What do you do when your consortium project progresses too slowly


Not too far from where we live is a 'barefoot' park. It is organised around several Celtic themes. At one point there is a Celtic maze or labyrinth.

It is just a pattern marked out on the ground with a small hut in the centre and walking the path is meant to be a form of meditation.

What is remarkable about such a labyrinth is that when you start, you are very close to the end.

As you walk the labyrinth following a pattern of concentric circles, you get further and further away from the centre, the goal.

If you don't get too bored and you persist, you will eventually reach the goal.

I could not help but think of the parallels with the way most consortium projects unfold.

A case study

Two years into the U-BIOPRED project attending project meetings was discouraging. There seemed to be an expanding list of insurmountable problems.

Because of the strength of the vision, we persisted.

We developed the concept of having a project team that met weekly and talked through all the current issues.  

Through continual structured dialogue, we were able to make use of the project team's members diverse and substantial experience and knowledge to solve all the ongoing issues. We started out with 38.

Even now 4 years after the funding period ended, the U-BIOPRED consortium continues to thrive. 

You should not be discouraged when a consortium project seems to be making little progress.

The key is interaction.

If you are not interacting with your consortium partners in a meaningful dialogue regularly, then there is a reason for concern.

What to do if your consortium project is progressing slowly

  1. Determine if there could be more interaction with consortium partners?
  2. Structure your interactions to focus on dialogue about issues and problems, not presentations
  3. Increase your opportunities for interaction

If your consortium is highly interactive, have the confidence that even though you seem to be going further and further from the goal, you will reach the goal. 

Scott Wagers

"The Consortium Whisperer" Physician and researcher who has spent the last 12 years engaged in developing biomedical R&D consortia, as well as designing and supporting the delivery of consortium based projects.

No matter who you are, you can, and you should innovate through consortia. They are the only way to make a big difference to the future of medicine. Want to find out how? Get in touch.