When implementing a project, you should pay special attention to ensuring its sustainability, i.e. project results should be used after the completion of its funding by the EU. It is advisable for the project team to think ahead and identify potential sources of funding in the future.

Project sustainability can be considered from several perspectives, including:

  • Financial sustainability;
  • Organizational sustainability;
  • Operational sustainability;
  • Multiplicativity of the project results

Financial sustainability is determined by the possibility of further funding after the end of the project. The project team can seek various sources of funding. This can be either a contract with the business sector in need of services / products provided as a result of the project, or budget funds from the local authorities, or financial resources of the university. It is also possible to combine funding sources, for example, a centre for advanced training can conclude an agreement with both local government and with business entities that need qualified personnel / services. Another possible source to consider is delivering training or retraining courses, development of teaching materials and other services.

The organizational sustainability involves maintaining the infrastructure and resources, both human and intellectual. For instance, this can be teaching methods acquired during the project, developed curricula, or intellectual property that allows to produce products or provide services. This list may also include tangible/material products, books, brochures released during the project, other materials, the use of which will allow the university / structural unit to continue its activities in the area of the project.

Operational sustainability is the viability of the project after the completion of funding and the potential to implement the tasks and functions identified in the project after the end of the project eligibility period.

Multiplicativity of the project results is reflected in the impact of the project on the extended group of beneficiaries and other stakeholders.

It is important for the project team to understand that project sustainability is ensured through the human resources that were involved in the project implementation. In particular, the staff members trained within the project will ensure that the received skills will be used after the project is completed. Thus, we can say that it is human resources that ensure continuity and the added value of the project. Therefore, the project team should try to preserve human resources involved in the project from the very beginning.

The project team should pay particular attention to possible indirect effects / results, so-called spin-offs. As a rule, they are beyond the main objectives stated in the project application, however, as the project progresses, additional groups of beneficiaries interested in the project results may emerge. These indirect effects can also be considered as one of the sources of project sustainability in the long run.
It is important for the project team to understand that the continuity and sustainability of the project also depends on how effectively potential beneficiaries and a wider range of stakeholders use the available information resources developed during the project implementation. Therefore, it is important to maintain the project website, resource or training centres and other channels for disseminating information active and relevant to the definite target group.

The project team is recommended to develop the project sustainability strategy at the initial stage of its implementation. Tips on developing the strategy can be found in Kathleen Riggs’s “Strategies for Sustainability of Grant-funded Programs”


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