Please note that this call is open to Full Applications only! Call 4, which will be
only for Expressions of Interest (EOI), will be open in July and August 2017. A
preparation phase for Call 4 will start in November 2016. Please consult our
website for more information.
Approved Expressions of Interest in Call 1 and Call 2 and rejected Full
Applications can apply under Call 3.
General Guidance for project applicants
How to use this document?
This guidance is meant as an introduction to the programme and provides the
most important rules and requirements for applicants. It is not intended as a
replacement for the official documents and rules, and all applicants should refer
to the official documents before they apply to the programme. Please note that
there is also specific guidance for each call for applications, which sets out any
special conditions applying for that call. You can find the specific guidance at
the end of this document.
Who can apply?
The North Sea Region Programme is open to anyone in the programme area,
which is the whole of Norway and Denmark, eastern parts of the United
Kingdom, the Flemish Region of Belgium, northwest Germany, the northern and
western parts of the Netherlands and the south western area of Sweden. There
is a detailed list of regions in the Cooperation Programme.
You must apply as part of a partnership, and every partnership must include at
least 2 beneficiaries from 2 different countries. However, projects should have a
positive effect on large parts of the programme area so only meeting the
minimum requirements will generally be considered a weakness.
You need to be a legal entity (organization or enterprise) based in the
programme area in order to apply. There are limits on which private sector
organisations can perform the role of Lead Beneficiary. Please see Fact Sheet
13 for details. Partners from outside the programme area can be part of a
partnership under special conditions. However, it is difficult for the Managing
Authority to establish effective control and audit arrangements for countries
outside the North Sea Region. You should therefore be aware that partners
from outside the North Sea Region may have to be excluded from the
partnership. Consult Fact Sheet 18 for further details.
How long does the programme last?
The programme funding period is 2014 to 2020, but this is only the period
when the European Commission provides its funds to the programme. These
funds can be spent for some years after the final grant is provided by the
European Commission. All projects, however, must complete all activities,
including final reporting, by mid-2023.
All project developers are asked to submit an Expression of Interest. If the
programme’s Steering Committee approves the Expression of Interest, the
project will be asked to develop and submit a Full Application. If this is
approved, the project can start work and will receive a contract.
After an Expression of Interest is approved, the project team must submit a Full
Application prior to one of the next two meetings of the Steering Committee at
which Full Applications are decided upon.
The Full Application requires detailed activity plans with targets, budgets, and
timelines, as well as technical information and funding guarantees from
beneficiary organisations. A lump sum payment of €20,000 is paid to all
approved projects for preparation costs, provided they request it in the full
Digital submission of Full Application and the role of the
It is very important that you read this section before you submit a Full
Every project submitting a Full Application must appoint one Lead Beneficiary
contact person and one Authorised Signatory at the time of application. The
contact person and the Authorised Signatory cannot be the same person. The
Authorised Signatory must have the legal authority to sign on behalf of the
beneficiary organization and is the only person who may submit a full
application form to the Joint Secretariat.
The Lead Beneficiary contact person should be the project manager (or similar).
They open the application in the Online Monitoring System and enter the Lead
Beneficiary organisation’s contact details. They will then be able to invite the
Authorised Signatory to register in the system.
The Authorised Signatory will receive an email with the invitation to register
(they should check their email junk folder, in case it gets caught by the SPAM
filter). Unless the Authorised Signatory is already a registered user in the
system, they will have to complete this process. Once this has been done they
will be invited to log in to the Authorised Signatory part of the system where
they can download and upload the forms discussed below.
There is a special procedure to verify the identity of the Authorised Signatory
and their relationship to the Lead Beneficiary organisation and the prospective
project. This is the only part of the regular project life cycle that requires the
sending of paper originals to the Joint Secretariat.
Designation of the Authorised Signatory must be completed before the full
application can be submitted. It is therefore essential to start the Authorised
Signatory designation process in good time. It is a good idea to start the
designation as soon as you have entered the Lead Beneficiary's contact details.
