Managing an International Cooperation Project. Philippe Ruffio EACEA Brussels

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1 Managing an International Cooperation Project Philippe Ruffio EACEA Brussels 1

2 Managing an international project From theory to practice 2

3 Content Managing your team The institutional involvement Managing your project Quality Assurance methods Working with students Working with EACEA 3

4 MANAGING YOUR TEAM 4

5 Managing Your Team A Project Team is composed of individuals who act on behalf and with the full support of their institutions. Trust and Confidence between individuals is necessary but not sufficient. Tasks and responsibilities have to be formalized and endorsed in comprehensive COOPERATION AGREEMENTS 5

6 Managing your team Cooperation Agreements (1) Signed at the highest level (not by the coordinators!) Joint (one doc signed by all partners) or Bilateral (partner A + coordinating inst.) Comprehensive : covering all aspects of the project, e.g.: The partners role and responsibilities (/rights and obligations); Finance (budget breakdown, co-funding, payment mechanisms, etc.) Managing Boards roles, composition, meeting schedules, etc. Communication means, channels QA : evaluation and monitoring (/reporting) mechanisms; Student issues (hosting, tutoring, recognition, degree awarding, etc.) Decision process Conflict resolution mechanisms Etc. 6

7 Managing your team Cooperation Agreements (2) Mandatory for E+ cooperation (/mobility) projects Capacity Building and Joint Master Degrees A Partnership Agreement must be submitted in the initial phase of the project. Credit Mobility An Inter-Institutional Agreement must be submitted in the initial phase of the project. Templates available that can (/must) be adapted to the specific needs of the partnership. 7

8 Managing Your Team The Coordinator (1) Essential for the successful implementation of the project Usually the person behind the application Drafting a successful proposal does not make you a successful coordinator!? A successful coordinator has good management and communication skills, is empowered and duly equipped by the participating HEIs and is trusted by his partners. 8

9 Managing Your Team The Coordinator (2) Central communication (/monitoring) point with - Project partner(s) - Support/Horizontal services in the coordinating HEI - EACEA - Mobile students - Other (/external) stakeholders No prescribed formula in terms of - Centralisation vs Delegation of responsibility - Academic vs Administrative staff 9

10 Managing Your Team Communication Decide on the means, channels & frequency ( , Skype, video-conference, pass-word protected intranet with tools for uploading information etc.); Avoid bi-lateral communication. Communication must be as transparent and inclusive as possible Consider intercultural differences. What will be most effective in a given cultural context? Face-to-face consortium meetings (min. every six-months). Coordinator's travel budget for problem-solving (/progress monitoring) All (meeting) decisions must be documented (minutes endorsed by the participants / the decision bodies) 10

11 Managing Your Team - Dispute Resolution (1) Disagreements will happen but they should not lead to disputes. Reduce the risk of disputes with A team of partners who know/trust each other A detailed and comprehensive cooperation agreement A proactive attitude towards potentially conflictive issues. Good communication / inter-personal skills. Decision-making (e.g. by votes of consortium/board members) and Conflict resolution clauses must be included in the Cooperation Agreement EACEA will not intervene in the internal affairs of the partnership! 11

12 INVOLVING THE PARTICIPATING UNIVERSITIES 12

13 Institutional Involvement - Commitment - Project management is not a "one(/multiple) man show" but an institutional responsibility - Relying only on individuals is a recipe for failure: - For the actual implementation of the project - For the expected impact (/valorisation) and sustainability of results. - It is essential to - have the required institutional services /departments on board from the start, - hold regular meetings with them and provide them with regular feed-back. 13

14 Institutional Involvement Key services (1) International Relation Office (IRO) ensures coherence with the HEI international cooperation strategy equipped with the necessary technical and human resources ensures institutional visibility / contributes to dissemination Finance department HEIs are legally responsible for the grant EU (/E+) regulations and institutional (/national) regulations must be respected. Organize meetings between the financial depts. of the partner HEIs 14

15 Institutional Involvement Key services (2) Student Services Promotion of the mobility scheme Preparation of "Student Guides" for incoming / outgoing mobility Support to services (accommodation, social and medical, sport, etc.) Link with student unions/associations Academic authorities Decision on curricular development Endorses recognition & credit transfer systems Decision on new degrees awarding Quality Assurance Complements (/validates) the project's QA arrangements Necessary but not sufficient. 15

16 Institutional Involvement Key services (3) Communication / Information / IT Visual identity and promotion strategy Development and maintenance of project's website (/intranet) Development and maintenance of specific communication tools (video conferencing, shared repositories, interconnected apps, etc.) Development of e-learning modules Access to social networks, etc. 16

