From Proposal to Contract
The Project Co-ordinator
One of the project’s principal contractors is usually the co-ordinator, and as such is single-handedly responsible for ensuring the management and implementation of the project – including scientific, financial and administrative issues. As principal contractor one has full access with regard to the use of project results. The co-ordinator is the liaison with the Commission Project Officer assigned to the project.
The responsibilities of the co-ordinator vary throughout the project lifecycle:
The Project Plan
When preparing the project plan one should aim at specifying priorities, which are excellent scientifically, introduce a novelty value, and are competitive. The consortia should be able to perform tasks within the duration of the projects, and plan a budget and workpackages that are well tuned with each other. The project management issues should already be clarified and agreed upon during the planning phase. Naturally, besides focusing on the issues that bear the most weight, the co-ordinator, along with the other members of the consortium should also pay attention to appropriately and accurately specify and work out the rest of the project plan as well.
A good project plan is implemented according to a contract. During contract preparation and negotiation keep interests in tune, and collect and elaborate the components of the contract. It is especially difficult to co-ordinate the various interests when the evaluation experts and the Commission recommended the acceptance of the project with reduced or modified content and budget, when it affects specific project partners or a significant part of the consortium. The preparation process of the contract is also supported by several guidelines.
During the implementation and realization of the project ensuring timeliness and quality are the most crucial responsibilities of the co-ordinator. It is important that the members of the consortium co-operate well, for example, when determining “official” events or meetings of the project, when establishing and applying rules and procedures for preparing deliverables, for which several partners are jointly responsible, and especially when a partner – and its deliverable – “leaves” the project and missing work needs to be made up. It is also important that the teams prepare well in advance for the utilization of the results, by clarifying the rights
and responsibilities with regard to the results and knowledge generated during the project.
Project closing, the future
The last large component of the co-ordination tasks is the closing of the projects, and the finalization of the Dissemination and Use Plan. With partners from several countries, the evaluation of the deliverables and the management of the process is often a difficult, yet a very exciting leadership task. Further steps, new projects, preparative actions for sales, and the implementation of these open up a whole new chapter.
Costs, payments, settlements
The Commission makes most payments - the payment of the advance following the signature of the contract, the payments following the acceptance of presentations and deliverables, the final payment – to the co-ordinator, who is then responsible for its distribution among participants. The co-ordinator indicates and makes agreements with the Commission regarding allowable budgetary modifications, and summarizes, checks and forwards deliverables and cost claim forms as well.
Project management issues