After the Authorised Signatory has been designated by the Lead Beneficiary
through the Online Monitoring System, the person selected as Authorised
Signatory will export, sign, and mail 2 documents to the Joint Secretariat
(‘Authorised Signatory roles and duties’ and ‘Authorised Signatory verification
of agreement’). These forms need to be uploaded via the programme Online
Monitoring System as well. Once we receive these two documents, we will issue
a pin code to the Authorised Signatory and send it by post. Upon receipt of this
pin code, the Authorised Signatory will be able to activate his/her digital
signature and submit an application. This somewhat complex procedure is a
compulsory security measure that allows us to work without paper on other
aspects of project administration.
Who should the Authorised Signatory be? The Authorised Signatory does not
have to be the highest-ranking member of staff at your organisation. It just
needs to be someone with the legal authority to sign documents and enter into
contracts on behalf of the organization. The Authorised Signatory will be the
main formal contact between the project and the programme so it should be
someone who is familiar with the project.
The Authorised Signatory is the formal signatory for the rest of the project.
They will sign reports, change procedures, sign the project contract, etc.
As the designation may take some time, please make sure to designate
your Authorised Signatory as soon as possible and do not leave it until the
end of a call. You will not be able to submit a Full Application unless you
have completed the designation process for the Authorised Signatory.
What kinds of issues does the programme focus on?
The programme has 4 priority themes and each theme is divided into two or
three specific objectives. Consult the Overview Table in the Citizens Summary
for a quick overview of priorities and specific objectives. Every project has to
select one specific objective that it will work towards. In past programme
periods, broad projects tackling a number of objectives were sometimes
approved but projects for the current period must be more focused and all
activities must clearly contribute towards the specific objective. If you are not
sure under which specific objective you should apply, take a look at the output
indicators for the specific objective (Fact Sheet 23). This should give you a clear
idea of what the programme expects from projects under each specific
The descriptions of the priorities in the Cooperation Programme also include
examples of the types of activities and outcomes expected. These are only
examples! Any relevant activity that clearly requires cooperation and will
contribute strongly to a specific objective can be considered for funding.
Likewise, the fact that an activity is mentioned in the Cooperation Programme
does not guarantee that a project application will be successful if it includes
thay activity, especially if the overall contribution to the specific objective is
In addition to specific themes, all projects granted funding under the
programme have to comply with a number of cross-cutting issues like the need
to promote equal opportunities and sustainable development. These are
There is more focus on results in this programme than previous programmes.
All projects under the same specific objective will have to use many of the same
indicators to ensure that results can be compiled into total figures for reporting
to national authorities and the European Commission. Most indicators are
compulsory and the system is simple to follow. A separate fact sheet on
indicators tells you exactly what you need to do, but as a general rule make
sure that the indicators and targets you use are realistic and capture what you
are trying to achieve.
Indicators fall into three types. Use the deliverables to describe the activities
you will be delivering (meetings, reports, pilots, etc.). Use the outputs (which
are automatically selected for you depending on which specific objective you
are applying under) to show how the project has delivered against the main
programme targets (number of new green transport services, etc.) and how
widely you have communicated your achievements outside the partnership. Use
your project results to show the benefit and quality of these outputs during the
lifetime of the project. For some examples of good results, please refer to this
page on our website.
The Cooperation Programme and Citizen Summary also contain some examples
of successful project types exploring how organizations can work together
regardless of theme. These are meant to inspire applicants but do not mean
that other types of cooperation are impossible.
Are there special rules for Norway?
Norwegian beneficiaries and Lead Beneficiaries are treated the same as EU
beneficiaries in the North Sea Region programme and are subject to the same
The only important difference is that Norwegian beneficiaries are funded from
their own separate reserve of Norwegian money (€10 million in total). As a
result, Norwegian money is kept separate from EU money in the application and
reporting systems. The most important practical result is that even if there are
still funds available under a certain theme for the programme as a whole, the
Norwegian funds for that theme may be more limited. This makes it particularly
important that Norwegian beneficiaries ask the programme about available
funding before applying.
Can private companies get involved?
