Survey reveals that European ALE organisations struggle with access to EU funding opportunities

In a recent survey conducted across adult learning and education (ALE) organisations in Europe in the framework of the Path2EU4AE project, a concerning revelation has emerged: many organisations lack crucial information about various European Union funding programmes available to them. While the Erasmus+ programme is widely known and used in the sector, other funding programmes such as CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values) and Creative Europe are still largely unknown to many organisations.

The survey, aimed at assessing the familiarity and engagement of ALE organisations with EU funding programmes, brought to light the limited awareness surrounding several key initiatives. More than half of the 100 organisations that participated in the survey had no or very little knowledge of programmes such as CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values), Creative Europe, EU4Health, and the LIFE programme. Only a small number of organisations have heard about these programmes, and very few of them have participated in an action funded through these instruments.


Erasmus+ remains the number 1 EU funding programme for ALE

Familiarity with AMIF (Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund) and Horizon Europe was comparatively higher, with around 1 out of 5 organisations having worked on AMIF-funded projects and around 1 out of 10 on Horizon Europe-funded projects. The European Solidarity Corps, although known to many organisations, was not seen as a viable option for funding ALE activities. Not surprisingly, the Erasmus+ programme came in first place in terms of awareness and usage – with a large lead over all other programmes. A large majority of organisations are not only aware of this programme but have also actively participated in activities within it.

Getting the practical aspects right

Perhaps most revealing is the fact that not even half of the surveyed organisations were aware of the EU Funding and Tenders portal, a key resource listing all calls directly managed by the European Commission. This lack of awareness could potentially hinder organisations from accessing valuable information about EU funding opportunities.

Not even half of the surveyed organisations were aware of the EU Funding and Tenders portal.

Furthermore, the survey highlighted that 4 out of 5 organisations had an EU login, but that only 2 out of 5 possessed a PIC (Participant Identification Code) number necessary for participation in projects. While 4 out of 5 organisations have participated in EU-funded projects in the last five years, a significant majority served as project partners, with only half taking on the role of project coordinators.

Lack of time and staff, complex applications and lack of access to information keep organisations from using EU funding opportunities

The primary reasons cited for non-participation in EU-funded projects were a lack of time and staff within the organisations, followed closely by the perceived complexity and difficulty of application procedures. A notable portion of respondents also expressed a lack of knowledge about available funding opportunities. Additionally, doubts about the benefits of EU funding for their organisations and concerns regarding the low funding levels or co-financing requirements were also raised.

More information and awareness raising needed

These findings underscore the urgent need for increased awareness and support mechanisms to bridge the information gap and enhance the participation of ALE associations in various EU funding programmes. Efforts should be directed towards simplifying application processes, sharing information on funding opportunities more widely, and addressing concerns about the practical benefits of EU funding.

One of the central aims of the Path2EU4AE project is to simplify access to information on relevant funding opportunities through an easy-to-use online tool. As the European Commission continues to promote and invest in various programmes, all eligible organisations must have equal access to and understanding of the opportunities available to them.

Text: EAEA

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