Brussels, 07 Nov 2003
As agreed by the Council of Ministers during negotiations on the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), a mid-term evaluation is to be carried out on the effectiveness of the programme's new instruments - Networks of Excellence and Integrated Projects.
The high level expert panel charged with carrying out the evaluation is to be chaired by Ramon Marimon, Spanish Secretary of State for Science and Technology from 2000 until 2002, and a renowned economics researcher at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, which he himself founded.
'The mandate of the panel was decided by the Council,' Dr Marimon told CORDIS News. 'It is to assess how the instruments are doing their job in meeting the goals of the Sixth Framework Programme - structuring and developing the European Research Area.'
Dr Marimon believes he was selected by the Commission to chair the expert panel because of the role he played in reaching an institutional agreement on FP6 during the Spanish Presidency in the first half of 2002.
'I had to know the whole of FP6 quite well for all the discussions that took place, and the Spanish Presidency was a crucial time for approval. [...] I was coordinating the discussion with the Parliament to avoid going to a conciliation process. We got it done in time and I was very involved in this process,' said Dr Marimon.
But Dr Marimon is not only approaching the new instruments from the perspective of a policy maker. 'I am also a researcher and know what it's like to participate in these sorts of programmes,' he added.
Asked whether it is perhaps too early to get a full picture of how successful the new instruments have been, Dr Marimon said that 'it would be a mistake to wait too long, as we would miss how the process is developing.' He added that it would give the Commission the opportunity to find out whether it is 'going in the right direction.'
The panel will already be able to assess whether the Networks of Excellence and Integrated Projects are fulfilling their goals, believes Dr Marimon. Evaluation at this early stage will focus on how the instruments are perceived by the research community and how they are being implemented.
Another reason for starting the evaluation process now is that Dr Marimon intends to make recommendations in time for the second round of calls under FP6, as well as for the Seventh Framework Programme. A full evaluation of the instruments, which will indicate how they have contributed to scientific publications and results will take many years, he added.
Dr Marimon emphasised that the high level expert panel will not work behind closed doors. 'That was clear from the beginning,' he said. 'What we need is to have feedback.' The feedback will be obtained through a variety of platforms. Questionnaires will be sent to all those who have submitted proposals under FP6, regardless of whether they were successful or not. A number of hearings will also be held across Europe, and the questionnaire, along with additional information on the evaluation, will be made available on CORDIS.
Dr Marimon's co-evaluators were described by him as 'a very good panel'. He is particularly pleased that they represent not only different scientific fields, but also public and private research and a geographic balance.
The first stage of the evaluation, an analysis of the results of the first calls for proposals, will be carried out before the end of the year, and the final report will be delivered in June 2004. Further information on the mid-term evaluation will be available soon at the following web address: http:///www.cordis.lu/fp6/instruments_rev iew