The application deadline is 15 March, and organizations at all levels of education are eligible to participate.
At the beginning of February, the European Commission and the executive agency EACEA organized an info session for potential applicants for the Erasmus+ Forward-looking projects. The name of the projects is based on their main goal, which is to support future-oriented innovations and changes in key areas, topics and EU priorities in the field of education, vocational training and youth. The projects focus on identifying, developing and testing innovative approaches and policies that have a high potential to be mainstreamed in as many countries as possible. Therefore, each year they focus on specific priorities and respond to current strategies and policies at the European level.
This year, it is possible to choose from a total of 7 priorities in three areas that intersect with all levels of education. Each priority is based on current European strategies and the needs of the education sector, and its goal is to solve current challenges in the given area.
Lot 1: Digital education (cross-sectoral)
Priority 1: Education Technology (EdTech): scaling up of EU-based solutions through cooperation and quality assurance
Priority 2: Effective pedagogical approaches on informatics for primary and secondary level of education
Priority 3: Teacher training and curriculum development in tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy.
Lot 2: Vocational education and training (VET)
Lot 3: Adult learning
In addition, Priority 4 has three other sub-areas of its focus. Priority 7 is specifically for organizations already involved in major partnerships under the Pact for skills. All projects are expected to make a significant contribution to systemic solutions in individual topics and to support innovative pedagogical practices and their dissemination across Europe and possibly beyond.
Eligibility and quality criteria, submitting an application
Organizations that want to apply for Forward-Looking projects should first decide which of the above priorities they want to focus on. Each priority has its own slightly different criteria regarding the minimum number and type of organizations involved, the duration of the project and the maximum grant. During the webinar, the importance of verifying that each project meets the given criteria for a specific priority and that applicants complete the correct application form on the FTOP through which applications are submitted was emphasized (different forms are available for each of the three groups listed above).
In general, public and private institutions active in the field of education, vocational training or the world of work from the so-called Erasmus+ program countries (i.e. EU member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, Serbia and North Macedonia) can participate. The minimum number of involved organizations ranges from 3 to 6, the duration of the project is between 2 and 4 years, and the maximum grant requested then ranges from 900,000 to 1,500,000 euros. Some priorities also have their own specific rules regarding the specific types of organizations that must be involved in the project. A novelty in this year's call is the possibility of involving organizations from so-called Erasmus+ partner countries (any other country in the world), but only in the role of associated partners. These organizations can participate in specific tasks within the project (e.g. disseminating information about the project), but are not grant recipients.
Projects that meet all formal criteria are then evaluated based on 4 qualitative criteria. It is therefore necessary that the project application contains information on all points and sub-points of the individual criteria. Considering the general goals and aims of the Forward-Looking projects, it is very important to focus on, for example, ex-ante and ex-post analysis of the innovativeness of the project and the expected goals and results, and on a thorough description of the dissemination of project's results and the potential for mainstreaming of innovative solutions.
The grant is provided through a lump sum and the partner organizations plan and prepare the budget for the application based on individual work packages. These represent larger parts of the project covering several activities. The work package can be, for example, "Project management", "Dissemination and impact" etc. The application deadline is March 15 at 17:00. On the basis of the budget available for this year's call (35 million euros), approximately 30 projects are expected to be approved. The results of the evaluation process should be announced in September 2023, and the projects should then start in December 2023 or January 2024.
Where can you find more information?
More information can be found on the Erasmus+ centralised activities website (in Czech), in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide (both in English and in Czech) and in the materials and recording of the info session (in English). During the info session, more details on each of the above-mentioned priorities were presented, including the justification, the current challenges and expected projects' outcomes. Interested applicants can also check out the materials and recording of the CZELO office's webinar, which took place on 19 January this year (in Czech).