The ten commandments of writing good Erasmus+ project proposals

After the winter holidays, organisations from all over Europe working in adult education will write new proposals for Erasmus+ projects. A blog post from Rik Vanderhauwaert summarises the ten commandments of writing good Erasmus+ project proposals. Rik Vanderhauwaert is working for the Flemish Board of Catholic Education, the regional umbrella organisation of the Flemish Catholic Adult Education Service, an EAEA member.

1. You shall reflect well before you start

Do the European objectives and those of your organisation (and of your partner organisations) match? Do you know what the European objectives for education as well as the specific objectives for adult education are? If not, have a look at the Erasmus+ Programme Guide! Find out what the aims are and what is expected from the projects before you start writing yours.

2. You shall use the Programme Guide as your “bible”

The Erasmus+ Programme Guide consists of three parts and several annexes. You do not have to read everything, but make sure to read the parts that are relevant for you thoroughly. Terms such as ‘intellectual outputs’, ‘dissemination’ and ‘PIC code’ shouldn’t be new to you anymore. And do not forget the annexes as they will tell you quite a lot about Erasmus+.

3. You shall not say ‘Yes’ to someone you have never met

Only in TV shows do people get married at first sight – this should not be the case when developing a project. European events or workshops are perfect for getting to know potential project partners. Search for reliable partners who take care of their administration. And make sure that your entire team is enthusiastic about the project, and not only one individual. It is imperative to get support from everyone in order to make your project succeed.

4. You shall also relax!

It is not always possible to work at 150%, so take some time during transnational partner meetings to get to know the culture of your destination country. Erasmus+ is a great way to learn more about Europe in a professional setting.

5. You shall not write a project alone

If at all possible, meet the project partners before starting to write your project application. Make it a collaborative process and create a common document where everyone can give their comments and feedback. Everyone can be involved, but there should only be one person making a coherent proposal for the application and filling in the official application form.

6. You shall make good agreements

Every partner needs to sign and send a mandate in which the organisation states to agree with the project proposal. If your partner does not want to fulfil their part of the work, you can use the mandate to refer to the commitments made for the project. Good agreements are the basis of a good project (and a good collaboration within the project).

7. You shall be convincing from the first to the last sentence

Those who evaluate the project have to read a large number of project applications in little time. Convince them from the first to the last sentence of your project proposal. Be clear and concise and make sure that the structure of the text is logical.

8. You shall avoid repetition

In the official application form, very similar questions are asked repeatedly. Know about the fine differences between them and be coherent without repeating (too much) what you have already said before.

9. You shall take time to learn together from the process

There are several ways to include learning activities in your project. You can apply for a budget for training activities for all partners of the consortium. You can also invite experts to your multiplier events, or learn from the experience of your partners.

10. You shall not be discouraged!

Everyone fails (with project applications) at some point. A refused project is the beginning of an even better project proposal. Talk to your National Agency or more experienced organisations to further elaborate and rewrite your project.

Good luck!

The deadlines for Erasmus+ projects in adult education in 2018 are:

  • Key Action 1 (Learning mobilities for adult education staff): 1 February 2018, 12 CET
  • Key Action 2 (Strategic partnerships): 21 March 2018, 12 CET

This article was originally published in Dutch by the Liaison Agency Flanders – Europe (VLEVA). Translation and editing: Raffaela Kihrer.