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My winning proposal: Building a 22-partner team with just €2m

Nicole Biebow isn’t one to mince her words. As the project manager for a multi-partner bid for a research project under Horizon 2020, her first job was to focus on rival consortia. “It was my main duty to eliminate them,” she tells Adam Smith.

When a Coordination and Support Action for European polar research cooperation call on Blue Growth was put out as part of Horizon 2020, it was a rare chance for polar scientists to get funding not for polar research but to investigate and recommend how polar research should unfold over the next few years. With €2 million in funding, the winners would also design future research calls that could produce benefits for European society.

Nicole Biebow’s aim as project manager for a project bid which became known as EU-PolarNet was simply to win the best partners for her own team. EU-PolarNet’s director was to be the oceanographer Karin Lochte, Biebow’s boss at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven, and the call required a group of researchers to work together to set priorities in polar science.

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