Digital Cheers Within MIX-UP Project – We Received Great Feedback From the European Commission!

| By Jacqueline Plaster & Leon Kirschgens

In January we took stock and a few weeks ago we received feedback from the European Commission. What does the feedback look like? Read it for yourself.

In December 2020, we already reported on the highlights and successes of MIX-UP, but also of biotechnology itself - but there was not yet time for a proper summary of the year 2020. One thing is certain: these were definitely difficult months - especially since the project started nearly parallel with the beginning of the pandemic. To find out how the progress of the project is after one year, the next big 3rd General Assembly was held in January 2021.

In addition to the MIX-UP partners, a Project Officer and a Project Monitor from the European Commission were present to monitor the project and provide feedback to the European Commission and the MIX-UP partners through a detailed report. During these three days all partners presented, discussed and evaluated their achieved results of 2020. Looking back on the past months and the Corona-related hurdles that had to be overcome, all MIX-UP Partners were naturally unsure how the feedback would turn out. The tension was palpable. Could the set goals, deliverables and milestones be achieved - despite a global pandemic?

Fortunately, it quickly became clear that the project was going very well despite Corona:

We have achieved all of our objectives and milestones that were set in 2020. In particular, the dissemination and communication of the results to the public was rated very well. But without scientific work, there is nothing to communicate to the public – happily, the scientific output also worked out very well. Overall, the consortium got really nice feedback after just one year of work!

Photo: Laboratory work at iAMB – by everwave

But what is the feedback based on in the first place? Well, in such a large project with so many partners, there needs to be an overarching objective as well as smaller objectives. Therefore, the project is divided into different work packages, including science as well as dissemination, exploitation and ethics requirements. The results are recorded in so-called deliverable reports and milestones to be reached. In addition, the partners exchange results or clarify questions in a monthly call. Every half year, the exchange takes place in a large general meeting. This is to prevent projects from going nowhere and to ensure that everyone can achieve their objectives. In addition, the project partners can help each other through multidisciplinary expertise from Europe and China.

This is another reason for the project being so successful: all expected deliverables and milestones according to the Work Plan were achieved by the consortium.

Of course, there were delays and difficulties caused by the pandemic, the consequences of which will probably become apparent at a later date. For example, shortened laboratory times mean that experiments are delayed. But the shortened lab times not only mean that important practical hours are lost, but also that the very important exchange between researchers is reduced. The short chat between door and door in the lab, or the small talk during the coffee break: the times when ideas are born and visions are shared. Such examples again show very clearly how the pandemic affects all areas of our lives.

Photo: Laboratory work at iAMB – by everwave (2019)

Nevertheless, the feedback shows: we have done something right. This result is of special importance for the MIX-UP partners as well as for the European Commission, because it shows not only that the project is going well, but also that the cooperation with the Partners and the European Commission is working well. In order to be able to assess our work, this assembly and the presence of representatives of the European commission was enormously important. Happy about this great feedback, we are not resting now, but trying to continue to do our best. We are looking forward to another MIX-UP year and are already excited about what we can achieve this year!

Our project coordinator Prof. Lars M. Blank commented on the feedback in conclusion:

"We are very happy about this great feedback and have started the year 2021 with this momentum!”


Group picture 3rd General Assembly – Screenshot of Microsoft Teams - by everwave