ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus internal Learning through Project Profiling and Follow-Up (Formative Evaluation )
The Support Team wants to make sure that all ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus projects speak with a common voice in a common language. This can be achieved through a formative evaluative process.
In theory, a formative evalxuation denotes a progressive evaluation that facilitates a process or increases the quality of its outcomes. Thus, the formative evaluation would serve to detect unanticipated issues and flaws in the projects through reviewing their (intermediary) outputs and processes.
In practice, for ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus, the formative evaluation process can be seen as a profiling and follow-up process. The support project can help shape the public picture of the project and – if wanted – help to overcome difficulties or dead ends in research questions or by e.g. getting the projects in contact with other ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus projects dealing with similar issues and research endeavours.
Why do we need KPIs and an Evaluation Process?
In order to be able to link the projects together successfully and thus create synergies between them, the Support Team has to create a profiling method that helps to identify overlaps (as well as gaps in the research agenda that could be addressed in later calls).
This Profiling process will be based on a set of project-focused KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). However, the KPIs will not be used to rank the projects. Instead, as the term profiling implies, the KPI will serve to monitor the projects regarding their focus topics in terms of the three layer research model. It will thereby become visible which projects are working on similar topics and can benefit from a collaborative approach. On the other hand side, it will serve to highlight the unique features and differentiators of individual projects that can complement each other and be highlighted in dissemination activities. These project-profiling KPIs will be based on the work of the Grid Plus project.
On a second level, the project KPIs can serve to profile the entire ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus Programme against the goals that were set for the initiative, e.g. number of spin-off projects replicating project solutions from ERA-Net SG +. On a third level, contributions to European policy goals as set by different Roadmaps can be traced.
The working process underlying the profiling actions will mainly be based on annual surveys and virtual meetings to discuss the results of the surveys’ evaluation.
In order to deepen the knowledge about individual projects and their outcomes beyond the scope of the profiling, the support team will meet – virtually and physically – with individual project teams on an annual basis to learn about current developments, (intermediary) results, issues and open questions in the follow-up sessions.
Central team members of the projects meet with the Support Team staff on an annual basis to present the current situation of the project – from the first implementation of the project outline to the final results of research or pilot tests. The input will be used to write annual reports about the advances in the field of Smart Grids based on this ERA-Net Plus Programme.
Thus, the support team will have a comprehensive overview over the progress and (intermediary) results of the projects and will be able to detect new trends and potentially representative hypotheses at an early level. This will be used to draw more attention to the output of the initiative on a reference level.
Projects can influence and make use of surveys
Additionally, surveys among all projects can help to detect common or diverging opinions on certain topics among the ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus funded projects and serve to prepare discussion within the working groups or common statements of the initiative. The topics of the extra surveys can also be influenced by the projects. If a project finds an interesting topic or needs certain surveys among the other projects for their own research, they are free to contact the Support Team for them to include their questions in the overall annual survey. &nb