On 12-13 May 2011, EUNIC in Brussels welcomed staff from 14 EUNIC member institutes for a two-day training session on European co-funding, with the overall objective to encourage closer co-operation and the sharing of good practice between EUNIC clusters.
The first of a series of training courses for EUNIC colleagues was organised on EU co-funding with the support of the British Council and the Goethe-Institut. The course aimed to provide the participants with general yet detailed information that will certainly benefit their future activities and foster their involvement in European projects.
Thanks to a questionnaire sent preliminarily to the course, the trainers Eva Lutzmann (British Council) and Sebastian Seiffert (Goethe-Institut) were able to develop a programme that fully met the participants’ expectations. An overview of the existing EU funding programmes, in particular four community programmes - Lifelong Learning, Youth, Europe for Citizens, and Culture - was presented before getting deeper into more technical knowledge related to the implementation of an EU co-funded project. Specific requirements concerning the application procedure were highlighted, including key rules to writing a good proposal and dealing with budgetary questions. Along with the theoretical presentations, the participants were able to put into practice what they were learning through individual or group exercises. In order to illustrate the presentation given by the trainers, Carmen Ducaru (Romanian Cultural Institute) briefly presented the Generation ’89 project that was carried out in 2010 under the Europe for Citizens programme. She specifically insisted on the implementation of the project and the importance of a good coordination between the partners to ensure the success of the project.
"All the information was really relevant, and the course well prepared and structured. The training gave me overall information about EU funding, which is an asset in our field. Too few know about it and too many think that it is impossible to reach. After this training, I feel it is possible!" Anna Välimaa, Project co-ordinator, Finnish Cultural Institute in Brussels
The diversity in the participants’ backgrounds contributed to enriching the course as all could share thoughts and experience about their own projects and exchange on the difficulties they are facing in their institute. From novice project co-ordinators to expert representatives of national Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all participants used this opportunity to try and find new cooperation possibilities.
"This two-day training was a good opportunity for networking and for gaining new information about pertinent EU programmes. I have developed better knowledge as well on the possible roles of my institution in future EU projects." Alexander Wojda, Counsellor at the Department for Coordination, Financing and Evaluation of foreign cultural policy for the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Because the aim of the training session was not only to merely learn about European co-funding possibilities but also to cultivate networking and cooperation among colleagues from different institutes in different clusters, it seemed necessary to once more outline the assets of being a member of EUNIC. Martin Hope, Director Benelux and EU office of the British Council and President of EUNIC in Brussels reminded the participants of how culture strengthens development and can build bridges beyond political relations. Acting together with other institutes within the EUNIC network undeniably gives smaller institutes more weight and creates opportunities to take part in bigger projects that they would not be able to carry out on their own. The outcomes of projects built together are always greater than the sum of small individual projects. This is the reason why it is essential that all member institutes work in a European way.
"This workshop gave me a good overview of funding possibilities and tips for professional development of EUNIC projects. It will help me with long-term planning and finding new partners." Maja Grafe, Project co-ordinator for Visual Arts and Music, Goethe-Institut in London
Robert Adam, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute and Communications manager for the global EUNIC network concluded the two-day session by underlining the importance of EUNIC to foster a European sense of ownership, not only in Europe but more importantly outside Europe, where individual European countries do not have much weight.
Added: 23 May 2011