Project implementation challenges during the pandemic

Published on December 12, 2020.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has profoundly affected life around the globe. Isolation, contact restrictions and economic shutdown impose a significant change to the life of interns’ and some challenges for project realization.

The biggest challenge the consortium has faced implementing the project activities is that due to the adopted quarantine measures regarding the COVID-19, universities had to shift the study process online. In general, this change did not negatively affect the project because the main work between students and project teams is being carried out remotely. However, the unusual situation required to focus more on adopting new measures and ensuring that the overall quality of the study process would not be affected.

Thus, partners have decided to modify some of the activities accordingly. Firstly, the pilot round of internship has been prolonged. Secondly, it was agreed to postpone the implementation of the selected innovations (after the first (pilot) round until the autumn). Regarding the transnational project meetings, initially, it was planned that the meeting in Bergen should take place in June, later it was planned to take place in September. However, at the early stage of quarantine, project partners have agreed to cancel both meetings because the situation did not get better. Therefore no financial losses have been incurred.

Due to the COVID-19 partners have not been able to organise face-to-face meetings, however, more frequent and longer virtual partner meetings took place to discuss the project’s progress and other relevant questions. For an internal collaboration, project partners use various collaboration tools, such as google drive folder, internal email conference list, use of google calendars, doodle, etc. In addition, partners have agreed to change the leading teams’ virtual meeting tool to MS teams, which is the most frequently used tool among university lecturers as well as students.

The project’s handbook has been adjusted accordingly. Also, the Gantt chart has been reviewed and discussed between partners during the virtual meeting and several changes have been made, e.g., multiplier events have been postponed due to the restrictions of COVID-19.

Due to the second wave of the COVID-19 and strict measures partners have discussed various alternatives regarding the further project activities, such as project meetings, etc. Also, it was decided to postpone the multiplier events to the end of the project implementation.