Katrin Reschwamm has been a research manager at EU GrantsAccess at ETH Zurich since April 2021 and supports researchers and companies in the acquisition of European research funds.In this interview she tells us how she faces the challenges inside EU funded projects.
What’s your role? Which are the main challenges you face in your everyday life?
I am a research & project manager. I am helping researchers to find the right funding instrument and I support them with the application from an administrative side. In addition, I manage one EU funded project that is coordinated by my institution. Here, I am responsible for the general progress monitoring, setting up meetings, reporting and also some dissemination activities. Currently, I do not face any problems. Maybe because I am too long in this business.
One challenge, that comes to my mind is the switching and use of different platforms for communication and document sharing. Every project uses a different collaboration platform. Although most are slightly similar, features can vary, also the extend to which the project partners engage with these platforms.
Can you tell us something generic about your history with eu funds?
When I started in 2002 with EU funded projects, I attended a seminar on “Ways through the funding jungle”. That seminar provided a good overview over national and European funding. Since then, I have the impression that the jungle has not thinned out but is still just as impenetrable. My experience is also, that it usually takes 2-3 attempts to be successful in acquiring a funded project. It is worth it to submit again, as the work has been done already.
Can you give us some examples of projects in which you were involved?
Harmony, sme-MPOWER, Kappa-Health, 4FUN, EAST-NMR, Sunflower, Ericena, Dragon-Star, Kassetts…this are just a few acronyms of projects that I was involved with either as project manager or content-related. One of my first EU funded projects dates back to the 5th Framework program. I have several business degrees so that I do not have a particular scientific focus. The projects dealt with entrepreneurship, business innovation, manufacturing, logistics, photovoltaic and currently robotics in healthcare.
In which fields are you more interested?
Generally, I am interested in new technologies and that’s why I love my job. I am always exposed to new research in various fields. In my role as company advisor as part of the NCP network in Switzerland I advise companies, mainly start-ups. That is a real joy to see what has been developed, is being transferred from research into commercialisation and then also see the success of these solutions.
On a more personal note, how do you see your professional growth in the coming years? What can we expect from you?
Honestly, I am not quite sure. I have completed several further studies and certifications. On my list is still a PhD. So let’s see if I am able to find the time and endurance to pursue such studies.
Which are the recommendations you would like to share for someone involved in the funds use?
As mentioned before, do not stop at the first attempt. Have a roadmap and think about what you or your organisation wants. Why do you need funding? Do you want to collaborate or not? For which phase is the funding – early stage, basic research or applied research, or even market launch? How much funding do you need? Make sure you get all available information. Check several sources. There are a lot of support networks providing information, partner search or even proposal writing. They are happy to assist you. Good luck with your application!
Are you interested in working with European funds or do you already work in this field ?The PM² method can greatly benefit beneficiaries of EU Funds and Grants. QRP offers PM² courses, visit our website to know more or contact us.
Read also our interview with Reinhard Wagner about the PM² method and Project management. But also the interview with Marc Berghmans, about the importance of Mindsets in PM².