Application forms are available online, through the websites of the national contact point or the Commission.
Before applying for EU funds, it is important to have a clear idea of what the project aims to accomplish and ensure that all partners in the project are fully aware and supportive. The project idea needs to be checked against the programme's objective and all the formal call criteria. The European added value should be explicit at a very early stage of the process and should include a clear objective for the distribution of the project results after the project has been completed. Making a budget for the project is time-consuming as it needs to be realistic and coherent even at an early stage.
Writing an application includes the following basic elements:
The idea, objectives and target group should be carefully defined. What is unique in this project? What is the main innovation compared to what is already available? What does the project want to do, and for whom, how and when does it want to do it? Which needs does the project respond to?
A clear target hierarchy should be established, with quantity measures of resources and the time needed to carry out the project.
What methods and techniques will the project use to obtain its objective? In larger projects, it is important to use a work package structure to describe the different stages of the project. In all proposals, it is important to be clear about milestones and objectives, including timelines, throughout the project.
The application usually describes each project partner in detail, how each partner contributes to the project objective and how the partners cooperate. Here again, the European added value should be emphasised.
Information, dissemination and exploitation of project results is an integral part of an application. How, who and when will the project inform?
Realistic budgeting is an essential part of any successful EU project.
EU financing is usually based on three types of grants: reimbursement of eligible costs, lump sums or flat rate financing. These may be used to cover the entire EU financial contribution for a funding scheme or more than one may be combined. For most programmes, reimbursement of eligible costs is the preferred method. However, lump sums and flat rate financing will be used more extensively in the new programmes.
When a project starts, its coordinator usually reports the costs and the results to the Commission on an annual or biannual basis. Based on this, the Commission conducts regular reviews of the project, to ensure that it is following its objectives and the formal criteria for funding.
It is also crucial to submit the application on time. Often, excellent applications are deemed ineligible due to avoidable mistakes or late arrival.