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Re: [CLARIN_Site_Managers] Unfunded extension - your reply is urgently needed



Steven,

it's fine for me too, as we said already in Utrecht

ciao

Nicoletta



Steven Krauwer ha scritto:
Dear all,

By this letter I would like to ask you to let me know *by Tuesday
March 16th* at the latest whether you would agree to ask the EC
for an unfunded extension of the CLARIN Preparatory Phase project
until June 30th 2011.

As you may know I have always been reluctant to ask the EC for an
unfunded extension on the basis of the late signature of the
contract alone, because I have always felt that we would be able
to complete our task within the time frame given, and I still
think we can.

I haven't changed my mind about this but at the recent meeting
with our Strategic Coordination Board and representatives of
funding agencies and ministries it was observed that many
countries are still in the process of preparing their national
roadmaps and making financial commitments to the selected
infrastructures, and that it was highly unlikely that they would
be in a position to submit an application for the creation of an
ERIC for CLARIN before the end of this year.

This means that the actual completion of our work will be
delayed, not because we didn't have enough time but because the
countries will need more time to do their work.

As the process from application to approval might easily take 3-6
months it was suggested that we apply to the EC for an unfunded
extension in order to avoid that the whole CLARIN operation as a
coordinated European effort comes to a complete standstill on
January 1st 2011 until the moment the ERIC becomes operational
and can start its activities to coordinate and construct the
CLARIN infrastructure. We have always envisaged a seamless
transition between the preparatory phase and the construction
phase, but this would not be possible under the present
circumstances.

I will therefore propose to the EC that we get an unfunded
extension for 6 months, from January to June 2011.

This will have the following advantages:
- it will allow us to keep the coordination infrastructure
  offered by our contract in place without having to look for a
  new temporary structure to bridge the gap
- such a coordination structure is of the utmost importance since
  even if the formal creation of the ERIC may take some time in
  many countries, national funding for CLARIN may already be
  available and without any central coordination it will not be
  possible to ensure continued consistence, coherence and
  convergence of activities
- it would give us time to refine and improve the specifications
  of the infrastructure and move towards better integration of
  what is already there
- it would allow us to keep the momentum we have managed to build
  up over the last two years
- it will allow CLARIN to maintain its position as an organised
  and visible entity both at the European and the international level
- it will allow countries that are joining later to be part of an
  organisational framework that will facilitate their integration.

What it will not do is offer any new financial resources: we have
to work with the funding we have and there is no way we could
offer any partner an extra budget from our EC funding to support
their activities.

What it DOES offer (as we have seen in many of the participating
countries) is a formal contractual umbrella that will allow our
partners to use their own or their national CLARIN funds to keep
contributing to the CLARIN preparatory phase project. Even at
this time many CLARIN contributions are funded from these sources.

Your task as described in the contract will not change, but the
timing of some of the activities may change as some tasks would
feed directly into the ERIC application whereas others need
not be completed until the official construction starts.

As we would like to combine the request for an unfunded extension
with the accession of new countries to the consortium I need your
reaction (by email, to be confirmed later in writing) early next
week.

If you have any questions please let me know.

Best regards,

Steven