Attending progress meetings is an obligation in some HE projects, especially ones funded under EIC Accelerator program.
What are these meetings about, how many are there, should I go to Brussels, or will “Brussels” visit me, what do I need to know and how should I prepare for one? So many questions in your head that one can almost hear your thoughts. Relax, it’s not as scary as it seems.
What is the purpose of the progress meeting?
The progress meeting is an opportunity to update the project officer on the current status of the project, discuss the progress towards its objectives, identify any issues or challenges, and determine the next steps to ensure the project stays on track. If the meeting is linked to the periodic report, it will trigger the payment of the additional pre-financing upon the approval of the work presented.
When and where will the meeting take place?
According to the EIC Accelerator Grant Agreement, there are at least two mandatory progress meetings:
- one intermediary progress meeting linked to a periodic report and the release of the additional pre-financing,
- a final one at the end of the project, before submission of the final report.
However, the EC may decide to hold such meetings every six months, so you should be prepared for this eventuality. Approximately one month prior to the meeting, you will be asked about your availability and informed on the modality of the meeting and the proposed agenda. The meeting can be held online but the EC may as well propose to organise it onsite, in your premises.
Who will participate?
As mentioned, the progress meeting is an opportunity to meet with your project officer. However, other actors may participate such as the reviewer or “monitor”, financial officer and EIB representatives if your project is a EIC Accelerator blended finance scheme. The beneficiary can propose up to 3 participants – Primary Coordinator Contact (PoCo) and C-level representatives.
Why is the meeting important?
While the idea of a project review may seem intimidating, it’s important to remember that it’s a normal part of the EIC process and serves as a mechanism for project monitoring. And of course, it is crucial when you apply for the additional pre-financing. The EC will use the information you provide to evaluate and approve the work done so far and release the payment. On the other hand, if you are facing challenges that do not allow you to continue the implementation, the meeting may lead to suspension or termination of your project.
Get it right – how to prepare
- Plan ahead: prepare a PPT presentation with the project overview including the work done and the financial aspects, deviations and plan for the next months. Make sure that the presentation is focused on the key highlights of the progress, including achievements and challenges.
- Rehearse: the more you know your presentation, the more confident you will feel so do a “test run” with all participants on your side. Divide the topics among everyone to make the presentation more interactive.
- Be prepared to answer questions: you will likely receive questions from the EIC officers and reviewer. Go through the reports and deliverables already submitted to the EC to anticipate the questions. Make sure that you have enough time to review and refine your materials before the meeting.
- Be proactive: use the progress meeting as an opportunity to be proactive in seeking feedback and guidance from the EC officers on areas where you may need clarification or support.
Are you still concerned about the upcoming progress meeting? If so, keep calm and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org