21 Apr The importance of working as European expert
We always think that to be competitive in Europe and get funding for our projects the best options are: to have a powerful consortium, to hire the best consultant in the market, to “pull contacts” that can give us some competitive advantage… and all this, of course, is very useful and very valid. But what happens if you don’t have a sufficiently international network? What happens if you don’t know which consultancy firm to contact? And what if you don’t know who to turn to explain the details of the calls for proposals? Things can get complicated and you can become demotivated, thinking that getting European funding, in your case, is mission impossible.
But in reality, you are an expert in your scientific or technological field, you have experience in business, you have won national projects, you have managed other types of funds … all this is useless? Don’t you ever wonder who are the people who decide who gets the funds you are so eager to get? Well, they are people like you, who make their expertise available to the European institutions during the proposal evaluation process. And this work can be of vital importance for you to be the one who later wins a project. If you want to know what it means to be a European evaluator, you are in the right place.
WHY BECOME A EUROPEAN EVALUATOR
European Project Evaluators are independent experts who assist the European Commission (EC) or other bodies linked to it in the evaluation of proposals submitted to Research and Technological Development calls. Any citizen of the European Community can be a candidate, as long as he/she is registered in the database of experts of the EC or of the specific program to which he/she is applying as an evaluator.
In general terms, the criteria to be fulfilled to be eligible as evaluators are shown below.
Skills and knowledge in the field of science, industry and/or innovation.
Proficiency in English for reading, understanding and discussing proposals, although other languages will also be considered
Aptitude to appreciate the stakes and the industrial or social dimension of the projects to be presented
Independence; the evaluator shall not have any employment relationship that may imply a conflict of interest
TYPES OF EVALUATORS
Within the European proposal evaluations, there are different roles that can be exercised. Here is a list of the most common ones:
- Expert Evaluators: they focus on the evaluation of proposals for specific calls. Within this category we have different modalities such as evaluator, rapporteur, chairperson, or vice-chairperson.
- Projects Reviewers/Actions in execution: they are consulted during the life of the project, for example, to evaluate deliverables.
- Observers: they report on the fairness of the evaluation process in all its phases. They check that the evaluation criteria are correctly applied by the experts.
- EC advisory committees: assist in the preparation, implementation and evaluation of programs and policy design.
EVALUATOR FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
I am going to detail the main characteristics, as far as evaluation is concerned, of one of the largest platforms at the European level and that brings together a great variety of programs to be evaluated. It is the Funding & Tenders Portal de la Comisión Europea.
The Eurostars programme is is a funding and support programme, aimed at R&D-performing SMEs that wish to exploit the benefits that come with international collaboration.
Eurostars projects are:
- started and led by an SME,
- involve at least two partners from two different Eurostars participating country,
- involve at least one other partner from another Eurostars participating country, and
- last no longer than three years.
BENEFITS OF BECOMING A EUROPEAN EVALUATOR
Possibility to learn first-hand about the latest advances in different areas of knowledge.
Learning the structure and content of successful European proposals
Professional exchange between evaluators
Possibility to establish contacts with European Commission officials and become familiar with their procedures
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