Welcome and introduction by Jörg Scherer, Managing Director

The underlying principal business idea of Eurice is quite simple: Moving from passive reaction to pro-active support, from formalized, administrative response to a personalized customer-oriented service aligned to strategic research objectives.

Everything started in the late 1990s when I worked as the EU-liaison officer of Saarland University and was re-thinking a discussion I had with a frustrated and visibly annoyed scientist who was responsible for the coordination of a collaborative EU-funded project within the 4th EU Framework Programme. Although there was no fault on my own, the scientist blamed me for any excessive EU bureaucracy and complex administrative burden he experienced in his coordinator’s function. He simply requested: “Please, do not tell me what I could or should do to administer my project, do it for me” - And he was right!

Indeed, EU programmes very often are a great chance and a big burden at the same time – let’s say at least they are a big challenge for everyone – no matter if you are a senior scientist at a university or the owner of a small company looking for cross-border R&D cooperation.

Over the last few years, I’ve been confronted with many different perceptions about European research funding programmes – ranging from the very positive to the absolute negative. And mostly, I could relate to their opinion as when working in EU-funded projects (or any other larger collaborative R&D project) you will definitely find out the two sides of the same coin. It’s obvious that the planning and successful implementation of larger international research collaborations will never be simple or something you do as an aside. As a corollary of this matter of fact, it is a fallacy, incidentally still a very common one, that even larger research networks or collaborative projects should be managed by researches themselves among their scientific duties. To avoid any misunderstanding, I am very much in favour of any efforts to simplify extensive bureaucracy and complex or redundant administrative procedures and there is a strong need and a huge exercise area to work on. But it is for sure, that dependent on the size and type of projects, the successful implementation of the project – including valorization of results – requires a professional management.

I know that there are millions of reasons not to apply for an EU grant and I’ve heard many of them but those who endeavored to engage with those programmes mostly comment that it’s definitely worth a try. There is a lot to gain and little to lose. Especially nowadays, in times of financial crisis and given the fact that the immense research costs needed for ground-breaking/ enabling technologies are hardly to carry by single entities, “Cooperation” and “Open Innovation” have proven to be a valuable scheme for future-oriented innovation.  Besides scientific excellence, which is  - and will remain - without doubt the most crucial element of any R&D cooperation, the success of larger collaborative projects depends on the way the project is managed. The management of a collaborative research project comprises a number of different activities, including administrative & organizational tasks, communication & networking, monitoring & quality management as well as dissemination & exploitation activities.

I am proud to say that in the over ten years since its formation, Eurice has continuously developed and optimized its portfolio of research management services according to the needs and demands expressed by scientists and entrepreneurs in our partner projects. And, calling ourself a “dynamic learning organization”, we will continue to listen to the demands of the scientific community and will develop and adapt our support services accordingly.
When I started my business in late 1990s, I had no detailed masterplan what Eurice services will look like in ten years’ time but I was - and I still am – driven by a very firm conviction that our support services not only release scientists from major administrative and organizational burden but contribute significantly to a better use and dissemination of results generated in the project – to the benefit of the society and the taxpayer financing public research funding.

Looking back on the very positive development Eurice made in the last ten years, from a one-man company to a well-established project management office with over 30 qualified staff members, I am very grateful to anyone who contributed to pave the way for this success story.

Finally, I would like to invite you to learn more about our team, services and project activities on our website. If you are interested in getting in touch with us, we would be very happy to discuss any cooperation opportunities with you.

Yours sincerely,

Jörg Scherer
Managing Director