Selecting Partners for Research Projects
Increasingly funding bodies require that projects are collaborative; this gives the possibility of bringing together the skills of people from a range of disciplines. However it requires extra resource to successfully manage the project.
Partners may come from academia, other research organisations, industry (both large and small companies) as well as bodies such as user organisations. One motivation for participation in a project is likely to be financial. However partners may have other motivations for their participation. Academics often want to publish peer-reviewed papers and train their research students. Some universities are becoming more interested in owning the intellectual property rights associated with the output of the project.
The role of user organisations can often be problematic. They may participate in the project in order to influence the direction of the project so that the results are potentially relevant to their users. However, they often lack the appropriate research skills to fully participate in the project.
In collaborative projects, potential problems include:
- The named person from a partner organisation in the proposal is not seen again after the initial meeting.
- A lack of understanding of what is expected from a partner.
- A partner effectively does their own project irrespective of what was in the proposal or needed by the other partners.
- Change in personnel during the period of the project. It is not uncommon for an industrial partner to move the work from one individual to another; the effect can sometimes be delays while the new person is brought up to speed.
- The partner was only interested in the money and never had any intention of doing any work for the project.
- Some partners do not think it is important to adhere to time schedules.
So in choosing potential partners for a collaborative project, it is suggested that you check:
- They have skills which will contribute to the overall project.
- Their motivation for participating in the project.
- Who will be doing the work, and the back-up arrangements if this person is no longer available.
- Whether these individuals have good command of the language being used by the other project partners.
- Whether the organisation has the resources to handle the administrative aspects of the project.
- Whether they can tolerate delayed payments from the funding organisation.
Last updated: 20.11.2009 © Copyright reserved Website design: Digital Accessibility Team