Private companies, in particular SMEs, are welcome. They must demonstrate
that their work contributes to wider programme goals. For some specific
objectives (especially under priority 1), the strength of private sector
involvement will be one of the main factors deciding whether a project
application is assessed positively.
There are specific requirements for how companies operate in the programme,
and all participating enterprises must agree to respect these rules. These often
differ from standard private sector operating procedures. The rules cover issues
like State aid, revenue generation, real cost principles, public procurement, and
record keeping. It is essential that all private sector partners consult these rules
carefully before committing to the programme in order to avoid problems
during implementation. They are described in separate fact sheets on State Aid
(16 and 17), Private Sector Beneficiaries (15), and Intellectual Property Rights
and ownership of project investments (27).
How should partnerships work together?
All of the beneficiaries must cooperate on joint development and joint
implementation of the project. As a change from earlier programmes, each
beneficiary must state in the application how they will be involved, what they
will deliver, and what they expect to gain from the project. It is important that
these comments do not address the general operations of each organization but
are related to the specific actions to be carried out in the project.
Beneficiaries must also cooperate in the staffing and/or financing of the project.
When filling in the application form, projects are asked to explain how staff will
work together on delivering the project. There are also various options for using
shared costs for activities carried out on behalf of the whole partnership.
The need for transnational cooperation needs to be reflected in the way that
project activities are planned and implemented. It is not enough for each
beneficiary to act independently and then exchange results. Beneficiaries should
help each other to design, implement, and communicate new solutions to the
problems they are tackling.
It is also important to involve the ‘right’ beneficiaries – meaning those with the
required expertise and contacts in each country. The partnership will be
assessed on whether it has the right skills and knowledge in place in each
The partnership also needs to be viable, which means that all beneficiaries
should have a clear role in the project, be committed for the entire lifetime of
the project, and be prepared to support activities after the lifetime of the
It is also important to demonstrate the involvement and support of the main
users of project results. For example, a project to develop new ways of
encouraging SME innovation must involve effective feedback from SMEs if the
results are to be credible.
What is the role of the Lead Beneficiary?
The Lead Beneficiary leads the project, ensures that all beneficiaries deliver
what has been promised, and is the contact point between the project and
programme management. Every project must have a Lead Beneficiary agreed
by the partnership. In particular, the Lead Beneficiary will:
• Prepare and submit the application (in cooperation with the rest of the
• Prepare and submit all progress reports and requests for payment based on
inputs from the other beneficiaries (see Control and Audit for details)
• Ensure that information from or to the programme is communicated on time
and in full
• Receive all payments from the programme and distribute the amounts owed to
There is a separate fact sheet providing more detail on the Lead Beneficiary's
role and explaining different roles and responsibilities within partnerships.
Help for small organizations
It can be difficult, especially for small organizations with limited resources, to
understand all of the programme rules and procedures and fill in the required
forms. Although such organisations often fill an important but limited role in the
partnership, they may feel that the budgets available are not worth the
administrative effort of participation. These partners may therefore participate
Small co-beneficiaries can be grouped together as a Local Partnership under
one larger Coordinating Beneficiary (generally a public authority of some kind).
The advantage of forming this Local Partnership is that all beneficiaries submit
a combined claim for payment and activity report (less paperwork). All
members of the Local Partnership must be based in the same country. This also
means that the whole local partnership can use the same First Level Controller
(see below) and get its expenditure checked at the same time (to lower control
There is a separate fact sheet with detailed rules about this, but the following
points must be kept in mind:
• All co-beneficiaries are still subject to all programme rules concerning the
eligibility of funding
• All co-beneficiaries must keep full separate records of their expenditure
• It is the responsibility of the Coordinating Beneficiary to ensure that there is
real and effective control of all co-beneficiary expenditure
• Co-beneficiaries are still liable for any irregularities in their expenditure and are
covered by the standard programme rules for repaying any amounts incorrectly
All partners can claim reimbursement of 50% of costs for all project activities,
although applicants should always check the specific conditions for each call for
proposals for information on the total funds still available and any special
funding terms that may apply. There is no formal minimum or maximum
budget for projects, but projects will be assessed on value for money and larger
projects will be expected to deliver significant benefits to the programme area.
