Description of project management

Basic Setup

Activities to be carried out in ECODRIVE are performed within five Workpackages (WPs) as previously described. The WPs are designed so that the relevant basic investigations are carried out within the tasks of the WPs. Substantial overlap in the participants within each WP (e.g., WP3 contains key members from WP1 and WP2) and the limited size of the consortium were planned to ensure rapid exchange of information. The results of the synthesis activities within WP1 and WP2 will be used in an iterative approach to adapt the models and informed proxies generated in WP3 and utilized in WP4 . It is planned that this iterative exercise is done more than once, resulting in the optimisation of models and scenario forecasts.

Internal Structures

1. Project Coordinator

The coordinator of ECODRIVE (Jürgen Alheit, IOW, Germany) will be responsible for the internal organisation and supervision of the development of the project, including basic management. The coordinator will be in charge of the communications with the European Commission. Due to the specific (national) funding sources of Mar Era programs, co-coordination will be necessary. In this case, a second (co-coordinator) will handle the administration and decisions regarding Norwegian funding (Morten Skogen, IFM-Bergen). The co-coordinators will be responsible for a number of duties including:

  • Establishing a hierarchical project organisation that includes a scientific steering committee (SSC) and conducting hierarchical project organization and decision making structures.
  • Ensuring proper management of WPs.
  • Monitoring activities relative to the workplan/schedule and ensure that information flows in accordance with the project plan, within and among WPs.
  • Providing biannually progress reports to the Scientific Steering Committee and organize Steering Committee meetings.
  • Delivering timely progress reports and the final report to EU Commission and national (German and Norwegian) funding agencies.
  • Organizing the contribution of this project to an Informal Cluster of funded EU Mar Era programs.
  • Scheduling and manage logistics for the kick off meeting, annual program meetings and the final workshop.
  • Maintaining accounts for all WP’s in format as set out by national funding agencies and ensure all project accounts are submitted on time to these agencies.
  • Facilitating prompt distribution of funds to national partners and ensuring audit certificates are in place and audits are to the satisfaction of national funding agencies
  • Arranging contractual agreements to be legally vetted and ensure ongoing compliance with either/or EU Mar-Era or national funding legal requirements.

2. Workpackage coordinators

Each WP leader will co-coordinate the activities of the teams involved in the work package under his/her responsibility. They will organise the practical work and with the coordinators and SSC, ensure the milestones planned in the WP will be achieved in the proposed time. They will coordinate and agree to the publication of results with all the researchers involved in the WP, always in collaboration with the other research teams involved.

The role of the project and WP coordinators will also be to initially define the detailed work-plan. They will also plan the design, assessment and modelling stages and will assure that the existing mechanisms for the exchange of data and the dissemination of results operate efficiently.

Each researcher will perform the part of the work-plan under his/her responsibility in an ethical way of co-operation with the rest of the researchers and partners.

Workpackage coordinators:

1 System Description Maarten Boersma
Svein Sundby
IFM Bergen
2 System Modelling Corinna Schrumm
Thomas Pohlmann
3 Past, Present & Informed Proxies Christian Möllmann
Gjert Dingsør
4 Future Scenarios Björn Adlandsvik
Myron Peck
5 Project Management Jürgen Alheit
Morten Skogen

5. Scientific Steering Committee (SSC)

The overall control and decision making body of ECODRIVE will be a Steering Committee, composed of the coordinator from each Mar Era nation, the Workpackage leaders and at least one member from each partner. The Steering Committee will perform complete reviews of the project in terms of progress and results every 12 months. As a result of these reviews, the Steering Committee may propose adjustments to the structure of the project. Furthermore, the Steering Committee will aid in the preparation of results for dissemination and with the planning of the International Conference on Drivers of Marine Ecosystem Change.

6. Communication flow / Website / Outreach

In month 2 of the project, Workpackage 5 in collaboration with the project coordinator will organise a website containing a discussion forum or similar, in order to facilitate communication among partners and a rapid exchange of results and research advances. The website will be made up of sections restricted to partners and sections accessible to all parties interested in the topic of North Sea ecosystem change (including other consortia funded via Mar Era. The aim of the website will be to act as:

  1. To inform the public of the current project and also provide information on the historical and ongoing changes in structure and function of the North Sea foodweb in terms impacts on the ecology of the North Sea as well as on its ecosystem goods and services. It will act as a primary and stakeholder public interface with the WPs and contain links to relevant sites world-wide. Additional press/scientific papers/posters relating to the consortium will also be made available on the website.
  2. Data transfer within the consortium. A password-driven area will provide up to date information on the progress of the program, including Gantt charts, progress reports and additional information (e.g. Community Data; potential PhDand Post Docs positions).

