Challenges in eu projects
Regardless of whether you are a private company, NGO or public entity, participation in transnational projects brings about numerous new stimuli and opens up new perspectives:
- Development of innovative products together with partners from other countries
- Participation in cutting-edge European developments
- Access to new fields of activities and markets
- Use of new contacts for further cooperation
- New ideas and a breath of fresh air: how do others do this?
- Motivation and competence development of the staff involved in the project
- Reputation and publicity as an organisation with a European dimension
However, EU projects also pose considerable challenges to the professionals involved, in particular to the project leaders:
The planning challenge:
EU projects require very high planning efforts in the application phase and throughout the implementation period.
The administrative challenge:
Detailed programme rules and regulations make project documentation and reporting extremely resource-intensive.
The coordination challenge:
Effective and efficient project management are needed as well as personal leadership qualities and the capacity to motivate yourself and inspire others.
The cooperation challenge:
The diversity of cooperating organisations with often diverse competences, approaches, motivation, interests and organisational cultures must be utilised for innovation and mutual learning. Professionals (most likely of different occupations, age, experience and status) work together for the first time and need to be developed into a motivated and performing team.
The intercultural challenge:
Project partners are not only geographically dispersed but culturally diverse, leading to cultural differences with regard to values and beliefs, which will emerge in the daily work of the project. Language barriers may present additional challenges too.
The virtual challenge:
Communication and cooperation of the project team scattered around Europe have to be largely facilitated through suitable information and communication technologies. Team building and resolution of merging conflicts also take place mainly via Internet. A virtual communication system tailor-made to the specific needs of the project is therefore critical for the success of the cooperation.
The quality challenge:
Funding programmes have high expectations towards EU projects. In most cases innovative results of high quality need to be accomplished. Consequently, quality management and evaluation play an important role in EU projects.
The impact challenge:
In most funding schemes it is not sufficient if a project consortium develops something innovative and the partners involved profit from it. The project needs to make sure that wider target groups in Europe are reached and make use of the project results. Therefore dissemination and exploitation of results need to be planned thoroughly from the project start.
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