Information about funding opportunities
The programme launches regular calls for proposals. All project applications
correctly submitted through the Online Monitoring System with all relevant
supporting documents before the end of a call will be assessed. Applicants
should regularly consult the programme website at www.northsearegion.eu for
announcements about new calls. As a rule these will happen every six months
or so during the start of the programme.
You have to make sure that your project idea fits with the programme.
Regardless of thematic strengths, applications can only be approved if there is a
clear link to European policy goals and the interests and needs of the wider
programme area. The detailed programme strategy and expectations for
projects under each priority theme are set out in the Cooperation Programme.
A shorter Citizen Summary provides only the information needed for project
partners. The Programme Manual provides a short overview of other
Cooperation: This should be reflected in a work plan based on joint efforts to
develop and implement new solutions. Cooperation should also be understood
as bringing together different sectors (sometimes called ‘horizontal’
cooperation) and different levels of administration from local to international
(sometimes called ‘vertical’ cooperation). The aim of these multi-level and
multi-disciplinary approaches is to develop durable solutions based on winning
the support of all main stakeholder groups. This need for cooperation should be
balanced against the need to ensure that the partnership remains manageable
and focused on core stakeholders. The wider stakeholder network will often not
be part of the partnership but will be involved in other ways. This should be
described in the application.
Innovativeness: Some parts of the programme focus on ‘innovation’ in the
sense of developing new products and services for the market. All parts of the
programme should be ‘innovative’ in the sense of developing and spreading
new and improved solutions throughout the partnership and the wider
programme area. Some projects will try to develop completely new approaches
to the challenges they are addressing. Others will try to introduce existing
technologies and methods into areas or organizations where they have not
been used before. The priority descriptions in the Cooperation Programme
contain information on the preferred approach for some specific objectives.
Applications should clearly set out the innovative aspects of the projects and
how they differ from existing norms and practices in target regions /
Additionality: Project funds cannot be used to fund the regular activities of
partner organisations. The activities carried out in the project should be in
addition to the normal work of the beneficiaries, and programme funds will only
cover the costs for this additional work.
Integrated approach to territorial development: All activities should be
considered in terms of their likely effect on the wider programme area. Project
activities should promote balanced development across the region and should
especially aim to support regions facing particular geographical, structural or
economic challenges. A specific section of the Cooperation Programme provides
indications about how this can be approached.
Sustainable Development: North Sea Region 2014-2020 works for the on-going
improvement of sustainability. During project development, projects should
consider how to ensure net social, environmental, and climate benefits (where
possible), in particular when making investments.
Equal opportunities and non-discrimination: All organisations involved in the
North Sea Region 2014-2020 must contribute to a positive environment for the
active pursuit of equal opportunities and the prevention of deprivation,
exclusion, and discrimination in all forms.
Explain links to other policies and funds: Projects must demonstrate an
awareness of the main actions and results under related programmes, and
applications should reflect on how the North Sea project fits into this wider
picture. In particular, projects should highlight specific results from earlier
projects that can be used in the new project, and explain how the expected
results of the new project will feed back into other programmes and funds. The
Cooperation Programme contains an overview of the most relevant policies and
funds, but the application should also address national and regional actions.
How to find partners
The project ideas section on the website allows you to publish project outlines
and review the ideas being prepared by others.
There are regular events held by the Joint Secretariat offering structured
sessions where you can meet potential partners.
National Contact Points can also assist you in making contacts in some cases.
Check online discussion groups and social media for partner search features.
How to apply
A description of the application procedure can be found in the programme
Expressions of Interest and Full Applications must be submitted through the
Online Monitoring System, which also has technical information about how to fill
in the different parts of the form. All documentation is electronic so there is no
need to send any paper copies apart from the confirmation documents for the
Authorised Signatory, as described above.
All partners need to submit a Letter of Intent with the Full Application form. The
text for this letter and the amounts entered are automatically generated by the
Online Monitoring System. Do not change the text or the amounts once
you have submitted this document! If you do, your letter will be rejected
and you will have to provide a new one using the approved wording and
How to prepare a good application
Assessments are based on the information provided in the application only.
