“What’s the next move if you don’t know what the game is?”
This great quote describes exactly how I felt when I started fundraising.
I still remember my very first EU project proposal: I was convinced of my idea (still am today) and put much effort into formulating a well thought-out project description. I found a funding programme that somewhat matched my proposal and submitted. To cut the story short: the application failed, I was devastated – and I had no clue why it was rejected!
That was a looong time ago. Over the years my success rate in proposal writing improved, but it was an extremely laborious process. Implementing the feedback from the European Commission (the only funding institution which did provide substantial feedback!), exchanging with colleagues and consistently investing in education and information helped me to improve on a trial-and-error basis.
Some years later I assumed more responsibility and was in charge of raising funds for many projects of our European organisation. And this meant in practice: the jobs of several dear colleagues were dependent on my fundraising success, because our whole organisation was largely financed by grants. And although my personal success rate increased, the EU funding process was still somewhat of a mystery…
Everything changed after I was invited to become an evaluator by the European Commission and other foundations and authorities. I evaluated for Horizon2020, Erasmus+, AMIF and other funds and was able to take a look behind the scenes, to change sides actually. I learned to see proposals and projects from the eyes of the grantors – what a revelation! I understood where I made mistakes (many!) and how I could improve.
Today I know that just like me, many other people and organisations have huge unused potential. Excellent project ideas cannot be realised and impacts remain unachieved due to missed funding opportunities.
“What is the next move if you don’t know what the game is?”
If you want to ensure the financing of your project and establish a sustainable strategy to secure the funding of your organisation/university/company, you need to know “the game” and how to play it. My goal is to support those who want to secure EU funding, who want to understand “EU-speak” and who want to secure the funding of their projects and organisations. I take you “backstage” to increase your chances of a successful application.
From experience I can say that no funding body is as transparent as the EU – truly! Still, to many applicants “Brussels Europe” seems a secret world with its own rules, far away from ordinary professional life. Yes, the European financial instruments follow specific rules, principles and processes. And yes, there is “EU-speak” in the sense that EU funding is based on policies, concepts and terminologies which are strange to many of us.
I see my mission in “decoding” the rules of the game so that you can plan your next moves and put your vision into action! I am happy to share my experiences and lessons learnt and provide the shortcuts to those who seek EU funding. I train researchers and entrepreneurs in writing compelling project proposals with a realistic prospect of funding. And I support universities and companies in developing efficient and sustainable fundraising strategies that allow them to concentrate on their core business.
I have evaluated hundreds of grant applications and many projects for the following institutions:
- FP7 / European Commission / Research Executive Agency (REA)
- Horizon 2020 / European Commission / Research Executive Agency (REA)
- AMIF / European Commission / DG Home
- Erasmus+ Europe for Citizens / European Commission / DG EAC / EACEA + National Contact Points
- Employment and Social Innovation Programme (EaSI) / European Commission / DG EMPL
- Robert Bosch Foundation
- National Government of Latvia
- Université Libre de Bruxelles
A selection of my publications
Fördermittel akquirieren. Sie schreiben Sie einen überzeugenden Antrag [How to write a successful grant application], Schäffer-Poeschel, 2016 .
Solidarunion auf Weltniveau? Herausforderungen der EU
[World-class solidarity union? Challenges of the EU], Federal Agency for Civic Education
Developing a criminal justice area in the EU (Editor), Study commissioned by the Policy Department C of the European Parliament, No. PE 493.043, Brussels, 2014
Crossing and Controlling Borders. Immigration Policies and their Impact on Migrants’ Journeys; Baumann, Mechthild; Lorenz, Astrid; Rosenow, Kerstin (eds.), Budrich UniPress, Opladen, 2011