Research beyond borders

National Contact Points… We exist, but what exactly do we do and how can we help you?

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Today we have a guest post from your friendly UK National Contact point who helps researchers and research offices with understanding European Funding.

My name is Sam McGregor and I’ve been the UK National Contact Point for the FP7 Socio-economic  Sciences and Humanities (SSH) since September 2009. The SSH theme aims to generate through policy-relevant research and  in-depth understanding of a broad range of complex and interrelated challenges facing Europe, from economic growth and competitiveness, to social cohesion/inclusion and cultural heritage; from sustainability and environmental challenges to issues of migration and demographic change. The role of National Contact Points (or NCPs) is to guide researchers in the intrepid quest for securing EU funding.

As an NCP my role is varied; I can be updating my website (see link below) with useful/interesting articles and events in the morning and reading and commenting on official European Commission documents in the afternoon. But my main responsibility (and, I must say, the one I enjoy the most) is speaking to potential applicants about how they can get involved with FP7. Whether it’s responding to an email, over the phone or in person at an event, I’m happy to discuss potential project ideas, partner searching tips, the process or anything else that can help you to succeed in gaining EU funding. I suppose you could think of me as an agony aunt, on hand with tissues and a bar of Galaxy during your SSH journey!

Although the Social Sciences appear to do better out of the FP7 SSH ‘deal’, there are many opportunities for Humanities researchers. In fact, the SSH 2013 Work Programme specifically highlights 19 ‘opportune avenues’ which might be of particular interest, for example SSH.2013.5.2-1: The multilingual challenge for Europe and SSH.2013.5.2-2: Transmitting and benefitting from cultural heritage in Europe (see European Commission Work Programmes are go! blog post from July 2012 for more information on calls).  The Commission is quick to point out that FP7 SSH projects are interdisciplinary, and that the Humanities have a role to play in all calls. There are some that are more strongly humanities but it’s unlikely that a Humanities-led project on ‘Better integrating financial markets into policy focussed macro models’ will be successful so you need to match expertise to projects! 

Humanities researcher participation in FP7 SSH is an on-going success story, with almost every project involving the Humanities in some vein. And the reasons they’re participating are numerous from engaging in cutting edge research, strengthening their international networks and making new contacts, to working at the interface between disciplines, to being at the heart of the European research arena.

So, I hear you ask, what are my top tips for Arts and Humanities researchers? Simple, BEPRIMED:

  • Balance of sectors and disciplines – make sure you’re recruiting the right person    for the job.
  • Managing Expectations is crucial – FP7 is competitive and not everyone will be funded.
  • Project management – who will coordinate the project and how?
  • Address the Research dimensions!
  • What will the Impact of your research be?
  • Define your Methodology – including both qualitative and quantitative analyses can lead to broader interdisciplinary reach.
  •  Pay attention to the Evaluation criteria – they’re equally weighted and points mean prizes!
  • Don’t be put off – the opportunities exist but you’ve got to be in it to win it!

If you’re interested in FP7 SSH and would like more information, or if you have a project idea you’d like to discuss, you can contact me via a number of channels:

Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 413141

Email: samantha.mcgregor@esrc.ac.uk

Website: https://ktn.innovateuk.org/web/fp7-socio-economic

If you’re on Twitter you can follow me @sammibmcg

There are NCPs for all the European Commission funding areas including Marie Curie and the European Research Council – find the details here.”

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One thought on “National Contact Points… We exist, but what exactly do we do and how can we help you?

  1. Great post Sam, you do a great job (and your hair is very shiny in that picture!)

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