of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions National Contact Points

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Net4Mobility (Net4Mobility: Network of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions National Contact Points)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2018-01-31

The objective of the Net4Mobility project is to facilitate the transnational cooperation between the National Contact Points (NCPs) of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). The project aims to achieve the following three main goals:
1) NCPs mutual support, thus raising the general standard of applications taking into account the diversity of the different actors
2) to better inform the research and innovation stakeholders in the academic and non-academic sector on funding opportunities in the MSCA and help them to improve their performance
3) to help less experienced NCPs to improve their services
Ultimately the project will help to support research and innovation through the achievement of a synergistic effect manifested in the joint work processes of the REA, the EC and the MSCA NCPs.
MSCA NCPs provide information and support services to potential MSCA applicants. They have a fundamental role in bridging the European and international research communities and to inform and raise awareness of the funding opportunities within the MSCA. NCPs advise and assist potential applicants in the preparation, submission and follow-up of grant applications and offer support for running projects - especially with respect to management and administrative aspects.
The Net4Mobility project was designed to connect the NCPs and support them in acquiring relevant skills and knowledge to support the researchers and applicants.

Net4Mobility is a 3-years project running from 1 February 2014 - 31 January 2018 with 15 beneficiaries and of approximately 80 associated partners including all MSCA NCPs in EU Member States/Associated Countries and Third Countries.
The activities of Net4Mobiltiy are structured into 4 Work Packages:
WP1: Management and Internal Communication
WP2: Quality Development
WP3: Knowledge Sharing
WP4: External Communication and Networking

Timely delivery of the following Net4Mobility outcomes assured that the overall project goals were reached:
- Welcome Package for all the new MSCA NCPs in order to ensure a basic knowledge to start their work
- A benchmarking questionnaire to identify skills and training needs of the MSCA NCP to find suitable topics for the Trainings and Best Practice Seminars (BPS) and to do the match-making for the Twinning activities
- 10 Trainings on the following topics: 'Legal & Financial Issues', 'Project Management', 'Consortium Agreement', 'What is new in H2020 for MSCA?', 'Collaboration with EEN', 'How to Network', 'How to Webinar', 'Legal and Financial Issues' (organized by the NCP Academy), 'Intellectual Property Rights', 'COFUND', 'RISE' and 'Social Media'
- 5 Best Practice Seminars on the following topics: 'How to approach and support industry and other non-academic organisations', 'How to organize a MSCA project management training session', 'How to develop communication strategies for different target groups', 'How to organize a proposal writing training session' and 'How to work with multipliers'
- 3 Webinars on the following topics: 'Research Fellowships in Europe', 'Research and Training projects within European Organisations, 'Open Science' (organized by Foster Project)
- Communication platforms: Website with more than 800 000 views, 4 Social Media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Group, YouTube Channel), 1 internal document repository (CIRCABC)
- 15 Twinnings for more than 100 MSCA NCPs: 7 Twinnings for newcomer NCPs in Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Switzerland, Croatia, Colombia, Moldovia – 8 Twinnings for less-experienced NCPs in Austria, Cyprus, Poland, Switzerland (twice), Ireland, Argentina
- 5 MSCA NCP-REA-EC Working Group Meetings with the possibility for MSCA NCP to provide input to the draft 'Guide for Applicants'
- Networking with external stakeholders such as EEN and other NCP networks via meetings, webinars and groups discussions
- Assessment Grid allowing MSCA NCPs to evaluate their skills and define their training needs
- Information material including 4 leaflets on the different MSCA, 6 videos success stories for worldwide dissemination and an overview on all the MSCA calls and their modalities
- Mentored Google Group for information exchange between the NCPs to ensure the quality of the answers (170 members and more than 3000 messages exchanged)
- Publication of the knowledge generated in the Google Group as FAQ Blog (207 posts and more than 500 000 page views)
- Communication and Dissemination Guide for the MSCA applicants
The MSCA NCPs were asked to provide feedback on the project in 3 NCP Fora (during the Kick-Off Meeting, Mid Term Review Meeting and Final Conference) in order to collect their inputs and improve the impact of the project. And finally to assure proper steering of the project 10 Steering Committee Meetings were held, 2 of them via Skype.
Net4Mobility created an impact on the European and worldwide Scientific Community by connecting and training NCPs to better inform research and innovation stakeholders on MSCA funding opportunities and thus raise the general standard of applications. The MSCA NCP network is very strong and active and all project events were well attended. The good atmosphere and the support of the project helped the NCPs to integrate into the community, to improve their skills and generate new ideas in order to support research and innovation.
Particular attention has been given to the needs of the newcomers and Third Country NCPs with tailored products and activities such as the Welcome Package and additional Twinnings.
The MSCA NCP network is perceived as an important instrument for ensuring and improving the performance of the MSCA NCPs and therefore raising the quality of MSCA applications as well balancing the knowledge within the network.