Full Text of the Feedback Gathering Report (PDF)
During the first half of its lifespan, COPRAS established cooperation with a large number of projects in Calls 1 & 2, with the objective to facilitate these projects' interfaces with standards organizations. This activity not only supported these projects in terms of defining their standards deliverables and contacting the proper standards organizations, but it also generated a considerable amount of generic knowledge on the overall problem of facilitating and complicating cooperation and exchange between research projects and standards organizations. This knowledge was aggregated into a first set of «Standardization Guidelines» that were distributed via the European Commission during summer 2005 to projects and projects consortia in IST Calls 4 & 5.
A year later, in the summer and autumn of 2006, COPRAS initiated a feedback gathering process, addressing the usage of these Standardization Guidelines by projects in Calls 4 and 5. The objective of this activity was to determine how relevant interfacing with standards organizations was for the projects in these calls, whether they had been able to use the COPRAS' Standardization Guidelines, how the guidelines could be improved, and whether other measures outside the scope of COPRAS could improve the research/standards interfacing process.
The questionnaire-based feedback gathering process managed to generate response from more than 40% of those projects in Calls 4 and 5 (>95%), for which contact details could be established before Christmas 2006. This result was considerably higher than the anticipated 25-30%, and again underlined that standards issues are increasingly important for IST research projects. Moreover, although only 25% of projects responding had received the guidelines, of these, more than 80% of those had actually used them, indicating a clear requirement among IST projects for standardization support.
The results of the feedback process further show that the Standardization Guidelines had a clear impact as Call 5 projects, that - contrary to Call 4 projects - had received the document before submitting their final proposals, had allocated considerably more resources to standardization, despite the fact that their expectations with respect to delivering standards related output were equal to those in Call 4. This is also confirmed by the fact that projects primarily used the Standardization Guidelines to define the standardization potential of their envisaged output, as well as to plan the allocation of work packages or resources.
Also emerging from the returned responses is the fact that choosing and contacting standards organizations appears to be a relatively complicated part of the process for many projects, partly due to the chaotic pattern of ICT standards bodies, given the many differences in backgrounds, working methods or priorities between different organizations. Consequently, this was identified as one of the main areas where an updated version of the Standardization Guidelines could provide additional support.
Finally, feedback shows that the Standardization Guidelines address only part of the issues currently complicating the research/standards interfacing process. Additional structural measures are necessary from the side of the standards community to facilitate and initiate cooperation and contacts with research projects, as well as from the side of the European Commission, addressing the «standardization gap» between the termination of a project and the termination of the processes standardizing project's output.