April 06, 2004
be an expert!
Did you know an individual can sign up as a potential expert advisor to the EU's research programs? You register your field, what you'd be willing to do (review proposals, monitor existing programs, etc) and if they need someone in your area they might contact you. The workload would be up to 10 days a year with pay and expenses and trips to Brussels. I imagine it'd be a useful way of beginning to understand how the Byzantine funding of EU research works, and, since they're trying to have an even gender balance in their committees, they're especially encouraging women to apply. Although they'll mostly want people within the EU, they're also potentially interested in people from outside the region, and a lot of their research programs have to do with technology. I signed up. Can't hurt. And they even assure you that if you're asked to do it but don't have time when it comes down to it, you can politely refuse.
I was quite surprised, actually, that this is how expert advisors are selected. I had imagined an old boys' club where you had to network your way in through numerous back doors. And so it turns out that no, you just sign up. That's all. You just have to apply.
Are there other places we should be signing up so we become visible?
One comment as someone who's done this, and gone to Brussels several times to review grant proposals, as well as doing so remotely. The Commission is very, very slow to pay out money (I have never been paid in less than six months), and handles expenses on a reimbursement basis. It can be very valuable, but you're going to have to be able to float the cost of the trip to Brussels for quite a while.
Posted by: Cosma at Apr 6, 2004 12:52:10 PM
Well, the EU is not known for its snappiness at the best of times.
I thought that usually your employer floated the expenses, especially if you are in the research / university area?
Anyways, I have never served as a reviewer for the EU, but I have reviewed grant applications for the local research fund, and my advice is that if you get a chanche to server as a reviewer, you should go for it.
It is a wonderful experience and a good way to meet smart and well connected people in your field. And it is great to see all the innovation going on all over the place.
Posted by: helga at Apr 6, 2004 2:17:19 PM
Oh dear, I hate that, when you're expected to fork out first and be reimbursed. Even the university that employs me wants us to charge travel to our own, personal credit cards now, and then be reimbursed. They give travel advances, fortunately. I've decided I can't do it anymore for other jobs - it's stupid, why should I lend coorporations and the governemnt money, which is basically what it means. Mostly people are happy to send me plane tickets instead.
I'm pretty sure my employer wouldn't float travel expenses for an EU project. The one EU project I've been involved in (as an assistant, several years ago) paid my travel in advance. To be honest, Brussels wasn't that great. All we saw of it was a hotel outside of town, anyway.
Great to hear your thoughts!
Posted by: Jill at Apr 6, 2004 2:52:30 PM