A Robust Partnership
A successful transnational project will be driven by a robust partnership. You need to consider very carefully if you have the right team to deliver your project. If not, think about bidding in a future round rather than struggle with the “wrong” team. The checklist in Annex 5 provides some of the key questions to ask to help you get to know your partners and assess if they are right for the project. You need to be prepared to provide this information about your organisation in exchange.
The “right” mix of partners will vary depending on the measure you are targeting, e.g. for a transnational network your partnership is likely to include a larger team with a lot of dissemination expertise. However, below are a few tips which apply to all measures. They might sound obvious but it is surprising how often the Leonardo UK National Agency receive proposals where these issues have not been fully addressed.
- Provide a good mix of expertise. Look at partnership building as a “puzzle”, whereby the combination of each partner’s specific expertise is necessary to develop innovative ideas and products. You should therefore devote time and attention to finding the appropriate partner for the project, whose expertise is necessary or complementary to others for achieving your project. Building a multiplayer partnership means that, in addition to vocational training providers and universities, you should also consider other relevant stakeholders for the project, e.g. accreditation bodies, social partners, local authorities, SMEs, charities, ICT experts, etc.
- Ensure that you present a genuine transnational and inclusive partnership: all partners should have an identifiable role and the budget should reflect this. If the bulk of the budget and/or of the workplan is allocated to a couple of partners from the same country, there will be issues raised about the true transnational nature of the project.
- Be attentive to the geographical scope of your project. To do this, we would recommend that you include partners from the north, south, west and east of Europe, where the sharing of expertise and potential impact of the project could be best demonstrated and highly valuable. Also, if the project is limited to a number of similar countries, e.g. Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands you will have to clearly justify how such a project could be relevant to Southern and Eastern European countries.
- Explain the true transnational nature of your project: This can be demonstrated in various parts of your project application e.g. in the choice of your partner’s countries and also in the responsibilities, activities and budgets allocated to your various partners as well as in your workplan.
- It is also important to consider carefully the number of partners you want to work with, bearing in mind that this may be a long-lasting working relationship of up to 36 months. You need to be prepared for potential “drop outs” prior to contracting. Additionally, as the project progresses, there may be genuine reasons why a partner withdraws, or you could find yourself in a situation similar to the one illustrated in the Craft Into Technology – Technology Into Craft (CITTIC) case study overleaf. However, the larger the partnership, the more time, energy and budget is needed to keep it on track.
- A partnership with members that have close links to beneficiaries, or that can reach out to other sectors is also recommended. The reason behind this is that the programme aims to develop innovative training which is necessary and which responds to target groups’ needs. To demonstrate this, you should describe the mechanisms which will ensure the participation of target groups during the implementation of your project. Examples include sending questionnaires, establishing focus groups or organising interviews with the target groups so as to analyse their training needs at the start of the project. You could also involve the target group in the testing of the training materials or in the creation of your project website and finally involve them in your dissemination activities throughout your project.
- Take time to choose your partners. Sometimes it might be easier to work with partners you already know, but think about their exact role and the expertise you need in your partnership. A new project might also be a good opportunity to find new partners. Having a partner who has already been involved in other Leonardo da Vinci projects might also facilitate your tastasks as your partner will already be aware of the working processes and procedures of the programme.
Source: Transnational Partnership Guidance Note for Leonardo da Vinci Projects, Leonardo UK National Agency - Ecotec, Birmingham, UK, November 2003. http://www.leonardo.org.uk/page.asp?section=0001000100230005&search=guidance