You should not rely on assumed knowledge or arguments about, for example,
the general need for innovation support or sustainable public transport.
Instead you should relate these to the specific circumstances of the
beneficiaries and the programme area. In particular, you must make sure that
you clearly explain:
• The need for your project and how it differs from current norms and practices
• The need for transnational cooperation
• The role and main tasks of each partner
• The outputs and results that will be delivered
• How you will ensure that the project has an impact beyond the project
partnership and after the end of the funding period
Try to avoid quoting programme documents and focus on clearly explaining
what your project will do and deliver
Try to avoid jargon and abbreviations
What is the Steering Committee really looking for?
The programme uses a set of assessment criteria and this is what every project
proposal is evaluated on. In addition, however, representatives of the countries
in the programme have provided an informal list of key points that can
positively influence how they look at an application. These are:
Easy language (answering the right questions)
Being very clear about the assumptions behind the project
o Is it clear why all of the actions are included?
o Is there a clear logic for moving from one action to the next?
o What would happen if one activity needed to be changed? Are they all
Show the added value of each result / output - for each partner and for the
North Sea Region
Show how you will focus your communication efforts. In particular, have you
selected the right target groups and appropriate channels / means for reaching
Explain the road to the application. Why has the partnership decided that this
project is the solution?
Describe what you want to change and where (geographically)
What could go wrong? Show you are aware of the main risks and how you will
How will you test whether the desired change has been delivered?
Embed your project in the context of regional strategies and other programmes
There is no golden rule for getting a project approved. Following the advice
here and using the support available will, however, give you a good chance.
Assistance with preparing an application
National Contact Points can provide extensive information and individual
guidance on how to apply. There is a list of Contact Points on the NSRP website.
Online materials about rules and procedures are collected in the Programme
Manual and Fact Sheets.
Project advisors at the Joint Secretariat in Denmark can provide you with
phone, email, and/or tele-conference consultations on ideas submitted before a
call for applications opens. Once a call for applications is open you can only
approach the secretariat for advice on technical issues - not on content.
Project ideas submitted to the programme can be found in the project idea
section on www.northsearegion.eu.
An overview of projects funded during the IVB programme can be found on
results.northsearegion.eu. Make sure you check to see whether projects similar
to your own idea have been funded in the past and, if so, make sure you
explain clearly how you will add to what was achieved in the past.
General support includes:
• Workshops and conferences where you can hear the latest news and ask
• Website and other online materials with regular updates
• Publications and fact sheets (for an overview see the Programme Manual)
• The possibility to submit project ideas and receive informal feedback on how
well your project fits the programme and possible areas for improvement
Assessment of Full Applications
You will only be able to submit your application through the Online Monitoring
System if you have correctly completed all sections.
Once your application is received, it will go through an eligibility check. The
purpose of this brief check is to ensure that the partnership and project meet
minimum requirements, that there are no obvious errors with the budget or
eligibility rules, and that any uploaded documents have been completed
If your project passes the eligibility check, it will next go through a quality
assessment. The purpose of this assessment is to evaluate the extent to which
your proposal meets the strategic and operational requirements of the
programme and its detailed rules.
The assessment of a Full Application is based on the programme’s assessment
criteria. In the case of Expressions of Interest, a limited set of criteria is used to
assess the degree to which a potential project will match the programme’s
objectives and envisaged results, while the assessment of a Full Application
goes further and focuses on how the project will be delivered. It also addresses
more technical questions concerning eligibility, horizontal principles, and
coordination. The assessments of both Expressions of Interest and Full
Applications end with a recommendation to the Steering Committee on whether
the project should be approved or rejected. You can find the assessment
criteria in the relevant fact sheet.
Assessment of the Full Application will also consider whether the project
corresponds to the proposal made in the Expression of Interest. If there are
significant differences, particularly with regard to the results that will be
delivered and the budget, they will be highlighted in the assessment and
considered when the Steering Committee makes its funding decision.
How is the funding decision made?
