All Interreg projects go through an evaluation at mid-term. Authorities need to have an external assessment and receive independent reports on the progress of the projects. The evaluators look into different categories like communication in the project, the steering, achievement of aims and the benefit for the region.
It is not easy to maintain continuation in projects as you develop your idea about a year before you actually get granted a project. In the meantime, things change and quite often a partner that you wanted to work with is no longer capable or willing to contribute forcing you to find a new collaboration partner that then also needs to fit into the project. In our case, a local industry partner dropped out of the project, and we were fortunate to find another SME partner within a short time in Sønderborg. Other difficulties concern the hiring of people for a limited time of usually 1-2 years to a town that is not well known in the world. Once everything is in place you do your research, and as often research has its own rules, results might go in another direction, and you’d better be flexible and spot your chances to reach the goals. This can involve other partners or new technologies and new ideas. Sometimes you end up with an unexpected result that can contribute to a disruptive new achievement. We don’t know yet what we will end up with.
All of a sudden the Covid-19 virus affected all of us with a lockdown in spring and partial lockdown later. A grant for three years, which seemed a long time in the beginning, is becoming a short time with limited possibilities to work in the lab and only digital interaction.
Keeping contact with our partners of the projects on a digital basis is different compared to a physical meeting, and discussions remain challenging. In small groups, it is possible, and therefore our partners were confronted with more meetings (online) than before.
This year’s evaluations had a tough time, the only advantage being that people were easier to reach, as nobody could travel.
In the time where reduced size meetings were allowed, we met physically with six brave people from CheckNano and two evaluators from Kienbaum in Flensburg, all keeping distance as can be seen on the image. Eight online participants supported us and made it a friendly and positive experience.
Evaluations give the chance to have a critical look into the project work. The partners get interviewed and reflect on collaboration and achievements.
CheckNano fulfils all expectations, which resulted in 12 points in a range of 10 – 14 points. We’re glad that we can continue with the support of the Interreg administration.
On top of this, we just received the prolongation of the project, which was necessary after the challenges mentioned. With confidence, we enter our final year in 2021 and look forward to the upcoming results.