Participants in EU-funded research and technology development projects from FP6 (2002-2006), most of which will have ended by now, and for those involved in on-going FP7 projects (2007-2013), or those planning to submit proposals for current or future FP7 calls for proposal, might be interested in the two reports from this week\'s \"What\'s new of the EC Research web site\" newsletter (see links below). These make interesting reading.
FP6 Ex-post Evaluation - Report of the Expert GroupIn 2008, the Commission appointed an Expert Group to undertake an evidence-based, ex-post evaluation of FP6, the group meeting six times between July 2008 and January 2009. This report is the result of our work. In addition to analysing and drawing conclusions from the past, we make recommendations and formulate a vision for new dimensions of European Research and Technological Development (RTD) policy.First FP7 Monitoring Report (Monitoring Report 2007)This first FP7 Monitoring Report covers the year 2007 and is the first one based on a completely new approach: While in FP6 and previous Framework Programmes monitoring had been implemented through annual panels of independent experts which selected specific areas of FP implementation and performance to analyse and report on, the FP7 monitoring system is designed as an internal management tool, based on a coherent system of indicators. In the FP6 evaluation report, one learns that the \"average time to contract\" for FP6 projects (measured from receipt of proposal to signing of contract) was 384 days, with \"75% of contracts being signed within 454 days - 15 months\"! Various reasons are exposed for this and recommendations made at the end of the report for how things could be, and should be, done better in FP7 and future Framework Programmes. This prompts the expert review panel to comment in the report: \"This is not quite international worst practice among RTD funders but comes very close to it.\"Some improvement must have been made in procedure, as we find in the first FP7 monitoring report that \"time to contract\" on same measurement scale, had been reduced to \"291 days (median 287 days)\" for the projects where such statistics could be determined, i.e. \"calls for which at least 70% of all expected grant agreements have been signed.\"But pity the poor evaluators, evaluation observers and even invited meeting experts for FP7. Not only are these selected experts still being reimbursed at a daily rate which is little changed from 20 years ago, but only 6.7% of payments to evaluator and evaluation observers were made on time in 2007; 41.84% for meeting experts and 47.84% for review and monitoring experts.One begins to question just where it is, in the European Commission\'s composition or infrastructure, that such delays continue to plague the Framework Programmes - now in their 7th incarnation?! One would have thought that, with nearly 30 years experience with the FPs, things might have improved a bit more than seems to have been achieved to date. Will FP7 be more successful - administratively - than prior FPs? Only time will tell.
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