1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, hereafter referred to as "EASME", acting under the powers delegated by the European Commission (also referred to as "the Commission"), is launching a call for proposals titled "Sustainable Blue Economy" with a view to accelerate the implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy and the deployment of the blue economy across Europe and in the Mediterranean as well as to contribute to the implementation of the Joint Communication on international ocean governance. This general objective is further divided into specific objectives as described under each of the 4 strands that are part of this call for proposals.
1.1. Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
This call for proposals is launched in accordance with the 2017 Work Programme for the Implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) (section 18.104.22.168 of the annex)1, on the basis of the objectives set out in the Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and in particular Articles 81, 82, and 83 thereof.
1.2. General information concerning the call for proposals
This call for proposals forms part of the EMFF Work Programme, whose implementation is partially delegated to the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. According to the Act of Delegation2, grant agreements will be signed by EASME.
1.3. Overall background for the Sustainable Blue Economy call for proposals
The seas and coasts of Europe have great potential to "be a driver for Europe's welfare and prosperity" as highlighted in the European Commission Communication "Blue Growth opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth"3. The Commission Staff Working Document for Blue Growth4 taking stock of the progress of the Integrated Maritime Policy in the last five years insists that the European Union should not miss this opportunity. The OECD predicts that looking to 2030, many ocean-based industries have the potential to outperform the global economy as a whole, both in terms of value added and employment. The output of the global ocean economy is estimated at EUR 1.3 trillion today and this could more than double by 2030. In this context, this Sustainable Blue Economy call for proposals will create the conditions to accelerate the deployment of the blue economy across Europe while consolidating efforts and recent developments to support the sustainable development of blue economy sectors in the Mediterranean sea basin, including by strengthening the resilience of the marine and coastal ecosystem and taking action for their restoration.. It also represents one of the concrete commitments made by the European Union at the Our Ocean 20175 global conference that took place in Malta in October this year.
1.4. Policy background for strand 1 – DEMO projects
The seas and coasts of Europe have great potential to foster regional development and technological innovation. In the EU, it is estimated that about 5 million people work for the blue economy. It includes well-established sectors (such as shipbuilding and ship repair, transport, offshore oil and gas), as well as emerging sectors with a high potential for growth (such as blue biotechnology, aquaculture, ocean renewable energy)6.
As stated in the 2014 Communication "Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth"7, innovation is one of the drivers of the blue economy. One of the fundamental challenges for a more competitive and innovative maritime economy in all sea basins is that the transfer of research results into business ventures must become easier and new technologies need to be brought faster to a commercial and industrial scale.
The 2017 Commission Staff Working document on Blue Growth 2013-20168 highlights the continuing lack of public and private risk funding for innovative maritime technologies. This has been more recently elaborated in detail for one of the subsectors of the blue economy in a 2017 EIB/InnovFin "Study on Access to Finance Conditions for Investments in Bio-based Industries and the Blue Economy"9, which finds that "considerable funding gaps exist in projects scaling up from pilot to demonstration projects and moving from demonstration to flagship/first-of-a-kind and industrial-scale projects". It also states that projects often require a significant investment volume while generating unstable revenues and cash flows, increasing the financial risk for investors.
The OECD highlighted in its 2016 report on "The Ocean Economy in 2030"10 that a group of enabling technologies – such as imaging and physical sensors, satellite technologies, advanced materials, ICT, big data analytics, autonomous systems, biotechnology, nanotechnology and subsea engineering – promise breakthrough innovations as well as improvements in efficiency, productivity and cost structures in many ocean activities.
The importance of such enabling technologies for driving innovation and competitiveness of EU industry was also at the core of the work of the European Commission's High-Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies (KET). In its 2015 final report11, the High-Level Group highlighted the importance to promote KETs' uptake in SMEs to drive product and process innovation as well as support demonstration activities.
Acknowledging that a number of EU programmes are supporting research and innovation in the blue economy, the "demonstration projects" strand, aims to build on the results of relevant of research and innovation projects and support demonstration projects that help bring research results to the market and harness new business and investment opportunities in the blue economy. This strand also takes a more targeted approach than other programmes covering marine and maritime topics, by focusing on the specificities and needs at sea basin level and in line with the EU's sea-basin strategies and regional initiatives12.
For the purpose of this strand, the following definitions apply:
Value chain: the entire range of activities that (one or more) actors engage in to bring a product from its conception to its end use, ranging from design, production and marketing to distribution and support to the final consumer13.
Demonstrationproject:apre-commercialorcommercialpilotprojectthatensuresa full-scale demonstration of a new solution with a high potential to be marketed on an international scale. The new solution can be a new technology, process, service or a new application of an existing solution.
