The kick-off meeting ensures that the project is carried out in accordance with the decision’s terms and valid legislation. In the first phase, the funding authority will invite the beneficiaries’ representatives, including the project personnel, to the kick-off meeting to discuss a common set of rules applicable to funding and implementation, as well as any regulations and guidelines that guide the activities.
Other matters to be discussed include the practical implementation of the project and key factors related to financial management, payments, reporting, monitoring and control. A memo of the kick-off meeting will be pre-pared and attached to project information.
Hint: Read the decision and its attachments beforehand to know how to ask specifying questions.
The beneficiary will appoint a steering group for the project if it is required in the project’s funding decision. The steering group guides, supports and monitors the project’s progress with regard to both its content and costs. Its purpose is to help the project achieve its goals and guide the implementation of the project in terms of its content. However, the steering group is not legally responsible for project activities, as this responsibility is held by the beneficiary.
The aim is that project management is supported by the most extensive expertise possible close to practical activities. It is recommended that the steering group also include a representative of each gender. Members should include representatives of both genders. Memos of steering group meetings must be maintained. More detailed terms for the steer-ing group’s activities are defined in the project’s funding decision.
Hint: Try to engage the steering group in such activities in which you would also like to participate.
Assessing the activities is part of normal project activities. An assessment method that best supports the activities must be selected for the project. The assessment can be a self-assessment or an external service. The project’s implementation and results must be assessed relative to its goals. In addition to the project personnel and steering group, representatives of partners and target groups should be heard during the assessment. Based on the assessment, any realignment of the project can be negotiated with the funding authority.
In addition to the achievement of goals, the assessment can cover:
- the steering group’s activities;
- the measures carried out during the project and their quality; or
- the continuity of the activities developed during the project.
Hint: Check out the websites dealing with self-assessments.
Monitoring the project’s goals and results
Beneficiaries are obligated to report the achievement of their project’s measures and goals to the funding authority. A monitoring report that describes activities and results must be prepared for each payment period. Receiving support requires that the report be submitted, and the funding authority approve it.
The monitoring report must clearly describe the project’s activities and tangible results. The report must compare the results with the goals set and analyse their achievement.
The final report summarises all project activities and results and assesses the achievement of the project’s goals. It also assesses the project’s success and describes how the activities developed during the project will continue after the project. The report must honestly describe any problems experienced during the project and present any development proposals.
Hint: Keep the project plan visible when writing your report. Read the EURA 2021 system’s reporting instructions early on.
Hint: Start writing the final report sufficiently early before your project ends and give yourself enough time to write it.
Changes in the implementation of the project
The project must be implemented in accordance with the approved project plan attached to the funding decision. Sometimes, measures do not lead to the expected results, or the cost estimate does not match specified plans, in which case submitting a change application should be considered. If any need for change arises, contact the funding authority in advance. The project’s steering group is to discuss any need for change in the project’s implementation, content or funding before the relevant application is submitted to the funding authority.
Significant changes always require a change application and the related decision. Changes do not come into force until the funding authority has approved them through its decision. Changes cannot be approved retroactively. Changes must therefore be proactively addressed and communicated to the funding authority.
Hint: Always react to any needs for change in good time.
Hint: When using simplified cost models, it is important to ensure the opportunities to modify the cost estimate are often limited, which is why you should allocate enough time to planning your project during the early stages to have an accurate cost estimate and cost model.
Rooting and disseminating the project’s results
The primary purpose of project funding is to be a driving force for completely new activities. It is therefore important for the applicant to plan how to continue the activities or otherwise use the results. Project funding is not a permanent form of funding for activities, and project results must also be freely usable afterwards.
The key question in rooting project results is how you can productise or market your project’s results (e.g. new operating methods) in your regular activities or those of your partner organisation.
Hint: Plenty of useful guides and examples to support productisation and marketing are available on the internet.
Hint: Start rooting in your own organisation. How can you sell your product to another organisation if your organisation has not adopted it?