Brussels, 16 October 2006
With Boosting Baltic project entering its final months, and its mission largely accomplished, the project partners are looking further east with a view to increasing the participation of Belarusian and Ukrainian scientists in EU research programmes.
The Boosting Baltic project has sought to increase the participation of researchers from the Baltic states in the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The partners worked with two target groups: National Contact Points (NCPs) and the life science research communities in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The project started in September 2004 and will end in January 2007.
Speaking to CORDIS News, project coordinator Frank Graage explained that the aim was to 'close the gap so that they [the new, Baltic EU Member States] were equal partners'.
The results have been encouraging - not only have a number of projects with Baltic partners received FP6 funding following support from Boosting Baltic, but Dr Graage is confident that researchers throughout the region will continue to collaborate, even after his project comes to an end.
A number of workshops, run according to the 'learning by doing' principle, guided researchers on how to submit proposals to the European Commission, and resulted in 30% of submitted proposals receiving funding.
At an NCP level the Boosting Baltic partners provided coaching on how to evaluate project proposals prior to their submission to the Commission. NCPs were also encouraged to start thinking more about becoming project coordinators. 'They saw themselves as small, but there is much scientific competence in these countries,' said Dr Graage.
In the last phase of the project, the team will organise a number of events in the region promoting FP7, and will also publicise an electronic guide on participating in the framework programmes, developed within the project.
The partners considered applying for funding to continue the project in FP7, but believe that they have already done what they set out to achieve. 'They are as ready as the others, at least the NCPs,' says Dr Graage.
He does however think that the approach taken in the Boosting Baltic project could be applied to other countries - he mentioned Russia, Belarus and Ukraine as examples. Of these countries, Dr Graage says: 'We need to collaborate with them much stronger. At working level we need more intense cooperation. [...] They are very keen on having such projects.'
For further information on Boosting Baltic, please visit: http://www.scanbalt.org/sw2.asp