Grants/Writing Successful Applications -- Online Funding Course
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
The project aims to increase the competency of CC affiliates and local organisations when it comes to writing project applications. An online course on project writing will be developed and held for an initial group of 20 participants from CC affiliates. Each participant is expected to write one complete project application during the course. Students will be given access to relevant literature, support and help from experienced teachers, and feedback from an expert reviewer. A total of ten workshops, classes and four rounds of feedback (peer and expert reviewed) are planned for during the course, which will run during the spring of 2011. Expected result is up to 20 completed, peer- and expert-reviewed project applications which can be submitted by the local CC affiliates to named funding bodies.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
The project will deliver up to 20 completed, peer- and expert-reviewed project applications ready to be submitted by local CC affiliates or organisations to named funding bodies. Should the CC Catalyst Grant be organised again in 2011, this would be ideal for the project, since some projects might want to apply to the Catalyst Grant program for parts of their required funding (this might be restricted for instance to the portion of the total cost which can not be applied for from other bodies, usually around 10-50% of the total project cost).
In addition to this, any material and information created during the course will be made available for the larger CC community, during and after the course, so that the material can be made useful also for those not directly participating in the course.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
We are targeting members of CC affiliate organisations, or related organisations preferrably working together with CC affiliates, that have an interest in applying for project grants from external parties, but have not done so before. The aim of the project is to increase the competency of those organisations when it comes to writing project proposals. This increase in competency would in turn lead to an increase in the number of projects with external funding, benefiting the community and helping local organisations find funding for their projects.br />
The Society for Free Culture and Software started as a joint project between Creative Commons Sweden and the Swedish team of the Free Software Foundation Europe. In the last years, the society has written and had several projects approved related to distributing awareness about Creative Commons.
Jonas Öberg, who will lead the project and provide expert advice to the participants, has previously worked as an expert reviewer for the European Commission and reviewed and written larger projects for the European Commissions consideration. He has participated in several projects funded by the European Commission, the Nordic Cultural Fund, and other funding bodies, and has a wide experience in finding appropriate funding bodies for diverse projects. He is currently working as a lecturer at the Gothenburg University and has many years experience from education, especially in online settings.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
The project impact will be measured based on the project applications written by the participants. They will be submitted to named funding bodies and their success rate will be measured three months, six months and twelve months after the close of the project. In addition to this, a survey will be made after the end of the course among the participants to highlight their perception of the course and to gain knowledge about how the course can be improved for future years.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
20 participants is planned in the initial course, each representing a local organisation. They will be recruited from a list of applications solicited from CC affiliate organisations. Their involvement will be supported by an online educational environment, and time will be scheduled for classes and workshop sessions together with regular submissions, discussions and reviews.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
By increasing the competency of local CC affiliates in project writing, a higher number of projects are likely to be granted external funding. This will increase the relevancy of the CC affiliates overall activities and thereby contributing both directly and indirectly to the mission of Creative Commons.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
The project is non-technical in nature, except for the use of an online educational platform. This platform will be Moodle, and will be configured to allow for the efficient communication between participants in the project. In particular, features that will be enabled are for the peer-assessment and expert reviews of project proposals as well as space for discussions and workshops.
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
It is foreseen that it might be difficult finding interested individuals to take part in a course which requires an ongoing dedication for about three-four months. By making use of existing Creative Commons network, and having a competent review group to screen the applicants, we hope to be able to accept participants which have a proven interest in Creative Commons and who can benefit most from the course.
Another issue likely to be faced by some participants is the lack or perceived lack of funding bodies in their area, which will make it difficult to find a funding body which could be interested in their project. In order to mitigate this risk, we will work specifically in the coordination of the project to help those participants find matching funding bodies, and we will work to involve additional partners in the projects where necessary such that the requirements of the funding bodies can be met.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
The average cost per student under the current program is around €400, covered in full by the Catalyst Grant for the first instance of the course. As a part of the project, we will seek further support for this cost from local, national and international administrations and organisations. This will cover some or all of the costs for future participation in the course. A plan for the future funding of the course will be developed and made available at the end of the project. This will include, but not be limited to, the possibility of CC affiliate organisations sponsoring the participation of their members. If funding can not be found to cover all of the costs, a nominal fee covering the remainder will need to be requested from future participants.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
In theory, it is no problem accepting more participants. The number of participants could be increased substantially due to the benefit of online education. However, the time required for coordination on behalf of the teachers, and access to an expert reviewer would need to be increased in accordance with the added participants. The project sustainability plan includes such costs.
In addition to accepting more participants in the course, the project will encourage participants to hold workshop and similar events in their local communities to distribute awareness of the issues which they have picked up on during the course.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
The project relies on getting a reasonable list of applicants for the course from which participants can be selected. The process for selecting participants between the applicants will fall on an expert group that will determine criterion and decide on the first round of participants in the course.
It would be beneficial if Creative Commons could provide not only some marketing towards CC affiliates about the course, but also participate with representatives in such an expert group. It is foreseen that such a group would encompass about four or five persons, preferably from the regional CC communities. The group will be chaired by the project coordinator, who will also take on drafting the guidelines and setting up the acceptance process.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
The Society has few physical meetings, and communicate exclusively through online media. This includes newsletters to our members and partners, as well as a liberal use of blogs and Twitter. Our network partners involve the networks of the Creative Commons affiliates in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, and they furthermore make use of blogs, mailing lists and Twitter to disseminate information.
Of particular interest to the dissemination strategy of the project will be the Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit taking place in Sweden the 5-7th of November 2010, which will contain a presentation of the course and the first opportunities for interested community members to apply.