Beta Technology

Case Studies

Case studies 1

European Project Technical Advisors

Technical experts in advanced materials and production supporting European research projects

During the period March 2012 to September 2016, Beta provided Project Technical Advisors (PTAs) to the European Commission. The PTAs were assigned to projects funded by the nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new production technologies (NMP) theme of the European Seventh Framework Programme for research and innovation. They provided supplementary technical expertise to the European Commission and monitored the progress of the research projects. They also provided advice to projects on reporting, contractual issues, project management and exploitation. All the PTAs had direct experience of European collaborative research, either as previous participants in projects or as evaluators of proposals.

Initially providing the European Commission with 40 PTAs, this network expanded to 63 experts from 16 different European countries. A total of 261 NMP projects had a Beta PTA assigned to them, with a total investment of 1.117 billion euros.

PTA Infographic

The pool of PTAs spanned a broad spectrum of technology areas including chemistry, manufacturing engineering, materials science, nanotechnologies, semi-conductor technologies and smart coatings. The PTAs provided projects with a valuable resource by combining their technical knowledge with project management experience and contributed significantly to the success of the projects they were assigned to.

“The PTA role combined both a monitoring and a mentoring role for projects. In the monitoring role, the PTA advised the European Commission Project Officers on the performance of the collaborative project and its compliance with various obligations while in the mentoring role, the PTA provided advice and support to the project team. The role was therefore quite complex and depended critically on developing good relationships with the project and with European Commission officials, often acting as the interface between them. With the exploitation of project results being an increasing focus in European funding, the assistance that the PTA provided in encouraging and facilitating appropriate planning was often crucial. Successful projects also required careful project management, particularly ones with many partners spread over several countries, and the monitoring activity was an important component of ensuring that each project was able to maximise its impact.”

Richard Ball, Associate