Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

Irish Consultation on the next EU research funding programme

March 30th, 2011

This has been cross posted to my TSSG blog.

This was a short 1/2 day workshop I was recently invited to participate in. The Framework Programmes (FP7 and everything before) have to date, been the European Union’s chief instrument for funding research. Preparations for the next programme 2014-2020 (now called Horizon 2020) and the new Common Strategic Framework for Research and Innovation are now underway and the priorities are being discussed at national and European levels. Ireland has the opportunity to influence the direction and balance of European research and so the purpose of this workshop was to provide input to Ireland’s national submission to the European Commission in response to its Green Paper “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding [pdf]”.

This European wide consultation began in February of 2011, with its purpose to collect opinion on the future of research and innovation funding and co-operation into the next decade in Europe.

The paper itself asks (27) questions about how future funding systems might improve on previous ones, whether new mechanisms are needed and how the elements of the funding system should be balanced, which would have a direct effect on the funding allocated to certain schemes.

This Irish national consultation was led by the Advisory Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (ACSTI) and the drive of the workshop was to refine and develop the views gathered so far from the research and innovation communities in Ireland on the questions put in the European Commission’s Green Paper.

The workshop was opened by the chair Professor Anita Maguire were upon the purpose, structure, key themes and issues for discussion was explained.

  • Benefits of being in the Framework Programmes;
  • Making research and innovation funding more attractive and easy to access for participants;
  • Public-private partnerships;
  • Training and exchange schemes;
  • How to best cover the whole innovation cycle;
  • How to strengthen industry participation;

Once this overview was given the room was split into groups and each group was given the task of commenting on a sub-set of the questions, I was in the group for questions 1 -7. While I though the majority of the responses were fine I was a little concerned with the responses to questions 1 and 2, it seems with group I was in thought so too.

We offered feedback, and in some small way I’m glad to see it was considered as the process is now complete and the final Irish submission to the green paper can be read off this link [pdf] changes to questions 1 and 2 afoot.

In fact there were 13 responses from Ireland, Chemical and Physical Sciences Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, Electricity Supply Board, Forfas, Health Research Board, Irish Research Staff Association, Irish Universities Association, Marine Institute, National Committee for Geographical Sciences, Royal Irish Academy, Science Foundation Ireland, University College Dublin, and one from our very own Jim Clarke, Waterford Institute of Technology for which I also offered some input.

While the process can seem long winded, in fact all the opportunities are there to have your spoke in the programme, you just have to take the time to source those opportunities well in advance.

Hosting a webinar presentation on FP7

March 19th, 2010

Wow, now that was an experience and a half. Earlier in the year while attending a presentation session in DIT on FP7, the folks in Enterprise Ireland asked if I would be interested to present a set of slides on how to write a proposal towards the FP7 ICT programme in a webinar. Now given I had just taken the very early train up from Waterford to Dublin, a Luas and then a small walk to the DIT boardroom on Cathal Brugha street and was soon to be rushing back for the train home, the thought that all this travel could be removed and replaced with a 1 hour webinar intrigued me, I said “Yes of course” in an instant, and from that point on worried and wondered about how exactly you host & run a webinar presentation.
I started with a mind map, whenever I come up against an item with a large number of variables I gather my thoughts in a mind map, a little hint of the one for this webinar can be seen below.
I spent sometime attending webinars, and given that gotomeeting were the technology providers for this session, I stuck with their offered meetings over a two week period. A good one to start with is this view on-demand webinar called “Your First Webinar – Understanding What’s Involved” (note you will have to register with the service before viewing the content). I picked up a lot of pointers off of this one and I also attended two hosted webinars as a participant.
Now it was time to prepare the presentation, moving from mind map to full presentation isn’t always a smooth task but I got there.
Next up were the training sessions. The folks in Enterprise Ireland were extremely helpful in this regard, they really allowed for the fact that I hadn’t used such a system before, I mean there are a ton of items on the Gotomeeting control panel, Questions/Answers, Screen Sharing, Voice recognition, IM Chat panel, Poll Panel, as a presenter you can easily got distracted. It was clear that we should have a moderator assigned to the main control of the webinar, and a person assigned to deal with questions/answers & the polls and just leave the presenter …. present.
It was hours before we actually got to do the first full dry run of the presentation, and it was during this period that the usefulness of the screen sharing application really came to light. I edited numerous slides there and then, with only a couple of small items that I had to be fixed up after that particular session, which I think is great.
The big day arrives, we had agreed to meet up half an hour before the presentation time, and low and behold there were people already logged in and ready for the webinar, which throw us all a little as we were unsure what the attendees could or could not see and hear. It transpires they cannot see a thing, but as a panelist in the system you don’t know this, so we had to IM some folks to let us know what was happening from their perspective.
As we got closer to kick off time, “How to write a successful proposal – The views of an ICT expert” is about to start and nerves start to creep in. I hate the word expert, and the expectation is that everything is then going to be perfect, and I could hear a bit of feedback in the headset, which I had not heard before, so I started to think that the vocal part of the presentation would start to degrade!
Before it could be discussed we had to get underway, Intro given by EI, I start the slides get 5 slides in and ……… we had to start again. It turns out the Broadcast button hadn’t been turned on, so attendees could see slides moving but no audio. I had spotted later that some kind folks in the TSSG were sending me IM messages on this, but unfortunately I didn’t spot them as I was in complete presentation mode.
We started again, and this time ran through the slides as you can see below. I received some positive feedback on the session, and I really appreciated this as during a webinar it really is just you and the slides, there is no other sense of a listening audience, and I found this tough, I wondered if people were still interested after slide 21.
Anyway I really liked the polls, it gave me a break from talking for a minute, and the only thing we didn’t do was get a screen shot of the results. At the very end during the question and answer session there was a slight system failure on my side as the CPU on my machine went to 100% usage for about 2 mins, which meant I couldn’t do anything and the audience couldn’t hear anything, but it did eventually come back at the end. Once the controller had filtered some of the questions they were easy for me to see, maybe not so easy for me to answer though!
Would I do this again, absolutely and I will now encourage a number of agencies to host more information sessions through webinars.
The slides from the session can be seen below. Also the full webinar is still available on GotoMeeting, so if you missed it you can still have a sneak peek from when you go to do your first webinar.

