European Union-Funding in the Area of Adult Education - A Short Guide for Newcomers
Generally speaking, the European Commission is the institution of the EU responsible for programmes and their funding. A general introduction to EU-funding can be found here. For every policy area there is a so-called Directorate-General (DG) which executes the EU´s policies. The Directorate-General for Education and Culture is consequently the one being responsible for adult education.
The DG for Education and Culture handed most of the implementation tasks over to
The Executive Agency therefore executes programmes for the Directorates-Generals Education and Culture, Information Society and Media,and the EuropeAid Cooperation Office. The Agency is specifically responsible for the implementation of the following tasks:
- Drawing up calls for proposals
- Project selection (in some cases the Commission adopts the selection decision)
- Signing project agreements
- Financial management:
- Operational budgets of programmes
- Operating budget
- Monitoring of projects (intermediate reports, final reports)
- Communication and information with beneficiaries
- On the spot controls
- Annual work programme and activity report
Tasks that remain at the European Commission:
- Management of certain programme strands
- Annual work programmes in the fields of education, audiovisual and culture
- Political and budgetary priority-setting
- Programme evaluation and information
- Monitoring of the agency
- Chairing programme committees (the role of the committees remains unchanged)
- In certain cases: adoption of the project selection and publication of the calls for proposals
General conditions for grants
- are a form of complementary financing. The EU finances projects with up to 75%; the rest has to be financed by the beneficiary or by other sources than the EU (e.g. national funding);
- enable a given operation to break even financially and cannot lead to a profit for their beneficiaries;
- cannot be awarded retroactively for actions that are already completed;
- only one grant can be awarded per project.
The policy area Education and Training is divided into three programmes:
The most relevant for Adult Education is the Lifelong Learning Programme. Grants and subsidies are awarded to projects and activities that foster interchange, promote bilateral and multilateral partnerships, foster trans-national mobility of individuals and promote quality in education and training systems throughout Europe. One of the pillars or sub-programmes of the Lifelong Learning Programme is Grundtvig, a programme for adults, teachers and related institutions/organisations active in the field of adult education.
Other chances to find funding would be in the policy area of Culture as well as Research. Of special interest could be the "Europe for Citizens" programme 2007 - 2013.
If you want to get funding for a project from the EU, you need to respond to a call. A call for proposal normally leaves you some leeway about what to "propose", whereas as call for tender normally has more specific requirements. Mainly private and public organisations can apply for grants, in exceptions also individuals.
Where to find calls in the field of adult education:
If you are interested in any other areas where the EU provides funding, you will find grants for all policy areas here.
Administrative and Financial Rules
The DG Education and Culture published a Guide for Applicants (pdf) for the Lifelong Learning Programme. The document aims at
- Helping applicants to fill in the application forms;
- Helping applicants to prepare an appropriate budget for their proposal;
- Clarifying matters arising from the call for proposals and its annexes;
- Providing practical information to which applicants may refer to at the various stages of the proposal.
Last updated: January 2008