Technology Readiness Levels (TRL)14: scale applied by many public and industry stakeholders to assess the maturity of evolving technologies/applications in terms of their feasibility and commercial potential. A TRL level 5 and higher refers to a technology/application/service demonstrated in a relevant concrete environment.
Key enabling technologies: KETs comprise micro and nanoelectronics, nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, advanced materials, photonics, and advanced manufacturing technologies15. They provide the basis for innovation in a wide range of industries such as automotive, food, chemicals, electronics, energy, pharmaceuticals, construction, and telecommunications. They can be used in emerging and traditional sectors.
First of a Kind or FOAK: First of a Kind also known by its acronym FOAK is used in engineering economics where the first item or generation of items using a new technology or design can cost significantly more than later items or generations.
Elaborated business plan: General business practices apply to the content of the business plan. An elaborated business plan means that the business plan will include all necessary details to address the way forward in terms of: additional work to be done, resources to be committed and budget needed, pre-requisites and framework conditions, outline of an underlying business model, dissemination, exploitation and sustainability plans
1.5. Policy background for strand 2 – MARINE LITTER
1.5.1. Marine litter - a major threat to our oceans
Marine litter (also referred to as marine debris)16 has increasingly been recognised as a global concern for directly affecting marine and coastal life, ecosystems, economies and human health. Marine litter can be transported by ocean currents over long distances from its origin and is found in all marine environments. Marine litter can impact organisms and habitats such as through entanglement or ingestion of litter items (e.g. micro plastics), resulting in death and/or severe
suffering or as a vector for transport and facilitating the invasion of alien species17. Marine litter also carries a risk to human health and has significant implications to human welfare, making it a complex multidisciplinary problem18. Marine litter also impacts negatively vital economic sectors such as tourism, fisheries, aquaculture or energy supply, bringing economic losses to individuals, enterprises and communities.
The sources of marine litter are both land-based (e.g. land-fills, rivers and floodwaters, untreated municipal sewerage, littering of beaches and coastal areas, etc.) and sea-based (e.g. garbage waste from ships, intentionally abandoned, accidentally lost and otherwise discarded fishing gears (ALDFG, called “lost gear” hereafter), offshore mining and extraction, illegal dumping of waste at sea, etc.). Although some studies are available19 or ongoing, for example in the context of the preparation of the EU Strategy on Plastics, information on quantities is patchy. Marine litter poses a key marine environmental challenge. This is intrinsically linked to various sectors, policy areas and human behavioural patterns and potential solutions can be addressed from different angles, starting from prevention and reduction to removal or recycling of already existing marine litter. While it is a huge environmental, economic and social challenge, the fight against marine litter also opens opportunities for the blue economy, such as for the fishing and aquaculture sectors, energy supply and tourism.
1.5.2. International commitments to fight marine litter
International institutions have adopted a number of resolutions to reduce marine litter20. In June 2015, the G7 adopted the G7 Action Plan to Combat Marine Litter21, while the G2022 followed in July 2017, encouraging also private sector engagement. The United Nations (UN) have identified conservation and sustainable use of oceans as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 14)23 and UN engagement towards reducing the impacts of marine litter worldwide is prominent24. Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs)25 have either adopted action plans on marine litter (Mediterranean, Northeast Atlantic and Baltic) or are developing them (Black Sea). They focus on prevention and reduction of marine litter through actions at national or regional level, such as improved waste and waste water management, provision of adequate port reception facilities, fishing for litter, education, awareness raising and outreach activities.
1.5.3. EU commitments to fight marine litter
The European Union (EU) has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to take on this problem by a number of policy initiatives26. Most notably, the EU ́s Marine Strategy Framework Directive
(MSFD) adopted in June 200827 is the dedicated legal instrument to protect more effectively the marine environment across Europe. Marine litter is a key focus area featuring under Descriptor 1028 of the MSFD.
Another important step towards a reduction of waste and more environmentally sustainable business models has been the adoption of the European Commission's Circular Economy Package on 2 December 201529. It sets an aspirational target for reducing beach litter and lost fishing gear by 30% until 2020. The Joint Communication on International Ocean Governance30 builds on this and includes a dedicated action on marine litter, namely "Action 9: Fighting marine litter and the ‘sea of plastic’". A further major ongoing EU policy initiative addressing marine litter is the upcoming EU Strategy on Plastics31, with adoption of the Commission proposal planned for the end of 2017. In the context of this strategy, the Commission is also considering measures to address sea-based sources of marine litter, in particular on fishing gear such as the introduction of extended producer responsibility schemes or other solutions to ensure a high level of collection and recycling and disincentivising the dumping at sea as well as for reducing plastics leakages from aquaculture. In addition, the EU is planning to revise its legislation on Port Reception Facilities32 to ensure that more waste from ships is delivered on shore and illegal discharges at sea are reduced. This will be achieved through a mix of incentives and enforcement measures, which will also address the fishing and recreational sectors.
