“There is plenty left to do!”

Swelife and Medtech4Health’s Impact platform project to support the participation of Swedish life science in European collaborations was concluded at the end of 2018. A new project is getting underway – Swelife International – which will build on previous experiences with the aim of reinforcing ongoing initiatives and specialisations.

Heather Marshall-Heyman worked on the Impact platform and is now project manager for the new Swelife project: Swelife International.

“In the Impact platform we saw that there is plenty left to do”, says Heather Marshall-Heyman. “Things are going well for Sweden in certain contexts, such as EU funding, but there is still a lot more that can be done. Collaborating with stakeholders in other countries and top international expertise increases a company’s chances of developing rapidly and succeeding. My job is to work on this.”

Swelife International reinforces existing activities

Within the project, Heather Marshall-Heyman will collaborate with branch organisations, universities and other stakeholders to reinforce what is already going on.

“I will start with a needs analysis for the programme and the projects. Which countries are good to work with? What might Swelife’s projects need? I will then match the programme and the projects against international collaboration and financing opportunities and, together with other stakeholders, act as a support in international networking and during the internationalisation process.”

Input for new EU programmes

Heather explains that they looked at how Sweden could work on EU applications, particularly within Horizon 2020, in the Impact platform project.

“It was a question of increasing knowledge about the programmes, how to go about applying, how to find partners, and giving input to future areas for funding and calls for applications. In Swelife International, we will also provide input for new programmes, i.e. the ones to follow Horizon 2020. However, this project is about international collaboration in a global perspective. The basic need is an internationalisation of the projects that Swelife supports. For example, we are to help ensure there are more applications to the EU programmes.”

Heather points out how important it is to use existing structures – and not to build new ones – to facilitate the Swelife-supported projects. One example is to make it easier for innovation projects to pitch at relevant conferences, such as NLS Days.

Heather’s best tips for projects intending to apply for EU funding

  1. Start early.It takes longer than you think to write a successful application, particularly if you are to coordinate with a number of European partners.
  2. Apply to the call for applications that best matches what you do.Do not adapt your research or your project idea to the call for applications, but the other way around: look for a call for applications that suits your project!
  3. Read the programme and the call for applications carefully.Answer the questions presented as this is exactly what will be assessed.