Erasmus+ Application Guide II – Project Design

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You have set out the objectives and the overall vision and now is time to envisage the ins and outs of the project. Here we focus on the preparation of activities, their implementation and their monitoring.


A starting point for the project design is to create documents that confirm the participation and commitment of the relevant stakeholders and these documents include the following:

  1. Cooperation agreements between partner organisations
  2. Memorandums of understanding with host organisations
  3. Learning agreements between organisations and parents/students
  4. Quality commitment agreements signed by all participants

These documents are often attached in the application therefore it’s important that the objectives that are referenced, align with the following:

  1. The objectives set out at the start of the application (see Application Guide I)
  2. The participants’ goals e.g. academic, vocational, emotional
  3. The European development plan for the applicant organisation


Outlining Activities

You have to present a timeline of scheduled activities that are:

  • Realistic
  • Achievable
  • Purposeful
  • Inclusive

With these considerations in mind, you need to give details of the kinds of activities that the participants will undertake. These activities must then be presented in depth, for example, it’s one thing to say there will be ‘seminars’ and it’s another to clarify that it will be ‘instructed teaching’ followed by ‘focus groups’ and opportunities for ‘leadership’ and ‘team-building’.

By presenting a series of regular and fixed activities, it’s then easier to complete subsequent sections that ask about how progress and results will be monitored I.e. you have something to work with.

You will need to liaise with the organisation you are representing to confirm what activities they wish to do. They must also confirm roughly the months that they hope to carry out each activity, in order to make their application more meaningful and convincing.

Alongside the activities, you must also break down the mechanisms assisting in their creation. For example, if an organisation is planning to host a conference, be clear about the preparatory steps to make that conference happen e.g. press releases by school, training workshops on debating, information evening for parents etc.

If the client is re-submitting an application following a rejection, do point out that the application has taken into consideration the feedback that was received and that many sections have been improved with further details.


Summarising Activities

Many applications require a summary of the activities. This involves not only outlining what actions will be taking place but also explaining in a summarised form what benefits will be acquired for the participants and the organisation as a whole. The advantages surrounding the activities need to be presented in order for the application to better align with the EDP (European Development Plan) objectives.

For example, if you are referring to vocational training abroad, it is worth mentioning that the participants are based in a remote area and need exposure to new methods in industry / information technology / commerce / business. If the participants are based in an urban area, you could point out that the students are in need of ‘accelerated learning to adapt to fast changing environments’ and that the ‘purpose of the vocational training is to kick start their experience before entering a very competitive market’.

The above comments are a means of presenting the relevance of the project. Here you must go beyond the obvious I.e. do not simply refer to the ‘further internationalisation’ of the participants – that is a given! Go into detail about the deeper incentives of such activities, with points such as the following:

  • Being a VET training school, we have a tradition of combining academic and theoretical teaching with practical internships therefore we want to integrate a mobility abroad as part of our hands-on training
  • With our students growing up in a rural and highly insular society, we want to introduce them to different cultures and new ways of working that can teach them to appreciate other peoples but also give insight into approaches that they could integrate into their everyday lives
  • We want to raise the profile of our organisation by building a more international network. By interacting with companies abroad, we hope to create a strong rapport with key business leaders and possibly extend our cooperation with further internships and job roles in the near future

With many applications, a common feature of the Summary section is to divide the activities into a series of phases: preparation; implementation; follow-up. For each phase you can then present a list of activities carried out e.g. implementation: airport transfers for all participants, welcome drinks at hotel reception, tour of town and meetings with Mayor followed by cultural programme etc.


Presenting the Partners

Whether the partner is a school or a university or a company, be sure to present the expertise or specialisation of that organisation in order to emphasise why your organisation has selected them. It needs to be made clear what opportunities are being provided by collaborating with these partners. Give reference to their feats in research or innovation or their good reputation as employers.

Be specific about the topics that will be explored through the cooperation with partners: what aspects of learning will be explored, what subjects will be tackled, what skills will be cultivated.

Mention if the partners have been involved in Erasmus+ before or whether there has been cooperation with them in previous projects, in order to bolster the application further.


Selecting Participants

This may require liaising with the organisation you are writing for but get to the bottom of WHO was chosen, WHY and HOW they were chosen – be clear on the criteria and methodology that was used.

Begin by presenting a clear profile of the participants e.g. for students, refer to age, grade, subject focus or in the case of VET training, what level they have already reached. Describe what learning goals they will be cultivating and double check that it matches the project needs.

