10. What challenges (problems/difficulties) are most common for international cooperation and how to solve them?
Communication and dissemination of the project are fundamental for the sustainable success of a project. Therefore, it is highly recommended that a communication and dissemination plan is already drafted in the project conception, which is reflected in a work package with individual work tasks for the project partners. This will ensure that the project objectives and contents can be continuously communicated to the stakeholders and target groups. A mailing with project information to stakeholders and national and international media is also suitable for further dissemination.
Possible communication channels are:
- Website (if necessary, own project website)
- Social Media (if applicable own project social media pages/accounts)
- Knowledge platforms (here is an overview)
- National and international media (TV, radio, print and online media, etc.)
If a project partner does not take over his tasks, it is important to act with tact and sensitivity and to ask yourself the question: Would the other partners be able to take over his tasks or would this not be possible due to lack of resources and competences? If one comes to the conclusion that the unreliable partner is needed and this partner continues to fail to fulfil its tasks after several requests, the lead partner can withhold payments to this partner until the tasks are completed.
If a partner withdraws or if the project has to be continued without a partner, it is important to inform the funding institution/national agency immediately and to develop an alternative plan together. This plan can either provide for the remaining project partners to take over tasks in order to complete the project as planned (this usually changes the budgeting), or it can mean acquiring a new partner or reducing the size of the project. An end to the project is rarely the only option and should of course be avoided.
In project management, especially between several organisations in different countries, it is not unusual that tasks and project results are not always delivered on time. Therefore, it is recommended that the coordinating organisation always builds in sufficient buffers so that delays do not jeopardise the progress of the project. In addition, reminders should be sent regularly to the partner consortium. One more request can make a big difference. But as a project partner, you also have a duty to report delays and find solutions. Help should also be requested if an assigned task cannot be solved alone.
However, if there are significant delays and the schedule is threatened, one should evaluate whether it is:
1) It is possible to submit the project outputs to the relevant National Agency on time. This would then require working in partnership from this point onwards.
2) It is necessary to inform the National Agency about the delays or to apply for an extension of the project. However, this is only possible if exact reasons are given as to why the project is late and these are then approved. Otherwise, sanctions may be imposed.
Yes, but only under certain circumstances. A project can be extended if unforeseen events occur that were not foreseen in the timetable and need to be solved in order to ensure the completion of the project.
Additional working days can also be requested, but must be well justified and argued to the National Agency.
Only after approval by the National Agency is an extension possible.