More than three years on – experiences of the CHARM project

For Valmet, the CHARM project started back in 2019 from scanning discussions, planning and application phases followed by the approval and set-up activities. Almost none of the consortium parties were familiar to us at the beginning, and a driver’s role by Spinverse was a necessity to get the project up and running.  A good spirit of collaboration has been obvious all the way throughout the project. All partners have given their best to get the overall project plan completed.

Valmet has had the role of an application owner and project coordinator in the CHARM project. One learning we have gained is that despite this role, it is also good to allocate our own resources for the development work.  The work and support from the partners have been excellent, but no one else than the company’s own resources will put the results into practice. Further, the implementation phase typically takes much longer than expected. If not started early, time runs out quickly.

During the first two years of the project, travelling was not allowed due to COVID. People adapted to that surprisingly well. It seems that most of the communication, planning and reporting can, and perhaps should, be managed remotely. It is efficient as time allocation but also saves resources. Naturally, all physical experiments and activities require local presence. The travel restrictions undeniably affected the work which was planned as a joint activity between partners during the first two years.

To conclude, the project has shown differences between partners, and one could consider them being partially related to cultural backgrounds. In Finland, it has been easy and simple to work with Finnish partners, but the other EU parties have been helpful too. The easiest parts are related to the most concrete targets in the plan. Indeed, another learning from the project is that a clear and pragmatic plan makes the project steps more straightforward. Investing in a good plan is well worth it.

Heikki Kettunen, Valmet