Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


HNN 2.0 Report Summary

Project ID: 643390
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HNN 2.0 (Improving and professionalizing the Health NCP service across Europe.)

Reporting period: 2014-12-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Health NCP Net 2.0 aims at improving and professionalizing the NCP service, thus achieving a more consistent level of NCP support services across Europe with the final goal to better support applicants and raise the average quality of proposals submitted.

HNN 2.0 builds upon the experience and results of the previous Health NCP Net project with the objective of responding to the new challenges that the “Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing” NCPs face in the new programme Horizon 2020, such as the broadened thematic scope of the Societal Challenge 1, and the enlarged mandate of the “Health” NCPs. An objective of the HNN 2.0 project is to satisfy the needs and priorities of all different types of NCPs, notably newcomers, NCPs with fewer resources, NCPs from EU-13 and NCPs in Third Countries so as to face the challenge of the current heterogeneity of the network

The enlarged mandate of “Health” NCPs and the holistic focus of H2020 imply that NCPs need to create expert knowledge and look for it outside the SC1 Network by having a holistic approach and liaising and collaborating with other support structures, projects and programmes. HNN 2.0 will therefore have a real structured coordination with the other NCP and support networks such as Ideal-IST, EEN and Fit for Health 2.0, where collaboration for joint activities like training courses, meet and exchange workshops and brokerage events is established.

Main tools towards the objectives are:
- support and information materials
- comprehensive training programme
- mentoring programme (staff exchanges, mentoring programme for EU-13, twinning with the European Commission)
- Meet and Exchange workshops with NCPs from other disciplines
- system of email alert for NCPs about research funding and related policies
- information and communication hub for SC1-NCPs (easy access to information and services , exchange of information and opinions between SC1-NCPs)
- International brokerage events

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

HNN2.0 has contributed to improve the services of NCPs and to establish a more consistent service (Objective 1), providing all SC1 NCPs with easy access to all the information, training, materials and skills they need for delivering excellent support for their clients in the different areas.

One of the main materials developed during this period has been The Health NCP Handbook, being created from a collaborative process from all members of the HNN2.0 by writing chapters. It is provided in a modular format enabling the download of each Handbook module as well as each chapter individually.

The creation of the HNN 2.0 website ( has been an essential part of the action being the main repository of information developed by the HNN 2.0 partners (D4.1). The website provides a large amount of information and tools feed by all the WPs. Also, part of the information is accessible for the general public so that NCPs can direct their clients towards the site and a restricted area has been installed in which information only relevant for NCPs is shared. Information about events (which has been considered especially useful to the SC1 NCPs), developed handbook and templates, NCP Experience Papers and Training and Webinar repository and other Helpful documents is available.

For the objective to maintain a consistent SC1 NCP network based on respect and trust (Objective 2), several actions have been developed. The initial mapping of the Health NCP Network and the benchmark NCP services and best practices has been a starting point to align the necessary skills from the NCPs and make an initial HNN2.0 Training Programme and Schedule.
And with the objective to guarantee constant learning, capacity building and exchange of knowledge, 3 onsite Trainings, 5 Webinars, 3 Staff exchange programmes and 1 Personalized mentoring programme for EU-13 NCPs have taken pace during the first 18 months.

Also, creating links between the HNN 2.0 project and the community of Health NCPs and experts of other Health-related programmes, has been a priority during this period, and several actions have been undertaken with other major programs & initiatives implementing SC1 and other NCP networks, support networks and projects which has materialized in several joint collaborations in co-organization of Partnering Events, Webinars or (future) Meet and Exchange workshops.

For the objective to provide high value added services (Objective 3) based on the critical mass of the network so it is perceived by the EC as a strategic partner. It this aspect, the Action has provided a consolidated feedback to the EC on the first NCP Experience Paper on the topic “Lessons Learned from the First calls of H2020” and has also stablished a format of EC Webinars on specific topics useful for NCPs with a great success that will be used for future Webinars.

Under the objective to improve the services of NCPs by directly targeting the clients (Objective 4) and meeting their needs, several Partnering Events, 2 in Brussels back to back to the EC Info day and 1 Decentralized in Paris have been organized to support formation of high quality consortia and widen participation in Health-related projects.
Also under this objective, a questionnaire has been developed and sent by the EC to seek the feedback of the clients to find out which services they really need from NCPs and to detect if there are weaknesses in any of the services and strengthen them conveniently.

For the contribution to the objective to raise awareness of the services of NCPs (Objective 5) and the Network towards the clients, HNN2.0 has created several promotional material and a video to be used by NCPs and presenting NCPs services at major events to promote activities of the project and of NCP services to the wider public.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

HNN 2.0 pursues building upon the results and achievements of the previous project and proposes enhanced existing and new measures that will keep on improving and professionalizing the NCP service across Europe. These measures are addressed to three major target groups: i) named SC1 NCPs, ii) the applicants, and iii) the European Commission. It is only by working at these three levels (and not only at the NCP level) that the desired final impact on improving the quality of the submitted proposals is achieved.

i) Measures and impact at the level of the SC1 NCPs

The SC1 NCP Network can exist as such and be nurtured as a result of the Health NCP Net 2.0 project, which contributes to building NCP knowledge and expertise; and facilitating access to professional collaboration with other NCPs. HNN 2.0 offers highly added value tools and services that single NCPs cannot develop or implement by acting nationally, trying to help them align the NCP services, simplify access to Horizon 2020 calls and lower entry barriers to newcomers across Europe by facilitating their start as NCPs and by integrating them into the Network.