Project applications and assessments, together with a recommendation to fund
or reject the project, are provided to the programme’s Steering Committee,
which is made up of national and regional representatives from all of the
countries in the programme. The committee decides whether to approve or
reject the project based on the secretariat’s assessment, and sets any
conditions that need to be met before contracting.
The selection decision is primarily based on the assessment of the proposal.
Other factors may, however, also play a role, especially the amount of available
funding. As a result, there is no guarantee that a project that is positively
assessed will be approved. The decision of the committee is final.
All applicants will be informed about the committee’s decision in writing. You
can complain if your project is rejected. Complaints can only address the
assessment procedure and will be expected to demonstrate that there has been
a clear and significant breech of the published procedures and criteria. If a
complaint is upheld, your project will be considered at the next meeting. The
Complaints Procedure is available online.
What happens after approval?
You will receive a decision letter as soon as possible after approval. This may
include conditions that need to be met before contracting can go ahead. You
should wait to receive the decision letter before starting any project activities.
Contracts are prepared by the secretariat.
Project expenditure is eligible from the date of approval of the application by
the Steering Committee (although there are special conditions for preparation
costs). It is therefore unnecessary to wait for the signed contract to start the
All beneficiaries in the project must sign a Partnership Agreement no later than
by the time of submission of the first progress report. The Partnership
Agreement must describe the most important working processes in the project
and confirm the deliverables to which each beneficiary has committed. It should
also set out arrangements for sharing costs for any activities implemented on
behalf of the whole partnership, and for recovering any funds incorrectly paid to
a beneficiary for ineligible expenditure. There is a template for the Partnership
Agreement in Fact Sheet 14. It is compulsory to use this template.
All beneficiaries in the project must appoint a First Level Controller to check all
expenditure. This must be done no later than by the time the first progress
report is submitted. Arrangements for appointing controllers vary between
countries. Details can be found in the First Level Control Manual. (Please note
that Sweden has a centralised system for control and that there are specific
rules for Swedish beneficiaries to follow.) In most cases projects will have to
remember to set aside a budget for control work and will have to run a public
procurement procedure to select the controller (although not in Sweden). No
payment will be made to any project that has not appointed controllers for all
Running your project
All projects must be implemented in accordance with the approved proposal.
All projects have to submit a progress report every 6 months. They must
submit a claim for payment at least once every 12 months. Details of timing
and the different types of reports can be found in the Fact Sheet on Reporting.
All reports must be submitted through the programme’s Online Monitoring
Some projects appoint a consultant or company for project administration and
management tasks. It is important to remember that this kind of contract
needs to be awarded through a public procurement procedure.
All claims for payment must be checked and approved by each beneficiary’s
There are special rules for activities, beneficiaries and costs outside the
programme area. Please check the fact sheet (18) on this issue for more
An overview of detailed rules and procedures for project implementation can be
found in the Programme Manual.
What kind of assistance is available during implementation?
Every approved project is assigned to a project advisor. As far as possible the
same advisor will stay with your project for the whole implementation period.
Your advisor can clarify programme rules and procedures for you, as well as
advise on general project implementation issues. Wherever possible your
project advisor will also attend the project kick-off meeting to explain the most
important conditions governing the grant and answer any questions you and
the other partners may have.
The Joint Secretariat runs regular events for approved projects to explain issues
that seem to be causing problems, provide information and guidance on the
latest developments in the programme, and allow you to meet and exchange
views with other project partnerships.
Whenever a new progress report is due, you will be provided with an overview
of any changes or issues you need to be aware of.
National Contact Points are the starting point for information on national rules
Changes to your projects
You have to implement the project as described in the approved application.
This means that if there are important changes to the project after it has been
approved, you will need to get approval from the programme before going
ahead with them. This means that your new proposal needs to be assessed,
which takes time. There were far too many changes to projects in past and the
rules have therefore been tightened to make sure that most projects just do
what is in the original application. Requests for changes should only be made
when there are unavoidable and unforeseeable changes in the project’s
Agreeing to be part of a project should be seen as a commitment until the end
of the project. If beneficiaries become inactive during the lifetime of the
project, the project may be terminated. Funds already paid to the inactive
beneficiary may have to be repaid to the programme if the beneficiary has not
delivered on its commitments in the application form. Please see Fact Sheet 26
on Changes for details.
