At the beginning of each project there is always ONE idea, ONE thought, ONE problem. In this section we will explore how to identify this ONE idea and start the journey with the right team of partners.


The ONE approach encourages you to plan your project with ONE face-to-face meeting only and to engage in productive, accessible virtual collaboration with agile project management for smart processes and in a sustainable way, which also contributes to a greener Europe!

Set the cornerstones in the proposal development phase and already integrate the basic ideas of the ONE approach in the design of the project from the outset.

ONE Learning

Integrating agility, sustainability and virtual collaboration in your proposal is an act of balancing. For one thing, online meetings instead of face-to-face meetings shall reduce the carbon footprint, but they also generate CO2 emissions. For another thing, you do need intercultural experiences, but they are noticeably reduced without face-to-face meetings.


Online collaboration is a core focus of the ONE approach. Your tasks throughout the project often include negotiating meaning, making sense and finding a mutual understanding on how this collaboration should take place.

ONE Learning

When developing our ONE project proposal, the virtual collaboration was not completely defined but was planned to be defined as part of the project. However, defining what we actually meant by ‘virtual collaboration’ could have helped us to start the project with a clearer vision.


In the ONE approach, it is crucial to make time and create opportunities for the onboarding of new partners. Involving partners in decisions and asking for contributions helps to get them on board. Periodical online meetings with key partners can be very effective to define and create a shared meaning about the objectives of the project and the expected results.

ONE Learning

Our own proposal development was characterised by several online meetings with three key partners for brainstorming and developing the ONE idea. Including the other partners more actively in the developmental process could have helped gain more ideas and get to know each other better beforehand.

How to succeed

When developing a proposal in a remote setting, finding new partners and creating commitment can be tricky. Another challenge is the development of a consistent and competitive proposal. Here are some recommendations to overcome these challenges and succeed in proposal development:

➜           Find new and suitable partners interested in the topic and experienced in EU-funded projects – e.g., via specialised online platforms and social media groups to announce your call.

➜           Pair partners to lead work packages – this will create bilateral bonds between partners and strengthen the team spirit in the consortium, thereby facilitating communication among partners.

➜           Use collaborative online brainstorming and co-creation tools to explore innovative and creative processes. Support partners who are not familiar with such tools.

➜           Use online tools to share information and create content in a collaborative way. This helps to share proposal-related work among partners, facilitates simultaneous proposal work and helps to achieve a consistent proposal.