Where To Get Support?

'Institutional networking' with the relevant funding agencies and support offices (as well as 'science networking') is a trivial, but nonetheless important aspect that may determine the success of an EU proposal.

Building a good EU proposal is not limited to proposing an outstanding and innovative research topic, but depends also on many other parameters (e.g. knowledge of general thematic and political orientations of a call, proper understanding of the "European added value" idea, issues related to the management quality of a project, composition of the consortium, application documents and procedures).

EU funding activities seem, due to their organisational, legal and political complexity, particularly prone to a variety of pitfalls (->see section on “How to write a good proposal”). It will therefore - and especially to project co-ordinators - be useful to rely on experts’ advice from Max Planck Society, German Federal Ministry of Research (via National Contact Points, NCP), and the European Commission.

This section provides interested researchers and potential applicants with a number of useful links and contacts. These should offer valuable advice and assistance while preparing an EU proposal or managing an EU project.

1. Max-Planck local or regional EU offices

Researchers wishing to participate in FP7 should first contact a nearby Max-Planck local or regional EU office. These offices provide very specific advice and help during bid preparation, proposal writing and contract negotiation. They are familiar with Max-Planck specifics (e.g. legal and financial issues) and co-operate closely with the legal service of MP headquarters in München and the MP EU office in Brussels.  A survey of links to MP EU offices will be available by summer 2008.

Researcher from MPI in Freiburg im Breisgau, Stuttgart and Tübingen may contact the EU regional office Baden-Württemberg. MPI für Intelligente Systeme in Stuttgart should first turn to

2. National Contact Points (NCP)

It is very much recommended to submit a first project outline to the relevant National Contact Point as well in order to receive advice and feedback on the proposal’s scientific and management quality. NCP usually appoint highly specialised experts with scientific background who cover particular areas of a thematic programme. Besides, NCP also offer newsletters, information days and training workshops that provide additional or in-depth information on calls etc. We recommend that applicants start keeping in touch with their NCP scientific contact as early as possible. The NCP web portal is only available in German.

  • List of NCP experts
  • NCP webpage “Tipps für eine erfolgreiche Antragstellung” (How to write a successful proposal)
  • NCP brochure “Antragstellung im 7. EU-Forschungsrahmenprogramm - Leitfaden für eine erfolgreiche Beteiligung” (PDF) (Guidance notes for applicants - advice is kept on a general level)
  • NCP webpage “Glossar der wichtigsten Begriffe zum 7. FRP” (Glossary of the most important terms regarding FP7)
  • NCP-Newsletter (subscription and archive)
  • Information Days

3. European Commission and its CORDIS server

Whereas the European Commission is not officially involved with advice and feedback during the proposal stage, it might still be useful to get in touch with the EU scientific officer who is in charge of the relevant thematic area (->see below “EU COM Address book”). His or her unofficial feedback can e.g. provide you with valuable background information about your proposal’s topic, consortium structure and budget, or about important EU publications in the field.

In addition, the European Commission`s Participant Portal offers a platform for finding research partners and searching for FP6 projects in a given research field. It furthermore provides comprehensive access to the relevant application documents and calls as well as to the electronic Participant Portal Electronic Submission (PPSS). The Commission can also be contacted via its Enquiry Service and the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) helpdesk.

4. KoWi - Koordinierungsstelle EG der Wissenschaftsorganisationen

The Brussels located KoWi - an EU liaison Office of German Research Organisations - provides another good opportunity to find European research partners.

5. ACCESS4EU - Database for international funding opportunities

The ACCESS4EU database provides information about worldwide funding possibilities open to European researchers in non-EU countries. It aims at increasing the awareness funding opportunities for international research projects in third countries

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