An important role of project management discussed briefly in WP4 will be to publicize the ECODRIVE program and its products to a wide range of audiences. Four main elements are deemed essential to the dissemination of project information. These are

  1. an expert workshop and the final Conference,
  2. a project website,
  3. a CD-Rom and a brochure with synthesising the results and the final project report, and (iv)scientific publications and presentation at international scientific meetings.

A CD-Rom with final project results will promote the program and research products of each WP, thematic workshops, and final ECODRIVE synthesis reports.

The scientific information gathered through the project will be disseminated to the scientific community through peer-reviewed journals. This is seen as a local dissemination issue relating to WPs. All published material relating to the project must be held on the website for all in the ECODRIVE consortium to view. Similarly, WP coordinators and partners will be actively encouraged to promote the consortium and the project at international conferences. Additional coverage of the program will be promoted in public media. Promotion of the project will be carried throughout all stages of the program.

To present and discuss project findings on a broad international forum and integrate project results with those of other Mar Era and international programs, an International Conference/Workshop is planned for the final phase of the project that will cover research products from WP 1 to 4 with invited keynote contributions from outside and inside the project. Thus, knowledge on drivers of change within the North Sea can be exchanged with projects funded in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Organisation of the Conference will be led by ECODRIVE Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) and will invited experts recommended to the EU and national (German and Norwegian) funding agencies.

7. Workshops and meetings

In addition to electronic communication, a series of internal workshops will be organised. These meetings will be hosted by one of the project partners and organised in a way that travel and subsistence costs are kept at a minimum. The agenda for the meetings will include:

  • Reviewing the progress in all Workpackages.
  • Discussing and analysing the results obtained to-date in each Workpackage.
  • Providing support and advice in cases where a partner is facing technical difficulties.
  • Reviewing the milestones for the next phase in order to make any adjustments (if required) and to develop a plan that will ensure the accomplishment of actions in the subsequent phases.  

From each of the workshops and other meetings (see below) reports will be prepared and placed on the website for download. The proceedings of the final workshop will also be available on CD and in hard copy. The workshop will involve partners in other Mar Era funded projects (Mediterranean, etc.) and external expert participation where feedback on aims and progress to date will be encouraged.

There will be a kick off meeting, attended by most of the participating scientists from all partners, to launch the project and to facilitate contact among partners, as well as to establish good working relationships. In addition, a mid-term and final project meeting will be held with participation of all partners, the EU Commission as well as national funding agency representatives. The European Commission and national funding agencies will be informed about the meetings at least eight weeks in advance. These meetings will occur in one of the case study regions.

During the project, six meetings are planned that will be attended by the Steering Committee members, i.e. the Workpackage leaders and partner representatives). Each WP will address specific working tasks at additional workshops as necessary, drawing upon expertise available in the project from other disciplines as needed. The different project partner institutions will host these internal workshops.

8. Decision-making structures

Decisions will be taken by agreement of the involved partners. Decisions concerning modifications of the work-plan or delays in the achievement of milestones and/or deliverables should be agreed by the Steering Committee. In case of controversy about minor points or small delays in the work-plan (no longer than 3 months), the Coordinator (J. Alheit) will decide a course of action in communication with the WP leaders. In this way, the functioning of the project will be transparent to all partners. The aim will be to foster transparent and ethical decisions, and ensuring adherence to the work-plan.

Project Steering Committee:

IOW will manage and coordinate the project together with a Steering Committee reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of the project.
The steering group will consist of the following institutes:

  • WP1 coordinator a: IMR (NO), Fisheries and Marine Research
  • WP1 coordinator b: AWI (D), Alfred Wegner Institute
  • WP2 coordinator a: IFM-HH (D), Institute for Marine Research
  • WP2 coordinator b: Uni-Bergen (NO), Geophysical Institute
  • WP3 coordinator a: IHF-HH (D), Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science
  • WP3 coordinator b: IMR (NO), Fisheries and Marine Research
  • WP4 coordinator a IMR (NO), Fisheries and Marine Research
  • WP4 coordinator b: IHF-HH (D), Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science
  • Project Partner I SAHFOS (UK), Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science
  • Project Partner II IMARES (DE), Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies
  • Project Partner III MPI (D), Max Planck Institute

9. Progress monitoring

The project cooridinator (J. Alheit) will be in charge of frequent communication of results and news corresponding to each WP and will monitor the progress of all the components of the project, making contact with each of the individuals responsible, to ensure that the programme is being properly carried out and that milestones are being achieved and deliverables met as planned.

10. Financial management

The co-coordinator will be in charge of the receipt and transfer of the funds from their respective national funding agency, all the bureaucratic matters related with the project (including invoice files and expenditure justification), and will ensure the agreed amounts of money are transferred to the partners within the shortest time possible after reception from the national funding agency.