How to anticipate EuropeAid calls for proposals

13 May 2015
Author: Fabienne Poulet

I often get asked, "how do you know that a specific EuropeAid call for proposals is planned in advance of the call documents being published?" My first answer is always that there isn't a fool-proof way but that getting into the habit of regularly checking the EuropeAid website means that at least you will hear about a call for proposals as soon as it is published, and you can take full advantage of the usual 45 days between publication and deadline.

If you visit the website, by clicking on "search" on the "Calls for proposals & Procurement notices" page you can get a list of all the calls for proposals published in the last 10 days, or you can do a search by specific country or programmes through the advanced search facility.

Calls for proposals are also published on the website of European delegations in-country so checking those relevant to your work is also useful although more fragmented, and not all delegations have a website and not all websites are regularly updated. A list of all the delegations websites can be found here. Bond also list selected funding opportunities here.

Other than that it is really useful to understand how programmes are decided by the European Commission. In fact the multi-annual strategies and programmes are jointly prepared by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and EuropeAid, in collaboration with authorities in partner countries and regions. As a result of this collaboration, the EU draws up:

  • Country strategies and Multi-annual Indicative Programmes, currently covering 2014 – 2016 or 2014 – 2020. National and Regional Indicative Programmes detail specific objectives and highlights a number of focal areas for funding.
  • Detailed Annual Action Programmes for each year of the programming period. These specify objectives, fields of intervention, expected results, management procedures and total amounts of allocated funding.
  • Annual Work Programmes for Grants for each year of the programming period. They specify the legislation, the objectives and the schedule of calls for proposal, with an indicative amount and the expected result.

As there is a new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF 2014 - 2020) that started in 2014, getting up to speed with these various documents for the countries, regions or programmes which are of interest to your organisation is really important in understanding which calls for proposals are likely to come up in advance of their publication on EuropeAid.

Increasingly the role of European delegations is expanding, and they now play a key role in designing, programming and implementing EU development cooperation programmes. As part of development of new country strategies for 2014 – 2020, EU delegations were asked to develop an EU country roadmap for engagement with civil society in their countries. These roadmaps should be seen as a continuous process, updated each year and when there are major changes in context. A second generation of roadmaps will cover the period 2018 – 2020.

Once you have identified a call for proposals relevant to your work all you need to do is prepare a concept note or proposal in time for the deadline.

If you want to gain greater confidence in managing contracts and full proposals in response to EU calls, sign up for our two-day course Managing EC contracts and reporting on EC grants, running 9–10 September 2015.

About the author

Bond Associate Fabienne Poulet

Fabienne has been a fundraiser for over nineteen years, and is a partner in the fundraising consultancy Midas Charity Appeals. Her main area of expertise is large grant fundraising from the UK government, BIG, Comic Relief, and the EC.