It is very important for all beneficiaries to keep good records of the project’s
work and for Lead Beneficiaries to make sure that beneficiary record keeping is
up-to-date and adequate. There is a list of essential documents for the audit
trail, but as a general rule you should be able to document exactly why you
claimed every amount (invoices, staff salary documents etc.), the expenditure's
importance to the project, and the steps you took to live up to other rules like
the providing value for money. The programme has tried hard to make the
rules and requirements as simple as possible. You can find all the rules in the
relevant Fact Sheets and the First Level Control Manual. In the event of an
audit, failure to keep good records may result in a demand to pay back some or
all of the grant.
Control and audit
The Lead Beneficiary must check and confirm that (i) all of the costs claimed
arise from implementing the project, (ii) that only activities agreed by the
whole partnership are included in the claim, and (iii) that all of these activities
comply with the contract and the approved application. This is a check that
each beneficiary only claims for work that has been agreed as necessary by the
whole project partnership.
The Lead Beneficiary must ensure that every beneficiary’s claim for payment
has been checked and approved by the appointed First Level Controller. Details
of how this should be done can be found in the First Level Control Manual.
See the First Level Control Manual for details about identifying and correcting
Communication is essential to ensuring that the most relevant stakeholders are
aware of what the project is doing and can become involved. Communication of
final results is essential if the benefit from each project is to spread beyond the
There are a small number of programme rules on communication. The most
important of these is the requirement to display clearly on all publications and
products that the project has been funded by the European Union. This also
applies to digital publications.
The application form includes a separate work package for communications and
this issue is part of the assessment of the full application. Even good project
proposals can be rejected if communication activities are too weak to achieve
See the Programme Manual and Fact Sheet 25 for more information.
Open access to all results
It is a requirement that every project partner disseminate the results it
produces as early as possible. Only beneficiaries participating in the programme
under an approved State Aid scheme are exempted.
Special guidance for the third call
The third call for applications opens on 14 November 2016 and closes on 01
February 2017. It is open for Full Applications only. This is the third call of the 2014-
2020 programme and a portion of the programme’s funds have already been allocated
to projects. The table below shows the amounts allocated and remaining for each
priority and the breakdown of full applications approved under each specific objective.
( -- TABLE NOT Available -- )
Reading this table: Column 2 holds the number of approved Full Applications
under each specific objective in Calls 1 and 2. The amounts of funding in
column 3 show the level of interest and success in each specific objective.
However, funding is allocated per priority (not per specific objective) so column
4 shows the remaining funds for each programme priority after Call 2. Column
5 provides information on the use of Norwegian funding. It reflects the
remaining Norwegian funding after the approval of Full Applications in the first
and second calls.
Different types of applications are possible for this call. Please see the guidance
below. Anyone planning on submitting an application should attend the
programme’s third Interwork event in Gothenburg on 15 and 16 November
2016 for detailed guidance and one-to-one feedback on proposals and ideas.
Please see the programme website for details about this event and the link to
Letters of Intent: Beneficiaries have to submit a Letter of Intent confirming that
they will make co-financing funds available for their participation in the project.
The text of the letter is auto-generated from the system. Do not change it! If
you change the text or the amounts entered, you will be told to resubmit the
letter and your application will be ineligible until a correct version of the letter is
uploaded. You have to print the letter on the beneficiary organisation’s letter
paper, get it signed and then upload a copy to us.
State aid: Projects have three options when applying (see the State aid fact
sheet 16 for details). Each partner must decide which option applies to them
and the reasoning for this decision should be set out in section C.3.4 of the
application form. Private beneficiaries are advised to make use of the General
Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) or de minimis as a main point of departure
when choosing among the three State aid options. They should only choose 'No
economic advantage’ when their role in the project is of a public or similar
nature1. Also note that private beneficiaries must choose one of the three
options and that they cannot apply as 'Not State Aid Relevant.’
o General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). Partners can obtain an
economic advantage if they participate under the programme’s aid
scheme. Details are provided in the Fact Sheet on State aid (16) but the
most important condition is that this support is open to SMEs only. When
participating under the GBER, each beneficiary benefiting from a
competitive advantage must complete a separate declaration stating that
they understand and agree to comply with the terms of the aid scheme.
