Framework Programme research is a way of meeting an extraordinarily diverse collection of individuals from a variety of cultures, with a range of different aspirations and with many kinds of pressure being put on them by their employers. Co-ordinating these individuals or simply managing your own role within a multinational consortium requires special skills. The following list of desirable skills and attributes for a partner manager was developed by one of the authors as part of a commercial partnership programme:
- An ability to understand the technology and the unique application or aspect of the technology that makes the project/product different: this also facilitates communication with technical staff.
- A commercial awareness to appreciate how these advantages can be translated into business and financial benefit, for both one's own organisation and the partner(s).
- An overall appreciation of how business works (possibly through studying for an MBA), to identify all the 'pieces of the jigsaw' that need to be in place to make a partnering project successful.
- The ability to communicate technology-oriented business benefits to senior management.
- An ability to represent the consortium within the organisation, while upholding the organisation's position in dealings with partners: this really boils down to taking a logical, rather than an emotional approach to problem solving.
- A high level of professionalism, to earn the trust of senior individuals within one's own and the partners’ organisations, which in turn will enable major issues to be attended to and resolved.
Framework Programme projects will inevitably involve working with partners from other countries and for whom English is not the primary language. Hence ‘multi-cultural awareness’ will be an important additional item to be fostered/developed for all people taking part.