Interview with Padraic OReilly, Research Manager at Limerick Institute of Technology and coordinator of the HP4ALL project

What challenges a coordinator faces when managing a project in COVID times? How are they overcome?

The first challenge we faced in the HP4All project was the fact that the project began during the Covid19 pandemic which meant that we couldn’t hold a face-to-face kick-off meeting. This is normally a great chance for team members to meet and spend a day or two getting to know each other as well as setting out the plans for the project. For this project we are fortunate in that most of the partners have worked with each other in the past, so that even if some individuals are new to each other, their organisations have interacted before, sometimes for many years!

Initial tasks are focused on market research and the gathering of information from end-users and experts in the heat pump industry. Some of this work can be conducted online or over the phone without any difficulty, whereas conducting interviews and focus groups which would have been carried out face to face have had to be conducted remotely.

Key to our project will be successful interaction with the marketplace in our 3 pilot regions of Austria, Ireland and Spain. We will be trying to reach different audiences in each region to provide information and training to building owners and to those designing and installing heat pump systems. Getting time with these audiences during COVID times is one of our biggest challenges but we are committed to finding alliances in each region that can help us to disseminate the fruits of our research.