Thanks to the following measures, we are improving any NCP service across Europe:

The NCP handbook and the templates as emphasized in previous sections offers very comprehensive guidelines to help newcomers understanding the fundamentals of H2020, are available to help NCPs when doing consultations with their clients and help them.

All abovementioned materials is helping NCPs with their clients to identify all possible opportunities for health collaborative research as well as streamlining their project ideas and also making easier for them get the budget and finances of the project right.

Furthermore, in terms of materials and support documents, a survey has been conducted to a total of 30,376 FP7 Health and H2020 SC1 2014/2015 applicants, both successful and unsuccessful. The response rate was of 3.6 %. These responses will be analyzed and a document will be produced out of it. The analysis of the survey of the NCP services will be shared with all NCPs, providing them with meaningful feedback on the opinion of the clients and their level of satisfaction across Europe.

Also, the webinars have proven to be a very cost-effective and efficient training tool to collaborate and bring in other initiatives under the umbrella of SC1 such as IMI, as well as to bring in subjects that reach out outside Societal Challenge 1 and require collaboration with other relevant and NCP Networks such as Net4Society (for SC6), ECRIN (The European Research Clinical Infrastructure Network). In our training courses, we have also seek for the expertise of NCPs who deal with relevant aspects such Legal & Financial from the NCP Academy Network and have as well merged SC1 NCPs with SSH NCPs so as to allow interactions. We have also invited a patent’s attorney and IPR specialist to have the best of the IPR and exploitation expertise transferred to our network. During this period, 53 Health NCPs from different countries (48 from MS and 6 from TC) have been trained.

Staff exchanges have helped maintain NCP interactions in smaller groups allowing for exchanges about methodologies of working and building knowledge on the different Research and Innovation systems and structures in the countries, with the opportunity to attend an event of international or national nature. During this period, 13 Health NCPs in total from Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Slovakia, Finland, Poland, Hungary and Republic of Macedonia have participated in a Staff Exchange.

The Mentoring for EU-13 has helped 3 NCPs where less applications are submitted be more acquainted with consultations with clients. Nonetheless, this programme has not been as demanded as expected. One reason for this is that some EU-13 NCPs are not newcomers and this mentoring scheme might not be appropriate for them, as indicated in the feedback forms. Several EU-15 NCPs who are less experienced showed particular interest in this mentoring programme and are willing to participate if they are given the opportunity. During this period, 3 Health NCPs from Croatia, Estonia and Poland have participated in the first edition of the EU-13 Mentoring Programme.

The mentoring with the European Commission via webinars is offering space for learning and discussing, in a more informal setting, about procedural (i.e. budget allocation to SC1) and operational issues (i.e. mandate and differences of the Advisory Board and Scientific Panel for Health) giving a more complete and in-sight overview, which was very well accepted by the NCP Community and the EC.
The website of the project is facilitating the access to information to all NCPs internationally as all materials, including presentations and recordings of the webinars, are stored in the restricted site for NCPs only and it is the main repository of all the material developed.

This wide range of activities is covering the needs of the different types of NCPs, from less to more experienced, from smaller to bigger countries with offices of more or less human resources, easing the NCP daily job and aligning the services across the different countries.

ii) Measures and impact at the level of the clients

Two brokerage events have been organized between September 2015 and January 2016. The evaluation surveys show that these types of events are helping (potential) applicants in finding collaborations in the short-medium terms. Each event has been attended by 240 and 214 participants, and 650 and 447 bilateral meetings were organized. The increasing number of registrations and the fast oversubscription show evidence of the need for such events.

Thanks to the Health NCP Net, all NCPs are well connected and are part of a network which can give easier access to other R&I communities in other countries across Europe and internationally.
In order to have a larger and more direct impact on the quality of the applications, some of our webinars has been opened not only to multipliers but also to the applicant community, when the topic is of direct interest.

i) Measures and impact at the level of the EC

It is undeniable that the experience NCPs have on the ground from working directly with the scientific community can be extremely valuable for the European Commission when it comes to “analyzing the implementation aspects of the H2020” programme. After the closure of the first SC1 Calls 2014/2015, an experience paper on the lessons learned was submitted by Health NCP Net. It collected both the positive feedback and also the most common issues raised by the community.

The Mentoring for NCPs, via webinar, has been a very well valued service by the NCPs and a tool for the Commission to find out more about the knowledge of NCPs and also a way to have additional spaces to the NCP Meeting throughout the year for exchanging with them.

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