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Project cycle

Project cycle is a useful way to understand the various stages that any project will probably go through. The same approach will apply when you are dealing with as simple project idea within your own organisation or a complex project supported by a number of external funders.

Different funding agencies use different terms, but the principles behind the process are basically the same.

Project cycle chart


Project cycle stage Short description
  • Definition of the “problem”
  • Generation of possible project ideas (alternatives)
  • Development of detailed project proposal
  • Project proposal appraisal by the potential funder
  • Formal agreement on funding the project between the funder and the proposer
Implementation and monitoring
  • Project is carried our according to the contract or other agreements made
  • Internal monitoring and external reporting is carried out
  • Assessment of project results against its original objectives in terms of its performance, efficiency and impact


The time needed for each stage of project identification, preparation and appraisal varies greatly depending the size and complexity of a project, the procedures and requirements of the potential finder, and the number of funders involved.

This project is funded by the European Union

And implemented by a consortium led by