Working Meeting, 11-13 June, 2014, Matera, Italy
The meeting was convened to discuss the organizational issues and further priorities in project management and development.
The first issue discussed was the scheduling of meetings of Partner Institutions (PI). This issue has emerged in previous WB Partners meetings, and Prof. Obradović explained it to the Coordinator institution staff.
In order to secure smooth and efficient coordination, and to address in each meeting the effective problems to be solved by the right partners, a more efficient planning of the meetings should be adopted.
It was agreed that the scheduling of meetings should be in general guided by WP development. It was noted that the work on DEVs and WPs is going more or less as planned, but the unrealized meetings in first 6 months should be rescheduled according to the future needs of the project tasks. Each meeting should be devoted to a specific topic and attended by team members from PIs involved in that particular topic. The topic can be related to one or more deliverables. It is preferred that the coordinating PI is present.
In particular, in order to avoid that each meeting is attended by all partners (unless it is a Consortium meeting), thus preventing an organizational overload of the hosting institution, and a generalization that doesn't allow to keep the right focus on the issue at hand, it was agreed on the following criteria to be proposed and shared with all the other partners:
- the Meeting plan needs to be revised and refined, in order to increase efficiency of mobility and effectiveness against the issues;
- each meeting should be characterized in terms of problems to be addressed and its subject, and depending on this the Partners who have to participate should be defined;
- for each participating Partner, it is to be defined who is the staff person involved in the meeting for the Partner;
- the hosting Institution should propose a 'window of time' - coherently with WP's timing - or several possible dates, and the Participants should then agree on the dates;
- participation in virtual conferences should be allowed - it should be defined which partners participate in each virtual conference (the tool to be used is Skype or Lync on the Share Point portal);
- record should be kept of all updates in project planning (i.e. meetings, mobility, etc.) and of the relevant approach/criteria adopted along the time (creating a sort of narrative of the project);
About meeting planning and mobility Prof. Obradović reported a useful consideration addressed by the Tempus Office during their visit held in Belgrade last 27th and 28th of May. Meetings can be rescheduled from a WP to another if this contributes to a more efficient realization of the project. However, meetings can be rescheduled only among 'DEVELOPMENT' work packages without prior consent of the PO; this means that in BAKTEL project they can be moved within the WPs 1, 2, 3, 4 in agreement with the coordinator, while in order to move a meeting from a Development package to another type, e.g. Dissemination, the PO must be contacted.
Prof. Obradović, Prof. Schiuma and the other participants agreed that the abovementioned considerations and indications well apply to the request that came from the Romanian partner "Gheorghe Asachi" Technical University of Iasi. Namely, they asked to postpone the meeting foreseen in Iasi in June 2014 within WP1, to November 2014 WP3, as at this point discussing the OER issues in EU within the implementation foreseen in WP3 seems much more appropriate. The WP3's leading partner, University of Belgrade, expressed a positive opinion on the mentioned change and the Coordinator University of Basilicata acknowledged it.
The next consortium meeting should be organized by the Coordinator University of Basilicata, in Basilicata (Italy). Since University of Basilicata will hold the Consortium meeting in November/December 2014, Prof. Schiuma proposed to move the Training meeting foreseen in July in Basilicata under WP1, to the week in which the Consortium meeting will be held in Basilicata, and to WP3. The same reasons apply as in the case of the Iasi meeting, an in addition to that, this is in compliance with the project reviewer’s suggestions that meetings should be combined whenever it is possible. The WP3 leader, University of Belgrade, represented by its contact person Prof. Obradović, expressed a positive opinion to the request.
It is mandatory, as it was so far, for all meetings to publish meeting minutes and upload them in detail on Share Point portal (SP) and a short version (up to 500 words) on the public Baektel site for other partners to get informed with the arrangements, achievements and results of the meeting.
Prof. Schiuma highlighted also the importance of Quality control (QC) in the project, the activity belonging to WP5 "Quality Control and Monitoring", led by the Technical University of Iasi. Prof Schiuma remarked that a control plan should be prepared by the TUIASI team, with a clear definition of:
- process control model to be used within the project;
- indicators to control, monitor, and assess/evaluate the project during its lifetime;
- stages of quality control and relative reports (effects) that include the defined indicators.
USB will remind the TUIASI team to deliver this initial plan as discussed in Podgorica.
Issues related to external auditing were discussed. USB should check the list of possible external reviewers and select one. Prof. Schiuma announced that a list of experienced External Auditors has been set through interviews with Coordinators of previous Tempus Projects, and also through informal indications from EACEA, that quoted some of the most frequent Auditors companies. Based on this list of potential Auditors, a request of quotation will be sent to some of them, and the best offer will be considered.
The meeting participants also took into account that the industrial Partner NIS Petroleum Industry of Serbia has not delivered the Partnership agreement to the Coordinator Institution. The participants agreed on the need to contact them; Prof. Schiuma, as the representative of the Coordinator, will contact NIS in order to inquire about this delay and whether any problem occurred to produce it. The contact should be addressed to the NIS's Contact person, but also to the director Kirill Kravchenko, in order to check the commitment of the company on the project. At the end Prof. Obradovic suggested that a letter be written to the Director, asking for the agreement, and remarking the importance of NIS for the whole partnership and for the Project.
It was emphasized that all partners should respect the "Rule of origin" for equipment purchase and follow all regulations about public procurement. Prof. Obradović remarked that the Equipment purchase is a key task to be completed, that the task advancement is at good point (equipment has been in general identified), and that a solution for complying with the 'Rule of Origin' is under development.
Financial issues were also discussed. It was confirmed that when partners are ready for equipment purchase or for public procurement, i.e. as soon as they have a final specification uploaded in the DEV 2.4 folder on SP, they can ask for funds and within a few days the funds will be transferred to the account of PI.
As for dissemination, three forthcoming conferences were considered as suitable dissemination events: e-Learning, Belgrade, September 25-26; INFOFEST 2014, September 28 – October 4 in Hotel „Maestral“, near Budva, Montenegro; International Conference on e-Education (ICeE'14) , September 26-27, in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.