LA³NET – ‘A project to be proud of’
These were the words of the Project Officer from the European Commission (EC) in the summing up of what was also described as an excellent project by the external reviewer.
The LA³NET Mid-Term Review took place on Monday 17th June 2013 and was hosted by Danfysik in Copenhagen. The meeting kicked-off with a welcome from our hosts Dr. Søren Stjernqvist, President of Danish Technological Institute and Dr. Bjarne Roger Nielsen, CEO of Danfysik A/S followed by an introduction by the REA representatives, the Coordinator and the Scientists-in-charge. Prof. Carsten Welsch then presented an overview of progress made in research, training and networking, as well as aspects of the management of the contract. Dr. Rob Ashworth then spoke about the events delivered so far, plans for the remainder of the contract and dissemination before the elected fellow spokesperson Andrii Borysenko delivered a most positive and convincing account of the fellows’ perspective. Finally, the fellows presented in turn about themselves, their projects and experiences of the network. All fellows then met with the REA representatives to discuss their experiences and views on the project in more detail. Meanwhile the consortium representatives gathered for a Supervisory Board meeting to discuss and plan future events.
The meeting reconvened after coffee for the two EC representatives to report on their impression of the network and make suggestions for the remaining period. The project officer summed up saying that it was an excellent Initial Training Network (ITN) with many particularly good aspects. They could see that all of the fellows were happy as shown by the anonymous questionnaires completed beforehand and discussion on the day. They also highlighted the real industry involvement and growing number of adjunct partners, as well as efforts and achievements in communication, coordination and dissemination as exceptionally successful areas.
They were also impressed with the researcher prize which was novel to them and the cohort of ESRs which was remarkable. The fellows themselves were dynamic and it was the first time that the tables had been turned on them during the ESR discussions and they had been given recommendations to take back to Brussels.
The project officer also had recommendations for maintaining project momentum stating that partner organisations should start thinking now about how the fellows may be supported to complete their PhDs after the project has ended. The full power of the network should be used to continue with the programme of secondments. The external reviewer added how impressed they were with the quality of the consortium, training, events, and the research work of the ESRs.
A tour of the Danfysik facilities on Tuesday morning followed by an excursion to the Carlsberg brewery for discussions in a more relaxed environment completed this important event.
Well done to all that contributed to a highly successful three days in Copenhagen. Also, a special thank you to Danfysik for hosting the event, in particular Dr. Arnd Baurichter, Jakob Krämer and Dr. Michael Budde for sorting out all the local arrangements and ensuring that it all ran so smoothly.