is open to international partners, with U.S. partners mainly supported by their own funding sources.
Dr. Koch discussed mechanics of collaboration, focusing on the Grant Agreement (GA). Signing the GA is necessary for contracting with the EC. The GA includes the Technical Description of Work (Annex I), General Conditions (Annex II), and Specific Provisions for funding schemes. There are other annexes, mainly forms. The Consortium Agreement spells out the relationship among the partners, and most of the legal issues are covered there.
Some of the terminology used by the EC differs from what is common in the United States. A “beneficiary” is an entity that is part of the GA, whether or not it is receiving funding. The “coordinator” could be the person who did all the paperwork, but most of the time corresponds to a principal investigator in the United States.
Several important principles are embodied in the GA. The EC generally does not become an owner of intellectual property generated by collaborative research. Intellectual property ownership is covered in the Consortium Agreement. The GA is aimed at “providing (a) minimum self-sustainable framework while allowing participants flexibility to determine additional rules specific for their cooperation.” “Special clauses” that have been developed by the EC can be inserted into the grant agreement. Some of these address issues in U.S. law that would prevent U.S. entities from legally signing the standard GA. There are also provisions for subcontracting, sanctions, and arbitration. There are special simplifying provisions for participants not receiving funding from the EC.
The annual call for the FP7 is published in July and closes in November or December. There are currently about 200 projects with U.S. partners. The EC is working to make the program even more accessible to U.S. participants. Having three EU partners is required for funding, so the easiest way to participate is to connect with an existing partnership.
DHHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (‘Common Rule’). See http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/commonrule/index.html (accessed February 2011).