DEFEND reached its first official project review point at 18 months (November 2019). As part of the review process, we prepared a detailed report for the European Commission (EC) providing information on our progress on the work packages and spend so far. It was a complex report to prepare, requiring input from all our partners, and we were so very proud of how the consortium pulled together to get the report submitted on time!
In early March, we travelled to the EC Research Executive Agency offices in Brussels for our ‘Project review meeting’, to discuss the report and our progress. The meeting was attended by our EC Project Officer, Research Policy Officer, and two independent expert reviewers, as well as our DEFEND consortium leads, work package leaders and project manager. The feedback from the meeting was very positive, with the expert reviewers congratulating us on our achievements and our EC Project Officer describing the report as “very very good”.
The day ended with a policy session, which facilitated discussion about the direction and impact of DEFEND research. The session was also attended by members of the PALE-Blu project consortium and it was interesting to hear about the work being carried out on another EU research project looking at animal viral diseases.
Reflecting on the 18-month review process, we were so lucky the project review meeting took place at the beginning of March – we didn’t know it at the time, but only a couple of short weeks later most of Europe would be in lock down!
We would like to thank all our partners for their amazing contributions, as well as our EC Project Officer and Research Policy Officer and the expert reviewers for their positive comments and suggestions.
We are looking forward to the next 18 months of DEFEND 😊