Part One - Overview

Introduction

Overview

What is meant by partnering?
How is Framework Programme Six different?
What are the responsibilities of a partner?
What are the major risks?
How do you set up an effective consortium?

Checklists

Finding Partners

Managing expectations

Making the commitment

Getting started

Sustainability

Final checklist

Last updated:
08/05/05
web-weaver:  neil@neilsandford.co.uk 

How do you set up an effective consortium?

Developing an effective partnering relationship will not happen overnight or by an exchange of email. It is frequently said, with justification, that you should not use a Framework project to try to solve problems that are fundamental to the future of your organisation. The risk of failure is too great. Equally, you should not enter into a project purely because some funding is on offer and the work or the outcomes are irrelevant. The first step in preparing for collaborative research is, therefore, to have a clear understanding of the business case for participation and the outcomes that you are seeking. If you have not got that far, then you are a long way from being able to consider yourself as a prospective partner for any research consortium.

Assuming that you are successful in identifying a partnering opportunity that fits with your business plan (see Part Two of this document) then the next step is normally to obtain the necessary management approval to devote time and energy into developing the relationship. This step, focusing on the crucial issue of managing expectations, is addressed in Part Three. As a fundamental tip, you will find it easier to locate partners and obtain approval to begin a dialogue if you start with organisations with which you have an existing relationship. Committing to a project is not simply a case of finding potential partners and getting managerial approval. At this early stage, the question of what exactly your organisation will have to put into the relationship and what you want to get out of it will need to be examined very carefully - which can only happen if you go through a formal planning process (see Part Four).

Part Five describes the kinds of issues that you will face in actually getting a project off the ground. That is not to say that you can limit your reading to the preceding three sections prior to signing a consortium agreement. Knowledge of what is involved in delivering the project will help to shape the way you plan your involvement and influence the decisions you have to take.

Finally, in Part Six, we bring together a number of the issues that will affect the long-term sustainability of a partnering relationship.

The final checklist (Checklist 5) is designed to help you perform your own ‘sanity check’ on the consortium you are about to become part of. It provides some concise summaries of the issues that you can share with decision-makers in the consortium and within your own organisation.