G3 Cooperative-restrictive: Ensure that the CSOs’ tasks reflect their skills and competencies

In this project type CSOs are on the same social level as researchers. This means they can be initiators of the project, work package leaders or regular project members. Apart from improved outreach and practical recommendations, their main impact on the project is to reach specific research goals. This is also reflected in their motivations: often they are not only interested in benefits related purely to their own goals or practical knowledge improvement, but also in gaining an academic respectability or in the wider development of theoretical knowledge. On the one hand, the CSOs’ participation in such projects does not transform the knowledge production. On the other hand their participation is deemed to be sufficiently important that they need to be included as a full consortium member. In this situation the consortium needs to make sure that the CSOs are integrated into the project. This can best be achieved by ensuring that the CSOs’ tasks in the project reflect their skills and competencies, regardless of which particular work package they fall under.

Example: CSO as supervisor of scientific research

One of our case study projects aimed to develop a new medicine to treat patients suffering from a chronic disease. The CSOs involved were patient organisations. In accordance with the research focus, they were responsible for disseminating knowledge of the project to their members with the aim of attracting test candidates. Further, one of the CSOs had a research-oriented organisational arm, which supervised the medical testing itself. The coordinator (who was a researcher) judged that the CSO’s research arm had the appropriate scientific competences and therefore could be trusted to fulfil this task. The main tasks allocated to the CSOs therefore reflected what those particular organisations could do best: dissemination and scientific supervision.