Participation under GBER leads to a small number of additional reporting
o de minimis. Private beneficiaries, including large enterprises, can receive
a small grant, which allows an economic advantage. Under this scheme,
no organization can receive more than €200,000 of public support over
three fiscal years (i.e. this does not just include the programme funding
1 When a beneficiary selects the ‘No economic advantage’ option, they indicate that they are not receiving State Aid
and are thus obliged to make all results freely available and comply with a number of other conditions (see the State
aid fact sheet 16 for details). Examples include actions for the public good with no economic impact, pre-commercial
research, and open information sharing activities.
but all public support granted). See the fact sheet 16 on State aid for
o It is possible that even if the partnership applies successfully under the
'No economic advantage' option, the decision letter will inform you that
the project involves State aid under the General Block Exemption
regulation. This is because aid is assessed at the level of the
business/organization receiving the final benefit of the grant. For
example, the project beneficiary might be a publicly run business
incubator providing training for SMEs. The business incubator will receive
no economic advantage but the SMEs it trains will. In such cases the
beneficiary must monitor which enterprises receive the advantage and
report this to the programme. You will be provided with more details in
your decision letter if this applies to your project.
The following types of application are possible under the third call:
Moving from an approved Expression of Interest to a Full Application:
An approved Expression of Interest is no guarantee that your full application
will be approved. It is instead an indication that the idea and the basic plan
proposed are interesting to the programme. Much more detail will be required
for the full application and you should also carefully consider the comments
from the assessment and any recommendations made as part of the Steering
Committee’s decision on your Expression of Interest. Approved Expressions of
Interest from Call 1 and Call 2 can submit a Full Applications. Please note that
approved Expressions of Interest that have not applied under Call 2 have their
last chance to submit a Full Application during Call 3. Expressions of Interest
approved in Call 2 can apply in this call or the next call that will be open for Full
Applications (Call 5). Remember that you need to appoint an Authorised
Signatory (see above) in order to submit a full application. As stated above,
make sure you get this done as soon as possible.
Resubmitting a Full Application: Your application may have been rejected
with a request to resubmit. This generally means that the idea you have been
working on is interesting but a lot of important information is missing or is
addressed in a way that does not comply with programme rules. Focus on
providing solid facts and convincing examples of the points where your previous
application was assessed as weak and make sure you get advice from the Joint
Secretariat and/or National Contact Points on any technical issues that need to
be resolved, such as State Aid questions. Please get in touch with the Joint
Secretariat if you wish to reapply in Call 3.
Full Applications that have not been recommended to resubmit may also
reapply. Please get in touch with the Joint Secretariat if you wish to apply this
option in Call 3.
Quality will be in focus as well as new requirements for the 2014-2020
programme period. Even experienced partners should carefully consult the
guidance and make use of the advisory services available to avoid
disappointment. Please note that some of the main reasons for rejection under
Call 2 were insufficient or unconvincing results, inexperienced or displaced
partnerships, and the fact that expectations and guidance formulated in the
decision letter about the expression of interest were not considered or simply
ignored in the full application stage.
Note that Fact Sheets change frequently – make sure that you check the new
versions on the programme's website before completing your application.
Rules and procedures are always evolving so it is essential that applicants
regularly consult the programme website for important updates. Similarly the
programme’s website and Online Monitoring System are still under
construction. Please be patient if you experience any problems with these and
inform the Joint Secretariat about them so we can work to resolve important
errors as soon as possible.
e-guidance – The programme is continuously developing different electronic
formats for your guidance. You may find, e.g. electronic guidance materials about
appointing an Authorised Signatory, how to develop your application according to
the programmes' intervention logic, and what to consider when formulating your