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Proposal Development

Part 4.: Actual proposal preparation

Happy New Year everyone! In this first blog post of 2013, we continue with our Proposal Development blog series. Our other blog series on the project lifecycle will also continue in the upcoming days and weeks.

In Part 3 of this blog series, we had established the consortium for our transnational European project proposal. Having established the consortium is a milestone, after which you can proceed with the actual preparation of the proposal.

Of course, nothing prevents you from already starting developing the proposal before completing the partnership; however, as the consortium composition is intrinsically linked to your proposed action in terms of the required expertise to implement that action, it would be more advisable to proceed with the development of the major parts of the proposal upon completion of the partnership, or at least the “core” partnership. Paradoxically, it also happens oftentimes that you notice while detailing your work plan that you are actually missing certain expertise to cover certain tasks, and realise that you had better bring in another partner. This is also totally OK.

Probably, the most characteristic feature of this whole process (proposal preparation) is that it is “iterative”. It is typical to return back to various stages a number of times to refine, rectify and adjust certain things until perfection. Keeping this in mind, let’s have a look at the next steps in putting together the proposal.


Most project proposals (applications) consist of three major parts:

  • Administrative
  • Technical
  • Financial

Before starting filling in or developing any of these parts, it is imperative to make a sound planning on the preparation and compilation of the proposal. For this, it is important to understand clearly the formal requirements as well as the amount and scope of the information and material which you need to compile (quantitatively and qualitatively).

Clearly, you have already checked the requirements at first place while assessing your project concept against the call for proposals and while establishing your consortium. You may also have prior and ongoing experience in preparing and submitting proposals under EU programmes. However, although the general eligibility conditions and requirements of the programmes usual remain the same throughout the implementation period of that programme, the specific requirements of the call for proposals may show differences from year to year (or call to call). New sections may be added to application forms, templates may get updated, submission procedures may change. For this reason, it is advisable to check and double-check carefully the work programme and the call text:

  • If not indicated already, try to figure out how much budget is available for the work programme topic you are targeting and how many proposals are expected to be funded (in so doing, understand the budgetary limitations for your project);
  • Check whether there are any specific requirements on the partnership (e.g. SME involvement, involvement of certain end-users, etc.);
  • See whether there are any other “horizontal” issues to consider and address in the proposal (e.g. gender issues, social aspects, spill-over effects of the action, etc.);
  • Though a very simple suggestion, many mistakes actually happen here: make sure to download the latest application forms and templates!


Once you have a clear picture of all of the requirements as well as the data and information you need to compile, then make a plan. In our next post, Part 5 of this blog series, we will look into detailed planning of the compilation of the different pieces of a project proposal and the first steps of action by the proposal coordinator.

Till then, we wish you a great kick-start of the year!



Like this post? Read also:


Part 1.: Are European projects for us?

Part 2.: Project idea formulation

Part 3.: Build the consortium

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