Besides the policy and legislative initiatives, the EU is dedicating substantial financial resources to better understand and fight marine litter. A number of programmes and funding instruments such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF, in particular the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, EMFF, and the European Regional Development Fund, ERDF), the Research Programmes FP7 and H2020 and the environmental programme LIFE are supporting a wide range of projects33 as well as targeted studies34. Acknowledging that a wide variety of EU programmes is already supporting research and innovation projects on marine litter, this strand aims to build on the results of relevant projects whilst specifically focusing on tackling marine litter from sea-based sources.
For the purpose of this strand, the following definitions apply:
Marine litter (also referred to as “marine debris”): consists of any persistent, manufactured or processed items that have been deliberately discarded, unintentionally lost, abandoned or transported in the marine and coastal environment. It mainly consists of plastics, wood, metals, glass, rubber, clothing and paper as well as containers and their contents;
Sea-based sources of marine litter: sea-based origin relates to litter that is directly (accidentally or purposely) released into the sea by maritime activities e.g. shipping, fishing, aquaculture, tourism (e.g. recreational boating, recreational fishing, cruise tourism), offshore mining and extraction, dumping of debris at sea. The term "source" indicates the economic sector or human activity from which the litter originates;
Innovative: having a pilot or demonstrative dimension. A "pilot" project applies a methodology or technology that has not been applied or tested before, and is considered innovative. A “demonstrative” project is a project that applies a proven methodology or technology in a new geographical, ecological or socio-economic context and is also considered innovative.
1.6 Policy background for strand 3 – BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
The Mediterranean sea basin offers many opportunities for blue economy development and job creation (i.e. shipping, passengers and cruising lines, tourism...). However, countries bordering the Mediterranean have not yet taken full advantage of this potential. In the last three years, studies funded by the European Commission have shown the great potential of marine and maritime activities for economic growth but also demonstrated the need for better coordination between existing policies and initiatives. The Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Declaration on the Blue Economy, adopted in November 2015,35 is a turning point. It provides the political framework and backing for a joint development of the blue economy in the Mediterranean region. In addition, several steps have been taken in the past years to address this challenge. The EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR)36 and the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean (WestMED)37, adopted in 2014 and 2017, represent good examples to promote maritime coordination and cooperation at sub- regional level in the Mediterranean context. The BLUEMED Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda38 endorsed by the EUROMED Declaration on Research and Innovation on 04 May 201739, in Valletta, is another example of progress in a specific area. However, the need to increase capacity-building in other fields for the development of a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean remains a priority as identified in the Joint Communication on International Ocean Governance40.
Against this background, concrete actions are needed to accelerate the development of the blue economy in the Mediterranean and turn policy objectives into actions. Building on the policy documents mentioned above and on the results of recent studies, the following specific objectives have been identified under this strand to support the development of the blue economy in the
Mediterranean: networking between education and training, clustering/business support and promoting the development of local communities (e.g. diversification of jobs).
Indeed, the study on a possible network of maritime training academies and institutes in the Mediterranean41 showed how complex and fragmented the landscape is. One of the key messages of this study is that industry should be more active in showing to youngsters the potential of the different careers opportunities in the maritime economy in the region, especially through collaboration with schools, in particular for vocational training.
The study on maritime clusters from 201542 found that between a third and a half of all maritime economic activities in the Mediterranean and Black Sea can be found in formal and informal clusters. This confirms that such platforms for cross-sectoral, multi-level cooperation can be a powerful tool to stimulate innovation, growth and jobs in the region.
Finally, Community-Led Local Development (CLLD)43 and the involvement of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), are seen as the most appropriate mechanisms for job diversification and support to coastal communities in the Western Mediterranean, as a method for civil society and local economic actors to actively design and implement local integrated strategies to make a transition to a more sustainable future for the region44.
1.7. Policy background for strand 4 – RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
1.7.1. International and EU commitments to ensure the integrity of marine and coastal ecosystems
A global consensus that oceans and coastal ecosystems need better care and management is gradually emerging. The great potential that oceans offer for a sustainable economy and their key role in regulating climate is widely acknowledged. The awareness about the negative effects of multiple pressures, such as over-exploitation, climate change, acidification, pollution and declining biodiversity, is rising. Better ocean governance can only be achieved through consolidated international cooperation.
