Clustering in Horizon Europe

With the European Commission insisting on the importance of multiplying impact across several projects usually funded under the same call, clustering in Horizon Europe becomes a critical activity. This means that proposals involving well-described, extensive clustering activities will have more chances of being granted. The present text outlines the importance of clustering in Horizon Europe and describes potential clustering activities Privanova implements in projects where we take part.

Importance of Clustering in Horizon Europe

Multiplying impact of a project by forming or joining a cluster means providing better collaboration and management across associated projects, structured knowledge sharing and benchmarking of project outcomes. This way, the clustered projects can provide technical, organisational and operational support to each other, maximise synergies and complementarities between associated projects and facilitate the achievement of their key impacts.

While Privanova usually leads ethics compliance efforts (performing privacy impact assessments, addressing the ethics requirements, leading the ethics advisory board, dealing with specific issues such as AI) or ensuring law enforcement participation and management, there are projects where we are tasked with cluster management.

In such case, our first objective is to create the cluster and ensure its success well before the proposal is submitted. To achieve this, Privanova combines our extensive network of partners with structured cooperation and knowledge sharing.

A coherent alliance of EU-funded projects focusing on the research, demonstration and deployment of innovative means and methods will deliver an added value to a proposal and be capable of supporting all its participants. The Cluster will also ensure and promote collaboration with other relevant actions multiplying their overall impact. We put in place tangible commitments from similar proposals or already funded projects to ensure and show in our own proposals the close collaboration between cluster members through regular meetings, communication and better strategic planning across projects. Finally, Privanova negotiates and delivers in the proposal a comprehensive, integrated approach to cross-dissemination, shared communications and synergies for the exploitation of results.

Beyond Cross-Dissemination

In our vision, Clustering in Horizon Europe goes beyond the usual notion of cross-dissemination. It includes collaboration with other EU-funded projects and must explore the possibilities for creating synergies addressing the research, innovation, exploitation and administration dimensions, thus increasing overall impact of the cluster on the European and global levels. The coordination and support activities performed within the Cluster must specifically target projects with compatible goals.

To be successful, a cluster should fulfill several important roles for its members. This approach opens up new opportunities for shared strategic planning and risk management, networking and coordination between programmes. Here are some of the activities Privanova implements in some of the projects where we take part:

Cluster Administration

One of the most important tasks of the cluster administration is to establish a coordinator network – a common decision-making body for associated projects. This means that a common platform for coordinators must exist to manage their activities and support each other. The purpose of the cluster administration is to explore synergies between associated projects and other national and regional initiatives as well as to address risks and barriers relevant to the overall success of the Cluster.

Cluster Meetings

The organisation of regular, often online cluster meetings avoids reinventing the wheel and duplication of results across several projects. In this area, the clustered project should strive for consistency in actions and early consolidation of project outcomes. In addition, they have a chance to align technologies and other outcomes to achieve higher impact and foster take-up of results by end-users. The goal here is to ensure sustainability of results for all clustered projects by aiding their deployment into existing EU infrastructures or the update by the end-users.

Cluster Workshops

Depending on the nature of the cluster, the scientific fields its project target, cluster workshops can fulfil different roles. In our experience, they are usually one of the best tools when we want to achieve structured knowledge-sharing and set up thematic expertise-based working groups. For those projects where different groups of stakeholders are present, the cluster workshops can also:

  • Reinforce interactions between research, industry and NGOs
  • Reinforce interactions between end-users and standardisation bodies
  • Reinforce interactions between civil society and policy makers on local and regional levels

Cluster Capacity building

Capacity building is one of the clustering activities usually facing the end-users or other project stakeholders. For law enforcement projects where Privanova takes part (such as CC-DRIVER), we usually aim to facilitate organisation of capacity building activities across associated projects and ensure free-of-charge cross-participation of end-users, project staff and interested parties. Depending on the nature of the training provided, we can also help the coordinators to select appropriate content and timing of the sessions depending on projects developments (requirements analysis early in the project lifecycle, technology developments or piloting and testing towards the end of the project). We also directly provide capacity building activities in the area of law enforcement or help the clustered consortia understand the Ethics Appraisal Process in the EU.

Cluster communication

Increasing the scope of project’s individual communication and dissemination activities is what is usually achieved by the usual approach relying on the cross-dissemination. This activity can be greatly extended. For example, it can ensure more effective cluster communication via social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs and Newsletters. Close collaboration in this area can also help cluster participants to identify and implement best communication ideas across all associated projects and engage them to share and promote each-other’s content.

Cluster dissemination

Critical for the cluster, dissemination activities must go beyond the cross-dissemination and deliver information sharing between associated projects. One of the best uses of the cluster dissemination is to engage the common pool of stakeholders across all clustered projects and work with them on policy issues, regulatory gaps and standardisation. Organised approach to cluster dissemination ensures identification of relevant events (i.e. conferences, exhibitions and fairs) and facilitates joint participation in them, co-organisation of special sessions at international conferences.

Cluster exploitation

Well planned joint exploitation activities within the cluster help its participants to consider potential for commercialization across projects as well as the creation of spin-offs. At Privanova, we usually recommend our project partners to discuss relevant IPR issues in detail and share best practices on overcoming IPR barriers across clustered projects. Finally, we promote exploitability of project outcomes as open access and open source.