June 26, 2022

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The formal European Commission (EC) guidelines specify that a Horizon Europe project proposal should appoint a consortium beneficiary. This consortium beneficiary serves as the central contact point while representing the consortium towards the EC, and they are also known as the coordinator. A coordinator’s budget should include a designated share for project management activities.

You may have several questions, including, what does it mean to be the appointed coordinator for a Horizon Europe project? What do the role’s potential responsibilities and implications entail in the project consortium? Also, what are the tips that can help you choose a project coordinator successfully? Can you be a coordinator?

Although you can find information on https://www.emdesk.com/horizon-europe, this article discusses answers to these specific questions. 

Who is the Coordinator?

The Horizon Europe project development has a natural process including the scientific outline’s initiation and framing, the formulation of a solid consortium, and leading the efforts put in proposal writing, including work division, tasks allocation, budget share assigning to each partner. Other steps include consolidating the proposal’s administrative sections, including ethical issues and partners info. The last step is the submission of the complete proposal.

Usually, it is common practice that a project proposal’s initiator is also automatically the project’s coordinator. Nevertheless, in most cases, this is due to a habit’s inertial force, and unfortunately, it may cause you to ignore any potential implications on the implementation of the project. Therefore, fully grasping the concept of being a Horizon Europe project coordinator is essential before making decisions regarding assigning and taking the role.

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What Are the Coordinator’s Responsibilities?

A Horizon Europe project coordinator carries out the initiation and management of the signing processes of the grant agreement (GA) with the EC once the project is retained for funding. The coordinator also manages the drafting and signing processes of the consortium agreement (CA) between the partners; nevertheless, this step is not mandatory. After settling the above, the coordinator leads and launches the project execution with other beneficiaries. Furthermore, there is a line of mandatory responsibilities that a coordinator has to perform during the project’s lifetime; This is in addition to the scientific tasks a coordinator may have as the consortium partner.

What Are the Coordinator’s Responsibilities According to The Model Grant Agreement Article 7(b)?

A coordinator is tasked with monitoring the proper implementation of the action. Also, unless the agreement or granting authority says otherwise, the coordinator acts as the communications intermediary between the consortium and the granting authority. The communications include; submitting the prefinancing guarantees to the granting authority (if available) and requesting and reviewing the required documents or information. Also, verifying their completeness and quality before passing them to the granting authority is essential

Furthermore, communications include the submission of deliverables and reports to the granting authority and informing the granting authority about payments made to other beneficiaries.

Another function of a coordinator includes distributing received payments without unjustified delay from the granting authority to other beneficiaries.

A More Comprehensive List of a Coordinator’s Responsibilities 

Below is a non-exhaustive list of things a coordinator is expected to include;

  • Acting as a communications intermediary between the EC and all beneficiaries
  • Monitoring and controlling the project’s work plan and ensuring the action is adequately implemented.
  • Arranging consortium meetings and subsequent reporting
  • Implementing quality procedures for the project
  • Gathering, monitoring, and consolidating scientific and technical content for periodical reports
  • Administering project resources, including budget-related issues
  • Preparing, managing, and coordinating the project’s financial checks
  • Handling management, including the distribution of payments to the beneficiaries
  • Consolidating the project reports and deliverables and maintaining quality assurance, including the submission to the EC
  • Overseeing the provision of a project management electronic platform
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What Are the Other Points to Note About a Horizon Europe Project Coordinator?

Within a collaborative Horizon Europe project, the formed collaborations are new in many cases. Usually, the consortium partners are located in different countries, and they may have potential additional projects and obligations in mind. Therefore, a coordinator needs to facilitate communications for the consortium partners to ensure the forming and engagement of fruitful collaborative work.

Many coordinators from academia focus on the implementation of their scientific tasks. Therefore, there is a risk of minimizing or neglecting the ongoing management of the project’s administrative and financial issues. In some cases, the neglect can affect the project’s smooth execution. Usually, this is more evident in industrial coordinators new to Horizon Europe or who have little experience coordinating Horizon Europe projects.

All involved partners must pay attention, cooperate, and contribute to achieving a project’s planned goals. Therefore, a coordinator needs to be constantly active while keeping an open and ongoing communications channel between all parties. The coordinator also needs to closely monitor a project’s success to ensure its smooth implementation.

Summarily, it is clear that you need a well-thought-out strategic plan before appointing a project coordinator. The plan helps in maximizing the project’s resources, including time and money. Apart from being the executive administrative and financial manager, the project coordinator has many roles. Researchers or scientists can opt for a professional coordinator if they are interested in scientific leadership and the administrative aspects of a project’s coordination.