The Paris Agreement45 states in its climate change preamble that it is important to "ensur[e] the integrity of [...] oceans". The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development46, set as Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) "to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources". Moreover, SDG14.2 urges to “sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans” by 2020.
The global community is showing clear international commitments and must now turn these commitments into action.
With the Joint Communication on international ocean governance47, the EU is taking its responsibility by setting out 50 actions to secure, safe, clean and sustainably managed oceans. In cooperation with Member States, the High Representative and the European Commission are committed to engage with international and regional organisations and third countries to take this Agenda forward.
The Barcelona Convention48 has provided a regional legal and policy framework for the protection of the sea and coastal area of the Mediterranean for more than 40 years, working on protection and sustainable management of natural marine and coastal resources, on protection of the marine environment and coastal zones through prevention and reduction of pollution, as well as on coastal zone management. The Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016-2025, endorsed by the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention, highlights transition to Green and Blue Economy as one of the priorities for the Mediterranean region.
Regional initiatives in the Mediterranean Sea that also deserve attention include the ‘Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean’ (EC Communication49 and Framework for Action50), building on the Union for the Mediterranean process and its Ministerial Declaration on the blue economy adopted on 17 November 201551. One of the three main aims of this Initiative is to "preserve ecosystems and biodiversity in the western Mediterranean region".
1.7.2. Creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy: enhancing coastal and marine natural capital
Blue economy sectors such as tourism, aquaculture and fisheries are currently sectors of great importance for the Mediterranean sea basin.
These blue economy sectors rely heavily on coastal and marine natural capital (ecosystems) that provide fundamental, life-supporting benefits and services. These assets depend on rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystem services that can then provide a range of services, such as: climate regulation and carbon sequestration, marine and coastal resilience to climate change; natural fish stock restoration, seawater purification, aesthetic, cultural or leisure services attracting visitors, and others. These services are inextricably linked to the sustainability and prosperity of key industries within the blue economy. Therefore, the blue economy approach needs to deal effectively with key issues affecting the sustainability of marine ecosystem services and benefits, such as over-fishing, climate change, ocean acidification, loss of habitats and biodiversity, invasive non-indigenous species52, pollution and waste. Ultimately, changes in ecosystem services provisions driven by resource overuse, pollution as well as direct and indirect climate change effects will affect human welfare. Thus, projects that are reducing anthropogenic pressure on ecosystems and improving their health and resilience will contribute to ensure the continuation and improved provision of their services.
"Reducing pressure on oceans and seas and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy" has been identified as key priority area in the Joint Communication on international ocean governance. To achieve this objective, the Joint Communication set Action 6 "Implementing the COP21 Agreement and mitigating the harmful impact of climate change on oceans, coastlines and ecosystems". Among a number of important initiatives, the European Commission is now setting up work with international partners "to agree on joint actions to protect and restore marine and coastal ecosystems" (Action 6.1) and "will launch international public-private partnerships aimed at restoring, adapting or developing 'blue green infrastructures" (Action 6.2).
A number of EU policies and initiative, such as the Marine Strategic Framework Directive53, the Habitats Directive54, Birds Directive55 and the EU Biodiversity Strategy56 have been key in contributing to protecting biodiversity and restoring ecosystems including in marine and coastal areas.
Furthermore, a number of regional policies and initiatives have been actively contributing to protecting biodiversity and restoring ecosystems, such as the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols including in particular the Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity Protocol, and the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol57. The Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention expressed their commitment to reach Good Environmental Status (GES) of the Mediterranean by 2020 through the Ecosystem Approach Initiative and Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme.
Additionally, a number of EU programmes and other funding schemes support(ed) research and initiatives on coastal and marine restoration and protection58 across Europe (e.g. MERCES59, BEST60, Adriatic plus61, Danube Delta restoration project62, Biomares63, LIFE+ POSEIDONE64, Blue Reef65, Coconet66, Posidonia Baleares67, Life Posidonia Andalucia68, Coralchange69, Red- Med Marine Bioinvasion70, etc.). Also relevant are some of the projects in the Mediterranean conducted by the Barcelona Convention. Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) worked on Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) as well as on joint actions between EU and third countries through MedPartnership71. Acknowledging this, the project under this strand should build on the results of these or other relevant projects and complement them.
2. OBJECTIVES – PRIORITIES – ACTIVITIES – OUTPUTS - IMPACTS
2.1 Objectives General objective
As outlined in the specific policy background in section 1.6, this strand aims to accelerate the development of the blue economy in the Mediterranean through closer cooperation between public and private maritime stakeholders such as education and training institutes, maritime clusters and fisheries local communities from the EU and its partner countries in the Mediterranean. It will support skills, innovation, entrepreneurship as well as job diversification and local communities' empowerment.
