How we started PE2020, a new EU project on public engagement

Kick-off meetings are important milestones for new EU projects. It is the place and time for the consortium to gather together for the first time and push the project into the right direction. PE2020 kick-off meeting was held in Helsinki in 5-7 March, 2014. The meeting required a lot of work before and during the meeting but the real work gets really going only after the meeting! At some point, Mikko -the PE2020-project coordinator- who is a true scientist from the heart, was afraid that he will turn into a full-time manager while having to have each little detail thought over and organized, but he was relieved after realizing that the consortium is very experienced in completing EU projects. The preparatory work paid off, since the meeting was very successful and the consortium partners could spend a major part of the meeting talking about research and not just managerial issues. (Although a new definition was invented: mikkomanagement, instead of micromanagement, thanks Luciano! I think this will carry us through the project.)

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During the first day of the kick-off we heard very interesting presentations from other projects that will give added value to the PE2020-project. We heard about the Engage2020 project and the Bonus-programme, which gave many ideas to us as a consortium. Even the member of our scientific advisory board, Eleonore Pauwels, took part into the meeting via Skype from Washington D.C. and told us about the SYNERGE project. Other members of the scientific advisory board, Suzanne de Cheveigné, Martin Hynes and Markku Mattila, were also present in the meeting from the second day and gave their valuable input throughout the meeting. Simon Burall took also part via Skype on Friday morning.

In the second day, we heard the presentations of our consortium members. They all had many thoughts about how to execute the work and they were very well prepared to the meeting! It gave us all a very good feeling that the project will run smoothly and that all partners are committed to reach a best possible result. Such a great motivation! Such a great consortium! In the afternoon, we made an excursion to the farm of Timo Aarrevaara, a member of the project team of the University of Helsinki. We organized two workshops there but the most important part of the evening was the invitation to his sauna outside. For some foreign members of the consortium it was the first time in the sauna! Thank you Timo, for inviting us and offering us such a great treat!

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On Friday, the scientific advisory board could have their meeting while the most important official part -the management meeting- of the consortium was held. The board gave us important comments and suggestions and the management committee made important decisions. An important day that was! The meeting was ended around midday and the second important part started: the partners’ journey back home. Next time we’ll meet via Skype and see each other in the second consortium meeting in Aarhus, Denmark, in January 2015. Then there will be a lot of results and further steps to discuss. We are looking forward to that!

Mikko and Kaisa from the NCRC team