Concerning the selection, here are some criteria that can be presented:

  • Specific age group
  • Student of a particular subject
  • Student belong to a certain extra-curricular club
  • Students with the most convincing letter of application or best performance in the interview stage
  • Students displaying the highest rate of academic improvement in the previous school year

In the same way, give details on how the accompanying staff were selected and on what grounds – what criteria do they fulfil and what expertise does each teacher bring to the project.


Assigning Roles

You must be specific about who is doing what, in order to give the application greater validity. Be absolutely clear about which members of the organisation are carrying out the following:

  1. Selecting the participating teachers and students
  2. Communicating with partner organisations and selected members of the project
  3. Reporting to senior management on the progress of the project
  4. Monitoring the budget and carrying out important administrative tasks
  5. Carrying out the report writing
  6. Delegating responsibilities to other staff members, whilst hosting


Preparation Stage

Many applications want information about the preparation that is carried out before the mobility. Just like every section of the application, do not be vague. The meatier the better however ensure that you are adding points that are meaningful and logical. Concerning preparation tasks, they could be any of the following:

  • Classes / seminars / presentations
  • Group work and individual projects
  • Debating sessions
  • Intercultural awareness programmes
  • Linguistic support
  • Interviews, questionnaires and other forms of information gathering
  • Risk prevention steps e.g. health and safety talk
  • Creation of media e.g. video about the school
  • Use of eTwinning platform for preliminary group and individual tasks
  • Vocabulary lists
  • Internships within local environment
  • Skype interviews

Here is a sample of what can be mentioned:

‘In order to prepare our students for their vocational training in Italy, we began with an information evening for parents and students where we presented some information about the mobility location and the hosting organisation. We then proceeded to host 2 months of language lessons after school under the direction of Mrs. Wilson. We also provided some local work experience at a design studio so that they could get acquainted with basic knowledge and skills before visiting the advertising agency in Milan. We also provided Skype sessions with the hosting organisation and the group leader based there’.


Quality Control

You need to convince the judging committee that the project will have systems in place to ensure quality control.

One thing that definitely needs to be included is the collaboration with a ‘licenced tour agency’ (I.e. Travel Edventures). State that the agency is an ‘intermediary organisation’ and emphasise the fact that, due to their longstanding experience in coordinating educational trips, they are responsible for ensuring that practical and logistical needs are fulfilled successfully e.g. travel, accommodation, meals, insurance, health and safety standards.

In some location, the support of Travel Edventures includes a ‘group leader’ and again this needs to be mentioned. Do elaborate on the fact that a group leader is present during the mobility abroad and that the leader has important responsibilities for ensuring the quality of the project such as: introducing the partner organisations with their host, providing support to participating students, overseeing the fulfilment of all tasks.

Aside from this, there are also the methods of evaluation that will be carried out throughout the project. Get to the ‘nitty-gritty’ and present what steps are taken to monitor participants and ensure that all activities are happening successfully. Such methods that can be mentioned include:

  • Frequent contact with students via phone/email/discussion groups at their accommodation
  • Email and telephone (e.g. whatsapp) communication with training providers
  • Questionnaires and feedback forms for participants

Most applications also ask about what Erasmus+ platforms the organisation aims to use. In most cases, the most suitable platform for our clients is eTwinning. If mentioned, you can explain that eTwinning is used throughout the project, both as a communication tool for preparations before mobilities but also as a form of dissemination to showcase project results.

In the section asking about ‘monitoring arrangements’, try to create a cycle of monitoring that covers each stage of the project. For each part of the cycle, show who is responsible for the monitoring and what methods they will be carrying out. Show a variety of monitoring methods, everything from verbal communication to data recording to group blogging. Some things to consider are:

  • Who will monitor the students in the preparation stage to ensure that they are fully equipped for the mobility? How will the monitoring be done – with a formal/informal assessment or a simple focus group session?
  • Who will be monitoring during the course of the mobility – will the students be assigned a relevant mentor amongst the accompanying staff? What materials e.g. written, electronic, will assist in the monitoring?
  • What steps will be taken for students to monitor themselves e.g. self-evaluation form, diary, activity book etc.

Finally, be careful when mentioning official terms – do some research into what they are before mentioning them. Any vague comment concerning these terms and you may get caught out! For example, many applications for VET activities mention the use of ECVET without clarifying HOW. Make sure that you are aware that ECVET is the EU’s credit system that essentially defines the qualitative value of the project. Therefore do not name drop unless you know what you are talking about e.g. explain that the vocational training will be measured in terms of ECVET and this accreditation will then be included in the students’ qualifications.


For further information regarding the application process please also read the following blogs: