How to learn European project writing

Learning European project writing. The advantages of starting with Strategic Partnerships projects

If you want to learn to write European projects, you have to start with a specific measure of a specific programme. In European programs, the term ‘program’ refers to a group of lines of funding created by the same legislative measure, while the term ‘measure’ (or ‘action’) refers to a specific line of funding targeted at a specific target group that usually uses a specific application form. For example, Erasmus+ is the name of the programme approved the 19th of November 2013 by a Resolution of the European Parliament, while Strategic Partnerships is the measure inside Erasmus+ funding cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices in education.

Once you have learned project writing on a specific measure the principles and techniques already learnt will make you easy to pass to other European programs or measures. Amongst the many existing measures, Strategic Partnerships are especially suited for beginners.

The advantages of Strategic Partnerships

  1. Strategic Partnerships are focused on the wide field of education and are open to a large kind of organizations, for example to schools, universities, training organizations, NGOs, public organizations, youth organizations, sport organizations, businesses. Other existing European programs or measures are focused on much narrower sectors (such as nanotechnology or environmental protection) and reserved only to organizations of specific nature, such as not profit or public.
  2. Strategic Partnerships projects can be submitted by only 3 legal persons (2 for schools), while other European programs or measures require bigger partnerships.
  3. Strategic Partnerships in practice don’t require cofinancing, while other European programs or measures do. Cofinancing is problematic for all the organizations working solely with public funding.
  4. In most countries, every organization can submit as many projects it wants, while in other European programs or measures this is not possible.
  5. Every Strategic Partnership call funds many projects (the number depending by the size of the country), while other European programs or measures every call fund only 1 or a few projects.
  6. The budget of Strategic Partnerships is drawn at unit costs, so it’s easy. This way, financial reporting is facilitated too.
  7. The application form of the Strategic Partnerships requires to attach only scanned mandates by partners, not the originals as in other European measures or programs, and the mandates don’t show the amount requested. This way preparing the application form is much eased compared to other measures and programs.
  8. The questions of the application form of Strategic Partnerships are simple to answer.

The disadvantages of Strategic Partnerships

Strategic Partnerships have also some minor disadvantages:

  1. The application form of the Strategic Partnerships is pdf, so it takes a longer time to fill (1 or 2 half days, once all the texts and budget are ready) compared to other European measures where most of the application form has to be written in word and excel. Additionally, if you replace a partner all the parts of the already written application form where the partner was involved will be deleted.
  2. Every application form has an identification number, so is not possible to use the same already filled application form (using the command ‘save as’) to submit another similar proposal.
  3. The application form of Strategic Partnerships doesn’t require to structure the project in work packages, while the most part of the other European programs or measures do. This makes easier to write Strategic Partnership projects, but is an obstacle when swithching to write on other European programs or measures. However, in my workshops I always make the participants familiarize with work packages and structure their project idea in work packages.
  4. In Strategic Partnerships staff costs are funded with a small lump sum (500 €/month for the applicant and 250 €/month for every partner, total respectively 18,000 € and 9,000 € for a 3 year project). Additional staff costs can be added only for the development of intellectual outputs of European value. However, in my workshop I teach how to structure the project idea so to reach the maximum budget of 150,000 € /year.
  5. Strategic Partnerships projects are submitted at National agencies. In some countries evaluation could be biased.