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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



Extract from the Secret Diary of an External Evaluator

by Ronnad Baot Murphy
Language: EN

There are common pitfalls in project proposals under ERASMUS+ which can easily be avoided and which can significantly increase the quality of the application.  



First Impressions Count!

  • The summary should describe the proposed project. It should focus on the project’s aims and roles, describe who is involved, and it should indicate why and how this will be achieved. Also, the summary should describe the project’s results, and should identify a clear target audience.
  • Copying and pasting content from sections in the application form does not produce a coherent project summary as such content is taken out of context and would require further information for the reader’s full comprehension.   

Consistency is Key!

  • Consistency throughout the application is important, for instance, when referring to the number of participants, to project meetings, to partners, to team members or to target groups. Use the same label throughout the application when naming committees, groups of learners, target audiences and participants in the project.
  • Most importantly, have consistent aims and objectives throughout the proposal, and keep the entire application within the scope of these. Give equal weight to each aim and each objective throughout the application, and avoid leaving any aim and objective underdeveloped.
  • Ensure that the project timetable reflects the application form. The dates and activities in the narrative section should mirror the Gantt Chart.

(Not) Fitting a Square Peg into a Round Hole!

  • Projects should clearly demonstrate how they sit in the field of adult education. The field of adult education is broad and definitions vary from country to country.
  • When selecting priorities, create a coherent and constructive account of how and why your project links with the selected priorities. 

The activities should be relevant to the target audience and necessary to achieve the objectives:

  • If you decide to produce intellectual outputs, demonstrate the relationship between each intellectual output and goal of the project. Stipulate the steps involved in their development, illustrating the amount and type of work involved.
  • Concerning teaching/training/learning activities, outline in detail who will be participating. Go further, and indicate who will dispense these activities, and how.  Ensure that learning is recognised.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention!!

  • There should be convincing evidence as to why the project should be developed. The needs of the participating organisations, the target groups and the adult education field in general, should be clear, and it should also be clear how the project will address the needs, or fill a gap, in current provision. It is important to include how the needs are identified and which measures were used.
  • In the descriptions of the partnership organisations, it should be clear how the proposed project is relevant to each partner. They should outline their role in the field of adult education.

This Sounds Familiar!

  • Each project management and implementation plan should be tailored to and suitable for achieving the results of the proposal. Do not copy and paste from previously approved applications. This can be tempting, particularly in areas related to project management and implementation, which can appear to be generic aspects of project management and implementation. Make your application stand out and develop a bespoke project management and implementation plan.
  • Prove that you have done your research. Check the EU Project Results Platform for similar projects, and establish how your project is providing added value.

Anyone else out there!

  • Ensure that each partner has access to the relevant target group. Even better is the active involvement of the target audience in the development of the project creating buy in and commitment to the project.
  • It should be clear how the project will have an impact on the project team, on the participating organisations as well as on the target group.
  • Dissemination should be relevant and specific to the project. Name the targeted organisations at local, regional, national and EU levels.
  • Sustainability of project results should be addressed in detail. If your project produces intellectual outputs, demonstrate who will use them as well as how and why they will use them.

There is No I in a TEAM!!

  • Each partner should have a clear role and meaningful participation in the project. The roles of the partners should match the skills of the participating staff members. 

  • It is evident when one person has completed an application with little or no input from the remainder of the partnership. Remember that developing the project proposal is the first step in working together.

 Too Good to be True!!

Ensure that the application is realistic and can be achieved by the partnership involved within the requested budget. Be realistic about the number of people impacted as well as the level of impact.

Author: Anonymous


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