17 MANAGING THE PROJECT 17

18 Managing the Project Management tools Numerous management tools available on www for - Assessing your project's feasibility (SWOT analysis, Logical Framework, etc.) - Defining and monitoring work packages progress (roadmaps, dashboard, Gantt charts, etc.) - Communicating / sharing information with your partners (intranet, shared repositories, video conferencing, etc.) - Project dissemination e.g. ENPI Information Centre handbooks: Some tools available on EACEA's website - Financial Information Kit: - Beneficiary spaces with FAQs, good practices, recommendations, etc. 18

19 Managing the Project Managing the grant Only the Grant Agreement (incl. its annexes) When, how, with whom, for what can you use the grant? Close cooperation with the HEIs finance departments Provide expertise & ensure compatibility between EU and HEI rules Two main grant award methods REAL COSTS based on a proof of expenditure. The eligible amount varies and is determined in accordance with the eligibility of the expenditure UNIT COSTS based on a proof of activity. The eligible amount is fixed and is accepted (/refused) in accordance with the eligibility of the activity IF DOUBTS ASK FIRST!! 19

20 QUALITY ASSURANCE METHODS 20

21 Quality Assurance Internal QA For the project by the project "Inspired by" and "compatible with" but not "limited to" internal QA of the participating HEIs Concerns all dimensions of the project Academic aspects, financial & admin., management, delivered outputs, visibility/dissemination, impact, relations with EU, etc. Involves all parties concerned by the project Academic, admin. staff, students, local stakeholders, etc. Keep them informed of the evaluation results and the remedial actions taken 21

22 Quality Assurance External QA - Persons/bodies not involved in the project - Peer-review by academic/administrative staff from non-partner HEIs - Representatives from local authorities / private companies - National QA Agencies as long as the integrated international dimension of the project is covered - Same holistic approach as for internal QA (in terms of dimensions addressed and parties consulted). 22

23 Three types of Audits Quality Assurance - Audits Internal (as part of HEIs/national authorities audit strategy) Compulsory financial audit with an auditor of your choice to be submitted to EACEA with Final Report Potential audit from EACEA up to 5 years after project ends No matter how well your accounts are kept, you need time to prepare for an audit; Brief all staff involved to ensure they are prepared; Refer to EACEA Financial Handbooks for guidance. 23

24 Quality Assurance Interproject Coaching Recommend dialogue among international cooperation projects working in the same institution, with the same partners, on the same topic, under the same action etc. Encourage better synergies, exchange of good practice and avoid reinventing the wheel

25 WORKING WITH THE STUDENTS 25

26 2 6 I N F O R M A T I O N C O M M U N I C A T I O N DECISION MAKING Define in advance, WELL in advance: procedures requirements consortium agreement/ inter-institutional agreement students / learning agreement legal framework recognition

27 2 7 I N F O R M A T I O N C O M M U N I C A T I O N PROMOTION - Attract the best candidates DEGREE MOBILITY candidates from all over the world WEB page Students fairs Associations Partners network Course Ambassadors CREDIT MOBILITY candidates from partner HEIs International Relation Office Student services and Associations Academic Staff Intranet

28 2 8 I N F O R M A T I O N C O M M U N I C A T I O N SELECTION - Select the most motivated Fair, transparent and objective procedure - rankings Verify Students declarations! Selection requirements 1.What should be done 2.When - deadlines 3.How online, paper, managed by coordinator, all/some partners, registration mechanisms, acknowledgements of receipts, notification to selected and not selected students (reasons for rejection, appeal procedure)

29 2 9 I N F O R M A T I O N C O M M U N I C A T I O N SUPPORT & TUTORING VISA support Accommodation Insurance Organisational information Cost of life Students services in University Language courses Academic tutoring Students representatives / Associations Appeal procedure

30 WORKING WITH THE 30

31 Working with the EACEA Your contacts Grant-holders meeting at the beginning of the project Designated Project Officer in charge of your project Holds direct contacts with the project (via the coordinator exclusively!) Assesses the report and monitor the progress made Implements a monitoring visit during the project lifetime; Clarifies any open (/unclear) issue related to the project management and the use of the grant Formal (/contractual) correspondence is to be addressed to the Head of the relevant Unit in EACEA. 31

32 Working with the EACEA - Reporting Do not underestimate the amount of time necessary to write a report Do not copy and paste information from other reports (/the application) into the EACEA reporting template; Answer the questions asked on the reporting template no more no less; Be honest in your report and present problems (and the remedial actions envisaged) as well as successes; Include all partners (/concerned parties) in the reporting process but get one person to edit at the end to ensure coherence. 32

33 33

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