Every call needs a mix of partners in order to fill its requirements, but finding the right partner is often easier said than done. Many researchers find it difficult to know where to start the search for new research partners. Typically, the problem isn’t that researchers aren’t looking for new partners, they’re just searching in the wrong places. Searching for research partners for your next EU projects under Horizon 2020 (H2020) can be quite time consuming, especially with limited time and resources.Here are 5 suggestions where to look and how to find your next research partners in Horizon 2020.
1. Core partners
The first place you should look when searching for new research partners is within your core partner network, especially if you’ve implemented a few Horizon 2020 projects together in the past. Your core research partners are likely to also have their own networks, giving you access to other potential partners.
You may find it worthwhile to look deeper into European partnerships in order to extend your networking opportunities. Depending on your field of research, these partnerships include: Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking, Bio-based Industry Joint Undertaking, and Nanomedicine ETP, and many more.
2. Conferences & Brokerage Events
Conferences and brokerage events are where researchers from around the world meet to exchange ideas and get inspired. Participating in these events will allow you to meet stakeholders that share the same specialized research interests as you. Make the best out of coffee and lunch breaks by mingling with people and be sure to set-up one-on-one meetings with any potential research partners. You may find that even if someone is unable to partner with you at the moment, that they may have some colleagues or connections who might be interested.
3. Be a project enthusiast
People won’t know what you’re working on unless you talk about it. Be a project enthusiast and tell others what you’re working on wherever you go. It could be at dinner with friends, riding a plane, or even waiting at the doctor’ office that you find your next partner. You can meet research partners in the most unlikely and surprising places. The power of this approach is that even when the people you meet don’t work out as your next research partners, they carry your Horizon 2020 project wherever they go and continue to spread the word to their friends and networks. One crucial thing you should keep in mind when talking about your Horizon 2020 project is to never give out confidential information.
Go digital. When visiting the Funding and Tenders’ Portal, you’ll find a ‘Partner Search’ tool. This tool is extremely valuable as it allows you to check the background and previous activities of organizations. It’s an easy way to evaluate potential partnerships and determine if it makes sense to reach out and make contact.
5. Personal relations
Don’t underestimate your personal network and relationships when it comes to finding future research partners. They may build your next proposal. Since all types of stakeholders are welcome in EU projects like Horizon 2000, today’s friends might become your future collaborators, whether they belong to the public, private, or non-profit sector. As long motivation and determination are high and the “chemistry” between research partners feels right, the next strong project proposal might be just a few meetings away.