Research collaboration vs research cooperation

What is the difference between collaboration with EU-funded projects, Other scientific collaboration, and Other scientific cooperation?

Author: Gabriella Lovasz

In our Horizon Europe project management training courses, we discuss in detail the new Continuous reporting section, highlighting the novelties in reporting dissemination, communication and exploitation actions.  

Many sections in the continuous reporting part refer to these activities: 

We also make sure that participants see the differences between reporting on dissemination and reporting on communication actions. On one of the last training courses, a participant asked about the types of dissemination activities. 

What is the difference between collaboration with EU-funded projects, Other scientific collaboration, and Other scientific cooperation? I must admit, I did not have an answer at that time. But I promised to investigate it. This question is also interesting because the official reporting template on the F&T Portal does not have the “Other scientific cooperation” on the list; you only see this option when you enter the portal. 

So, here is what I think, not necessarily what the European Commission would state.  

In simple terms, cooperation is about working with others to achieve your own goals. Collaboration, on the other hand, is about working with others to produce something together and achieve shared goals. So Scientific collaboration with EU-funded projects, the joint campaigns, joint event organisation, joint press releases etc. would be activities with a shared goal, maximising the outreach and impact for all projects which collaborate. In terms of dissemination and communication, I do not see the difference between collaboration and cooperation.  

When we talk about Other scientific collaboration, I would think of actions like establishing a network together, a knowledge exchange platform, a joint stakeholder board and attract the attention of a specific stakeholder group together. The participation is voluntary, sharing efforts and other costs. The collaboration happens among equal partners. Based on several posts on this issue, the key things to remember in research collaboration are: 

  • Address mutual expectations.  

  • Clearly divide and define who is responsible for what task.  

  • Determine authorship.  

  • Communicate frequently.  

Other scientific cooperation would be initiated and coordinated by our project with a specific goal to support our dissemination purposes. Here the action is led by our project, taking full responsibility for the activity. Like the organisation of an event where we cooperate with others to have a series of workshops for knowledge exchange.  

I hope the distinction now is clear, and you can easily report your next set of dissemination actions in your Horizon Europe projects.  

Looking to deep-dive into reporting issues? Join us at the Horizon Europe Academy – The Masters Part II Project Management and Financial Reporting, in Amsterdam on 23-24 March. Check out the agenda and register here

Research collaboration vs research cooperation