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The budget should clearly ‘match’ the actions and output that have been planned. All of the actions and output should be funded through the budget and, at the same time, there should be nothing in the budget that does not directly relate to the actions and output proposed. A number of areas need special attention: if the lead organization and partners are from different EU countries, then there should be sufficient budget allocation to allow for translation and interpretation if these are necessary. Many projects rely on volunteer translators, or the chance that one member of the team speaks the languages required. But what if that person leaves the team? And what if the volunteers’ language skills are fine when they speak but not good enough for preparing a publication? Beyond the working needs of the project, thought should also be given to the ‘product’ and the languages in which it will appear.
It is not appropriate to presume that ‘everyone speaks English’ and to create a website, for example, just in English. Thought must be given to opening up access to the results of the project to as many people in Europe (and beyond) as possible. Sometimes this is too costly but there are often ‘compromise’ possibilities, for example producing a research report in only one language but adding a summary in several other languages. Because Daphne projects involve partnerships, travel and communication costs often appear to take up a large proportion of the budget. Think about meetings. Make sure they are necessary. Get the most you can out of them by organizing study visits or information sessions around them. And, if you have the choice, hold the meeting in a country where costs are relatively low.
It may seem obvious, but check that the figures in the budget add up. Often budgets change while they are being drafted and errors creep in. Ensure also that the budget is balanced; a project whose budget comprises 80 per cent staff costs is not going to be seen as good value for money, since the output will be minimal. And be sure not to include items that the Commission does not accept – check the Guidelines for Applicants carefully. Also, be sure that the partners have seen the budget and are satisfied that it also covers their expectations. A central pillar of a good partnership is that everyone understands the project’s financial limitations from the outset and that demands on the lead organization are not unrealistic.