East London Comic Arts Festival

Some final tips for your Cooperation Projects application

With the deadline for Cooperation Projects on 7 October, we have put together a few top tips for completing your application. 

For more in-depth advice, you’re welcome to come along to an application workshop in London and join a UK-wide broadcast of a webinar, both on Monday 21 September. You can also call or email one of our Culture team with other questions or queries. 

1) The Guide for Experts provides the framework for the independent experts who evaluate applications
Read this to understand exactly what they will be looking for in an excellent project. 

2) In the project schedule, allow time in the project for the preparation and reporting stages
Once you’ve been selected for funding, it will take time for the funding agreement to be signed. 

3) Think about how to build effective project governance into the project
Consider how planning in regular partner meetings can allow you to discuss how the project is going, whether it is on track with its aims, what changes might been to be made and of course whether you and the partners are still on budget.

4) The Cooperation Agreement between the partners is very important
There is no official Creative Europe template for this but here are some suggestions for what to include:

  • Roles and responsibilities of the partners (referring to the actual application)
  • Financial management
  • Distribution of EU grant (schedule of payments between partner organisations)
  • Scenarios where partners' financial contribution does not meet pledged amounts, whether the project budget is accordingly downscaled (avoid this, but talk to the EACEA – who manages the Creative Europe programme in Brussels -  if this becomes the case) or partners each put in a little more to allow the project to continue according to plan and on budget. Or what to do in case of underspend/getting too much income
  • Reporting procedures (whether the partners should be using templates for regular financial reporting?)
  • Ownership of intellectual property
  • Confidentiality
  • Resolution of conflict
  • Termination

The DESCA - Model Consortium Agreements provides templates for a partners' Cooperation Agreement. However, these are aimed at the Horizon 2020 programme, which is much heavier and requires much more detail than Creative Europe and you may want to strip a lot out of it and refer mostly to the actual application itself, the eForm with schedule, and the budget form as an annexe to your customised Cooperation Agreement.

5) Take care with how you deal with costs incurred through third/non-eligible countries
You can include costs incurred through third/non eligible countries and partners for up to 30% of the overall project budget but all costs for these must go through one of the full partner organisations' books, even if this is only reimbursing the third/non-eligible country partner.

6) In-kind contribution cannot go in the budget
The programme cannot fund against partner contributions which are in-kind, except for documented (time sheets, amended job descriptions etc) staff time, which can be for project coordination and/or artistic/technical/specialist input. Assume that “if it hasn’t happened on paper, it hasn’t happened in practice”. Money must change hands and all project income and project costs must be documented in an accounting system with relevant invoices or paperwork. However partners can of course donate the use of their spaces and volunteers' time. These in-kind donations will show the partners' commitment and strengthen the project; it just cannot go into the budget for the programme to co-fund against.

7) Include the official 'Kick Off Meeting' in Brussels within the costs and activities of your project, which the EACEA organises for the selected projects' lead organisations
The ‘kick-off meeting’ usually takes place in the autumn when the EACEA runs a meeting with all project leaders and usually for two people from the lead partner organisation, one on the creative/curatorial/coordination side and one on the administrative and finance side. This will include guidance on reporting and is a great opportunity to meet your project officer at the EACEA and network with other project leaders.

8) As you fill in the e-Form and additional documents, don’t forget that the Guide for Applicants takes you step-by-step through the process and provides useful overview information for each section

9) Use the check list on the last page of the Guidelines to make sure that you have all the mandatory documents required for your application

10) Think carefully about how you will share your project
You may already be planning on sharing events such as inviting peer organisations and stakeholders in your region/country for them to learn from what you’re doing and achieving. Creative Europe Desk UK can help you spread the word about your project too, and you could mention this in your application. 

And of course, keep in touch with us
Don’t forget to let us know how the application is going and whether you do actually submit an application.
Then when the results are published in March 2016 please let us know if your application is successful or not (you’ll find out before we do!). If your project is selected then we can help to communicate your success and if your project is not awarded funding, then we can go through the evaluation feedback with you and work with you to improve the project for a potential re-submission in 2016. 

Photo: East London Comic Arts Festival, part of a Cooperation Project called Transbook