Efficient management without large overhead is of paramount importance for this initiative due to the large geographical coverage, the number of partners and the restricted amount of requested funding. Thus, the consortium will put in place a management structure – outlined below – which aims to build upon the established best practices and also be of a sufficient scale, yet low complexity, in order to successfully manage the project>
The goal of the management is to tackle the problems of co-ordinating a heterogeneous scientific consortium in the most efficient manner. The main goals in this context are: efficient organisation; co-ordination and communication procedures; timely delivery of dependable results; efficient management of dissemination of the results across diverse communities; enforcing the full compliance with the articles of the Grant Agreement to be signed with the EC and an impending consortium agreement to be signed among the contractors before the project start.
The co-ordinating partner, INFN, will manage the project with the benefit of a considerable, consolidated experience in managing projects with a large number of partners: several High Energy and Particle Physics experiments involving tens to hundreds of institutions and hundreds to thousands of researchers have been set up by INFN over the past two decades.
INFN has been, for many years, not only the co-ordinator of the GARR project (setting up the Italian research and education network) dealing with virtually all the research institutes and the Universities in Italy, but also has been involved in cooperation with other National Research Networks, in small and large European Projects related to Networking (TEN34, TEN155, GEANT) and Grids (DataGRID, DataTAG, EGEE, EUMEDGRID, EUChinaGRID, EUIndiaGrid, EUAsiaGrid, etc.).
The large geographical coverage of the project poses several challenges and requires specific experience and attention to regional issues. On the other hand the work-plan has been correctly organised on the activity lines deriving from the project's objectives.
The managerial structure has thus been designed to take into account these two requirements with a technical management that develops horizontally across the regions and an executive management that vertically addresses the different regions taking into consideration their specificities.
As already anticipated in the description of WP1,the management structure will then be composed by the following roles and boards:
- A Project Director (PD) nominated by the Coordinator (INFN).
- A Project Management Board (PMB): one member for each partner + a deputy.
- A Regional Executive Board (REB): one deputy Project Director for each Region.
- Project Office (PO): 3 persons, to deal with administrative and managerial activities.
- A Technical Board (TB): made up by the managers of all the work-packages.
- A Technical Manager (TM): proposed by the PD and nominated by the PMB, will chair the TB and deal with the day-by-day technical discussions ensuring the coherence of all the technical actions in the view of the project's objectives.
The Project Director (PD) is appointed by the co-ordinating partner to run the project, and the project office supports the PM in the day-by-day operational management of the project.
The Project Management Board (PMB) will be established to specifically address strategic and contractual decisions concerning the project. It is composed of one management representative from each partner and is chaired by the PD who has casting voting rights. The PMB is formally empowered by the consortium agreement to take decisions affecting the budget and the objectives of the project, contractual changes and exploitation agreements. Only partners will have voting rights (one each: the deputies will not vote unless they substitute the appointed representative). The third parties and collaborating partners will only receive all the relevant documents and information.
The management board will have both the authority and the responsibility for conflict resolution. Normally it is expected that conflicts will be resolved by voting on a simple majority. Specific provisions for conflict resolution, rights and obligations of all participants also concerning IPR on the results of the project will be covered by a consortium agreement, which will be negotiated and signed by all projects participants prior to the commencement of the project.
The PMB will take remedial actions based on advice from the technical board in the event of milestones being missed or deliverables not being available. The Project Management Board will normally conduct its business by e-mail. We expect it to need to meet every four months, usually in occasion of other project events (Workshops, related activities, etc.) to minimise the economical impact on the management costs. Exceptional meetings can be called by the PD or the PMB Chair on request from at least three of the partners.
The Regional Executive Board (REB) will be composed by the Deputy Project Directors (DPD), one per region, and will act as an executive board that will be entitled to take urgent decisions between the PMB Meetings. The members of the REB will act as deputy PD for the region concerned.
The Project Office (PO) will support the project manager and the project boards in their tasks. The PO will be set up to ensure daily monitoring and support of the logistics of the project. Daily communication between all participants will be via e-mail or phone/video conferencing, keeping the time lost in travelling and travel expenses to a minimum. The PO will also assist in setting common styles for deliverables, web pages and presentations. The project office persons will be responsible for the organisation of the annual EC external reviews.
The Technical Board (TB) and Technical Manager (TM) are responsible for the technical management of the project. The technical board will take day-to-day technical decisions, with the participation of experts when necessary and will report to the management board. Under the direction of the PD, the technical board will be responsible for the overall technical management and execution of the project: implementing the work plan strategy, making the choice of alternative techniques, supervising the monitoring of the results. The technical board is responsible for monitoring the quality and timely production of deliverables. It will propose corrective actions (to the management board) in the event that partners fail to meet their commitments. The technical board will be chaired by the Technical Manager who will be responsible for reporting to the PD and the PMB.
Each work-package is under the primary responsibility of a single partner who designates a Work-Package Manager. They organise the suitable contacts between the concerned partners and are in charge of producing the deliverables. Work-package managers and project administration will generate quarterly progress reports. These reports will indicate the progress made in each task and the resources consumed. Work-Package Managers (WP1M, WP2M, WP3M, etc.) will be part of the TB, manage the activities of their work-package and coordinate the Task Leaders.
For each activity/task a responsible person will be designated by the partner who leads that activity in agreement with the work-package manager concerned and the technical manager. This person will act as a Task Leader.
A minimal percentage of FTE (Full Time Equivalent person) for every key position has been set at 20%. The PD is supposed to spend 50% and the TM around 30% minimum of their working hours into the project activities.