What a week of news for the TSSG

March 1st, 2009

It all started with an overview of what we are doing today laid out as a blueprint for the next economy, to what we plan to do in the future in the SFI Strategic Research Cluster.
NYC - MoMA: Design and the Elastic Mind - NSSs: Non-Stop Shoes by wallyg (flickr)
Here’s the press release and some follow up on RTE, and the Times.

Speed Partnering EU style

January 22nd, 2009

The ICT Proposers Day 2009 kicks off today and wow what an agenda [pdf]!
ICT Proposers Day 2009, Budapest
In order to browse the site I have found it easier to go straight to the 2009-2010 priorities section and from there work my way through the challenges.
As for the ICT Proposers’ Day 2009 :: Browse ideas section ….. well now I’m finding it hard to tell the wood from the trees!
Well to help out, there are a number of TSSG folks out in Budapest, like Alan offering ideas, and and John presenting our research work.
It should be an interest event.

Experiences of an Irish Researcher in FP6

September 4th, 2007

On the 18th of July last I was asked to present at an Enterprise Ireland information seminar in Waterford, highlighting the opportunities and support structures for Irish SME’s to become involved in projects within the EU 7th Framework Programme.
As the Framework Programme 7 presents fresh opportunities for SME’s, via the “Capacities Research for the Benefit of SME’s” Programme, to engage with other European partners, this seminar was put in place to provide an opportunity for delegates to hear first hand from experienced framework participants and the opportunity to network amongst their industry and third level peers.
(Can you tell I’ve ripped this blurb from the Agenda text?)
My presentation “Experiences of an Irish Researcher in FP6” can be found on the link provided and is also embedded below.

The event was well attended and I enjoyed giving the presentation. Given that the deadline for FP7-SME-2007-1 just closed an hour ago I thought it might be an idea to release this entry and get people thinking about the next Call.

FP7 ICT Call 2 is Open

June 13th, 2007

The EU FP7 ICT : Cooperation : Call 2 opened yesterday.
The main Objectives being covered include:
ICT-2007.1.6 New paradigms and experimental facilities
ICT-2007.3.5 Photonic components and subsystems
ICT-2007.3.6 Micro/nanosystems
ICT-2007.3.7 Networked embedded and control systems
ICT-2007.5.3 Virtual physiological human
ICT-2007.6.2 ICT for cooperative systems
ICT-2007.6.3 ICT for environmental management and
energy efficiency

ICT-2007.7.2 Accessible and inclusive ICT
Of most interest to me will be the New paradigms and experimental facilities ” with it looking at advanced networking approaches to the Future Internet coupled with their validation in large scale testing environments and the interconnected test beds.

Revving up for EU FP7 Call 2

June 8th, 2007

EU FP7 Call 1 proposals are being evaluated this week (June 4th -8th, so even with all those pent up nerves, it’s still time to look forward to Call 2 and the FIRE Initiative.
With the help of Jim C. we should get some feedback on the Objective ICT-2007.1.6 : New Paradigms and Experimental Facilities Information day on 14 June 2007 [pdf].