The third call for Interreg Europe project proposals runs from 1 March until 30 June 2017.
In order to boost your chances of submitting a successful proposal, we have collected five top tips for applicants. These tips are based on our experience in assessing the project proposals. But don’t just take our word for it! The tips were also ranked and validated through a survey by all project partners who already succeeded in having their project approved.
So what are the secrets to a successful proposal?
1. Be selective
In order to guarantee good results, select policymakers, such as public authorities, as partners whenever possible, as they are directly responsible for the policies to be improved by your project. For any potential partner that is not directly in charge of the policy instrument addressed, check closely their role in the development or implementation of that policy instrument. The capacity of the partner to impact the policy in practical terms must be clearly explained in the application form.
Since Interreg Europe covers all 28 EU countries, Norway and Switzerland, it is important to go beyond transnational areas and select partners from all four corners of Europe. A balance between more and less developed regions is important also, as the programme belongs to the Cohesion Policy.
2. Meet your partners
Once you have selected the right partners, it is important to meet them. An in-person or virtual meeting will allow you to further check if you face common challenges and what benefits can be expected from learning from each other. Such content-rich discussions will help the lead applicant to provide high quality information for the application form.
Use this opportunity also to check that all partners are motivated and firmly committed. It is better to lose a weak partner before applying than to struggle with underperformance when it comes to project implementation.
3. Be specific
When filling out the application form, avoid general and vague information at all costs. The policy instruments are at the core of your project, so demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of their content and structure in section B of the application form.
Lack of focus is a common weakness in applications, so ensure that the content of the policies, the overall issue addressed, and the specific objective of your project are all closely aligned.
4. Don't reinvent the wheel
Remember, 130 projects have already been approved by the programme. This means that, as a new applicant, you must check whether projects in similar thematic areas were already approved in the first and second call.
If this is the case, figure out what makes your project different. Maybe yours is the first project to address a specific aspect of the topic. Or perhaps, you involve new regions in your project. Whatever it is, make reference to the existing and past projects in the application form in order to explain to us the innovative character of your proposal.
5. Ask for help
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the joint secretariat and your national contact point. We have a wide variety of resources available to help you succeed. We invite you to attend our questions and answers sessions, try out the partner and project idea search tools, watch our instructional videos, check out our FAQ page, and join our applicant events, workshops and webinars.
You have the possibility also to request an individual feedback on your project idea, which is a great opportunity to identify and discuss any possible weaknesses in your proposal with a member of the assessment team before submitting.
Finally, please check the eligibility rules carefully. Remember that one third of the first call applications were unfortunately declared not eligible. These rules along with comprehensive guidance on developing an application are available in the programme manual.
So, there you have the five top tips for applicants from our team at the joint secretariat and the approved project partners. We hope that you will find them useful, and we look forward to receiving your application!
Read more about the third call on our apply page.
Are you interested in submitting your project proposal in the third call? Do you have a burning question on any aspect of the call? Join us online on Fridays.
We are continuously looking for ways to make project management easier for our beneficiaries. See what we have already done in terms of simplification.
Project approval is postponed from December 2017 to March 2018. Check out the updated planning of the third call.