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Steering group in Co-Research and Co-Innovation projects

Co-Research and Co-Innovation research project must have a steering group. No steering group is required for a Co-Creation project.

The research organization proposes the composition of the research steering group in the funding application. Business Finland approves the steering group in connection with the funding decision, and the composition will be confirmed at the first meeting of the steering group. Participants in the Co-Innovation project may agree that the research project steering group will also support the monitoring and guidance of the joint project.

The steering group serves in an advisory role in the project. The steering group does not have the power to make decisions binding to the beneficiary in the project, nor can such power be delegated to it. The chairman (preferably from company which utilizes the results, not Business Finland representative or project responsible) and secretary will be selected for the steering group. Adviser members are selected to the steering group as individuals based on their personal expertise. An adviser may be a member of the steering groups of several projects simultaneously. The beneficiary selects and dismisses the steering group adviser members.

The research project is reported through the Business Finland online service twice a year, as well as corporate projects for the Co-Innovation joint project. The steering group meetings are usually organized close to reporting times.

Steering group in Research to Business projects

The steering group of a Research to Business project only includes individual members. The steering group must be mostly made up of other individuals than the beneficiary’s employees. 

  • The steering group must include an adviser on commercialization, such as an expert from business and industry or the innovation unit of the beneficiary, for example.
  • A consultant or other service provider selling services to the beneficiary is not a member of the steering group.

The accountable project leader can act as the chair of the steering group. The key researchers of the project can be present at the meetings of the steering group.

As a part of the monitoring of the project implementation, the steering group makes sure that at least 40% of the eligible project costs is used to prepare for commercialization.

Steering group supports the researchers

The steering group assists the project implementers during the project and, among other things,

  • supports the researchers in achieving the goals and promotes the utilization of the results
  • approves the research plan, cost estimate and financing plan and monitors the realization of the project's goals, budget and other resources
  • may approve minor changes in the project but significant project changes (e.g., schedule, cost changes) must be approved by all financiers or other organizations that are necessary for the project
  • monitors and assists the implementation of the joint project and the related research plans, objectives, cooperation (incl. international cooperation) and a joint project consortium agreement
  • makes plans about the dissemination of results and monitor the implementation of this plan
  • agrees on the time and methods of publicizing and publishing the research results. The goal is the efficient and wide-ranging utilization of the results in Finnish business life and society.

Agenda of steering group meetings

In its first meeting the steering group agrees on its operating methods and decision-making procedure. The agenda of the first meeting includes: 

  • Organization of the steering group: election of the chairman and secretary, 
  • Composition of the steering group: members, alternate members and experts + brief introduction of the participants
  • Business Finland’s comments: tasks of the steering group, Business Finland's role, expectations for the project, reasons for the decision, funding conditions
  • Project-time confidentiality, secrecy and consortium agreement
  • Meeting practices (e.g., standard meeting after the end of each reporting period, workshops) and decision-making procedure
  • Approving the research plan, related cooperation, utilization and international cooperation plans, as well as the cost estimate and financing plan for research projects (in joint projects, per research partner)
  • Mapping the background materials of the project and agreeing on the related principles (if necessary)
  • General presentation of companies' projects and expectations for cooperation
  • Agreeing on communication of project results and publication as well as security practices
  • Meeting schedule: steering group meetings, workshops, seminars

In the meetings during the project, the agenda includes, among other things:

  • Research progress towards the set goals:
    • key measures, results and their utilization
    • international cooperation
    • cost accumulation and schedule in relation to the plan
    • realization of the financing plan and other necessary investments
    • plans, resources for the next project period
    • the need for project changes
  • The companies' goals, results, plans for the next period and cooperation
  • Progress and cooperation in the joint project
  • Monitoring and updating the networking and dissemination plan of the research/joint project, e.g., external communication and publications, workshops and other events, utilization of the results in teaching - what has been done and what will be done in the future?

In the last meetings it is good to focus on the results of the project, their evaluation and utilization:

  • Results
    • Key results and their significance for the companies involved in the joint project and other potential users
    • Further refinement of the results required before utilization
  • Beneficiaries and networking
    • Prospects for utilizing the results within the Co-Research/Co-Innovation consortium and more widely
    • What needs of potential beneficiaries and users can be solved with the results?
    • Does the project's domestic and international network meet the goals?
  • Competence and utilization of results
    • Measures to disseminate the results more widely, e.g., communication on different channels, workshops and seminars
    • Utilizing the results, for example, in company product development projects
    • Utilizing the results of the project in teaching or professional services
  • Managed closure of the project
    • Final reporting and cost accounting
    • Systematic feedback from the steering group about the results and significance of the project