2020 marks 20 years for the EMG group and 10 years for me working with EU funding both as a researcher and a project manager in Budapest, Hungary.
During the last six years I worked as a Senior Project Manager at Europa Media, one of the companies within EMG group. EMG group is active in EU research and innovation projects and in training and capacity building on EU project development and management. Thus, I was actively involved in writing proposals, managing funded projects, as well as delivering training courses on H2020 matters to hundreds of research organisations across Europe. The position required a lot of focus, creativity, independent decisions and teamwork - all at the same time.
It has been a rather rewarding journey, and in this blog, I would like to share my experience and main recommendations on how to become a successful manager of EU-funded projects.
- As a Project Manager, you need to have precise and up-to-date knowledge on the available calls, latest templates, changes in financial and legal regulations for H2020 (and Horizon Europe) Grant Agreements and other updates related to EU funding.
Therefore, if you intend to submit competitive proposals and run your projects smoothly, continuous learning is your best strategy.
I recommend studying the Reference Documents and following the funding updates on the Funding and Tenders Portal. Additional useful links include H2020 news, developing Horizon Europe, Horizon Dashboard and News on EU Research.
Certainly, there are many organisations providing their own resources and tools aimed at supporting beneficiaries in proposal writing or project management. I personally find Science Business, EMDESK, European IP Helpdesk and Europa Media’s Knowledge Base to be the most useful ones.
- Teamwork is needed to deliver quality results.
When developing proposals at Europa Media, I could always rely on the team of graphic designers for articulate project’s visual identity or on the marketing team for an efficient dissemination and communication strategy.
If you are a researcher, try to explain the benefits of your project idea to the communication team in your organisation so that the project is promoted in the best way; if you are leading the tool development, consult with the project manager and end-users regarding the needs to be addressed with the tool functions. I believe that the best results appear when various experts jointly work and adhere to high standards.
- Cooperation and networking maximise your success and visibility.
Every organisation has its own network of partners working on projects in their field. At the same time, people working at the company can extend such networks with personal connections and new networking opportunities. Hence, as a Project Manager, be ready to look for interesting collaboration opportunities with newcomers, established experts and your trusted partners.
Finding a good partner is not always easy, but you can look for organisations on the Funding and Tenders portal, attend EU info days and brokerage events or simply reach out to new institutions, if you find their expertise relevant. A good project idea explained in a clearly structured email might help you end up working with renowned research organisations and universities, even they have not heard of your organisation previously.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful for your daily project management tasks. As for me, I will be tackling new professional challenges in another country; however, I will always recommend Europa Media as a trusted partner for EU-funded projects, capacity building activities and H2020/Horizon Europe support!