Brussels, 25 Oct 2004
The Commission has published a guidance note for participants in its research framework programme, providing performance indicators for the assessment of Networks of Excellence (NoEs).
During the recent high level evaluation of the new instruments introduced under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), the panel's report concluded that there is widespread dissatisfaction within the European research community concerning the definition and application of NoEs and Integrated Projects.
In its guidance note, the Commission points out that while NoEs will be varied in their nature, content, structure and objectives, they will all have the common aim of overcoming fragmentation. The key requirement is to establish a set of verifiable indicators for measuring progress, it continues.
These indicators should include both quantitative goals that can be checked easily each year, such as the number of exchanges of personnel between the network partners, as well as qualitative goals, such as progress in terms of convergence of training programmes, that may require a deeper analysis.
Not only should these indicators be used to assess progress towards achieving the network's overall goal of durable integration, according to the Commission, but also to measure progress in reaching those intermediate milestones necessary to achieve the overall objective.
In stressing the importance of selecting indicators that measure true progress, the Commission explains: '[T]he setting up of common tools by the participants, although an indispensable condition to durable integration, does not per se demonstrate their will and actuality of durable integration. The existing and increasing use of these common tools by all participants will constitute an illustration of progress towards integration.'
The guidance note concludes with a list of examples of expected final results for a Network of Excellence, along with possible intermediate steps and indicators of the progress achieved. The Commission makes it clear that the list of final and intermediate results is not exhaustive, concluding: 'They are meant to provide examples of what could be expected from a network aiming at achieving a satisfactory level of integration at the end of the Community funding period.'
To download a copy of the guidance note, please consult the following web address: