Finding project partners
If you want to apply to take part in a new IMI project, one of your first tasks will be to find or build an applicant consortium, and to do this, you will need to find partners. This page provides some tips on how to go about this.
Putting together a consortium takes time. We publish indicative information on Call topics several weeks before the Call launch. As soon as you see a topic that could be relevant for you, you should get to work.
Be proactive and be prepared to invest time and energy
Whether you are leading the formation of a consortium, or trying to find and get into an existing consortium, you should be prepared to invest significant amounts of time and energy in the exercise. You will also need to be extremely proactive in terms of reaching out to potential partners and explaining why you would be a good partner for their consortium.
The Call text can help you here, as it sets out in some detail the expertise expected of the consortium. Analyse the information in the Call text and determine, in as much detail as possible, what and how you and your organisation could contribute to the project in terms of skills, expertise, resources, and experience. When you get in touch with potential partners, you should highlight the areas where your involvement would be valuable.
You should also flag up to potential partners your experience of working in large, multidisciplinary, international projects, managing IMI / other EU / other public funds, communication, etc.
Where to look for partners
The most effective way of getting into a consortium is to use your existing professional and personal contacts.
Events that bring together leaders in your field are an excellent place to find partners – use the coffee breaks, receptions, and any other tools to link up with fellow participants (e.g. many events have registration systems and / or apps for smartphones that include a networking module).
IMI organises webinars on all Call topics; these are also a good opportunity to identify potential partners.
There are a number of partner search tools that allow you to enter your areas of expertise and find relevant partners.
- The Partner Search tool on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
- Once a topic is is published on the Funding and Tenders Portal as part of an IMI Call for proposals, organisations can publish their interest and expertise on the topic page.
- The German representative on the IMI States Representatives Group has is a dedicated partner search platform for IMI Calls for proposals.
Can IMI help me identify partners?
We cannot help individual organisations to find partners – our Calls for proposals are competitive and providing personal assistance to some organisations and not others would represent a conflict of interest.
How many partners should our consortium have?
Two points should be considered here – the legal viewpoint and more practical aspects. From a legal point of view, most IMI2 projects must have a minimum of three partners based in three different EU Member States or countries associated to the Horizon 2020 programme. The exact rules for each Call for proposals are set out in the Call documents and you should read these carefully. Applications that do not meet the minimum legal criteria for the Call will be rejected and will not even be reviewed by the expert reviewers.
In practice, in order to carry out the work required to achieve the project objectives, most projects will require more than three partners. The exact number will depend very much on the size and scope of the project. The important thing is to demonstrate to the reviewers that your consortium contains all the expertise required to deliver what is expected of it, as set out in the Call documents, while avoiding unnecessary redundancy between partners.
Should I include EFPIA companies in my applicant consortium?
For a standard, two-stage IMI2 Call for proposals, the answer is usually no. In these Calls, following an evaluation by independent experts, the winning applicant consortium is invited to form a full consortium with the EFPIA companies and, where relevant, Associated Partners, in the second stage of the Call. Sometimes, IMI runs Calls for proposals that may require the involvement of EFPIA partners in applicant consortia. For all Calls for proposals, details of what kinds of organisations must be included in consortia are set out in the Call documents, and applicants are advised to read these carefully.