Exploring the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on European project’s design and management: the analysis of the University of Bologna and the KU Leuven’s experiences

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced higher education systems in most parts of the world to quickly adapt to face the emergency. While a certain amount of research has focused on analysing the influence of the pandemic on teaching and learning practices or on international mobility, less interest has been dedicated to the design and implementation of EU funding Programmes (i.e. Erasmus Plus). Through a qualitative exploratory research, the paper aims to analyse how the pandemic has affected the processes of Erasmus Plus programs (KA2 Strategic Partnerships), providing critical mass through the experiences of UNIBO and KUL, recognised excellences in this domain. The research was carried out through preliminary interviews and focus groups and involved 17 key observers and projects members. The conceptual framework that emerged suggests that different levels of adaptation based on Project Cycle Management phases (design vs implementation) and pandemic conditions (before vs during) to cope with collaboration and dissemination seemed required.