Last updated: 01/10/2012
Neil Sandford has a technological background that ranges from speech recognition work in the early 1970s through to the latest interactive technologies of the internet.
He was managing director of The Soft Option, one of the UK's first multimedia software companies, from 1984 to 1991 and has subsequently consulted under the strap-line "Putting People Before Computers".
Link: Why "Putting People Before Computers"
See also external link: Usability specialist, Dianne Murray
Neil has extensive experience of the public and private sectors, working alongside technical and managerial staff at all levels in the UK, Europe and the USA and managing seven-figure budgets. Since 2006, his time has increasingly been spent supporting consortia bidding for EC funding.
Neil now calls himself the project midwife - his clients conceive the project idea, and his job is to deliver it, or at least the funding for it.
Conventional wisdom says that over-subscription to calls for proposals result in a probability of funding such as '1 in 5', '1 in 12' or even '1 in 20' depending on the topic. Neil begs to differ. A well-written proposal describing a supportable piece of work has a probability of around 1:2 or perhaps 1:3. The rest have no chance at all.
Neil has helped major clients raise nearly €70m over the last six years from the IST/ICT, Research Infrastructures and Science and Society programmes. 75% of proposals have been funded and the average score (including failed proposals) is currently 12.7 out of 15. Neil also offers a range of services for bidding consortia, including proposal pre-evaluation and post-mortems. He recently ran a successful training course for potential evaluators for the network of FP7/ICT National Contact Points at the 2012 Proposers' Day in Warsaw, Poland.
Link: More about support for research
"You can chalk up another away win for Sandford-United " Nick Wainwright, HP Labs
"Thanks for the call - reassuring. I must say, you have been absolutely invaluable to my sanity through this!!!!" - a client just three days before the close of a call for proposals
"The assessment of risks in the proposal is exemplary and the European Commission could take this example as a model for future proposal templates" - anonymous evaluator's comments from a 2008 ESR
"So much of our proposal and the architecture of the project has in it so much good practice from programme management - all thanks to you." - Hildelies Balk, Koninklijke Biblioteek
"Worth the attendance fee alone" - comment on a feedback form from the UKISHELP/MANIST Joint FP6 Information Day
External link: Find out more about Neil, his network and the recommendations he has received at Linked In
External link: Introduction to the ICT theme in current European research
External link: Interactive ICT workprogamme
External link: European Research Interests; a LinkedIn group