How does a research consortium come together? It may appear to the newcomer as a 'chicken and egg' situation - partners that have worked well together in the past are likely to work well together again. So why would an existing consortium look for outside assistance? There are, in fact, many reasons why fresh blood may be required, some of which we have already identified in Part One. It follows that once you have been part of a successful project, it does then become easier to persuade the organisations you want to work with to join you in future projects, as illustrated in the Elysium case study.
The way you go about developing a partnership will depend to a large extent on whether you are looking for a consortium to join or for a partner to add to your existing consortium. (The third alternative, building a new consortium from scratch, is not for the inexperienced or the faint-hearted!) In all cases you will need to gather intelligence about other organisations working in your field and/or advertise for partners using a specialist brokerage service.
The task is made more complex because you, or somebody acting on your behalf, will be building relationships with organisations from other countries. This is not simply because 'you have to have foreign partners'. Since Framework Programme funding gives you the opportunity to collaborate with partners from the entire European research community, you need to satisfy yourself that you are approaching the consortia or organisations that are best placed to help you achieve your research goals.
However, the solution to your quest for partners need not always lie overseas. One of your own suppliers, an existing customer or a local university may be a suitable candidate to contribute to your project or may already be active in the research field you wish to get involved with. As an example, UK-based case study company Televirtual entered into its first EC project alongside the UK’s Independent Television Commission and the Atomic Energy Authority.