In the context of this strand, the following specific objectives have been identified. Applicants must indicate clearly to which specific objective they are applying. They must select only one of the following specific objectives per proposal:
a) promote networking and collaboration between marine and/or maritime, port and logistics- related education and training institutes in the Mediterranean to develop relevant skills and promote maritime professions in cooperation with business and public authorities;
b) promote networking between maritime clusters in the Mediterranean to produce concrete results in terms of maritime innovation and maritime technologies, business development and innovation (including boosters, business angels and start-ups) and skills development;
c) pilot twinning of fisheries local coastal communities in the western Mediterranean based on the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) approach to produce concrete results in areas such as diversification of fishing activities, both within and outside commercial fisheries and including tourism, pesca-tourism, sustainable aquaculture development and skills development, with a particular emphasis on women and youth.
Applicants must explain in their proposal how the proposed collaboration mechanisms reflect the different socio-economic conditions in place in the targeted countries, as well as their concrete plans for future development.
This strand includes a strong element of capacity building between the Northern and Southern part of the Mediterranean. The degree of regional outreach and involvement of southern Mediterranean partner countries is therefore a key element that applicants must consider and explain in their proposals.
Applicants must explain in their proposal how they will implement the targeted activities resulting in concrete and measurable results122 within the project's duration.
122 Results: capture more direct, short to medium term changes in a situation. 39
Applicants must implement specific sets of core activities depending on the specific objective to which they are applying, as described below.
a) Applicants under specific objective a) must explain how their proposals will establish a networking mechanism between education and training institutes in the Mediterranean dealing with marine and/or maritime, port and logistics education and training in order to strengthen skills across the Mediterranean and better align them with the needs of the Blue Economy in the region.
In addition to setting-up an appropriate networking mechanism between education and training organisations, proposals must explain how applicants will carry out concrete activities in each of the following categories:
1) promote cooperation with private sector and public authorities and/or public administrations and identify needs and joint actions to develop maritime skills and professions;
2) undertake concrete actions such as defining common education and training programmes with common qualification standards, sharing and pooling resources (e.g. infrastructures), establishing exchange programmes (including pilot exchanges) and progress towards mutual recognition of qualifications and skills etc.;
3) develop measures to raise the awareness about and attractiveness of maritime professions (e.g. VET) including development and provision of career guidance towards citizens and in particular young people and students).
b) Applicants under specific objective b) must explain how their proposals will establish a networking mechanism between and driven by maritime clusters that will aim to promote concrete activities to strengthen their innovation capacity and services to business123;
In addition to setting up an appropriate networking mechanism between maritime clusters, applicants will undertake concrete activities in each of the following categories:
1) promote cooperation between key actors of maritime clusters (business, research and education establishments, public authorities) and financial intermediaries;
2) undertake concrete joint activities such as joint investment in research and innovation, developing cluster strategies, improve cluster management practices124;
3) undertake concrete activities to strengthen cluster services to business such as promoting start-ups, e.g. through boosters and business angel services, developing business services, facilitating access to finance125;
4) undertake capacity-building and knowledge transfer activities such as exchanging good practices, transferring capacity and enhancing mutual learning.
c) Applicants under specific objective c) must explain how their proposals will establish coastal/fisheries local communities in the Southern partner countries of the western Mediterranean, based on the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) approach and develop concrete twinning activities with at least one established CLLD in a EU Member State.
To do so, proposals must explain how applicants will carry out concrete activities in each of the following categories:
1) promote cooperation between local private and public stakeholders, identification of local needs with a view to set up a CLLD-like partnership in the targeted community in areas such as sustainable small-scale fisheries, recreational fishing, diversification of fishing activities, both within and outside commercial fisheries, including coastal tourism, pesca- tourism, and sustainable aquaculture development;
2) promote and strenghten the participation of fisheries communities and civil society in the decision making processes at local level, in particular in relation to the governance of local fisheries resources and maritime activities;
3) propose twinning activities and awareness-raising activities such as promoting transnational cooperation, skills' development, exchanges and study visits, activities supporting women and young people, social well-being and cultural heritage, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
In addition to implementing the core activities above-mentioned, any proposal must also include the following aspects:
– An evaluation method which will measure the project direct contribution to (depending on the specific objective of the project) creating or diversifying jobs, increasing student mobility and traineeships, improving ocean literacy, filling skills gaps, more effectively using existing infrastructure to increase innovation or research capacities or facilitating technology transfers.
– Measures to seek complementarity and synergies with relevant projects funded under other EU programmes126 or other relevant initiatives in order to facilitate mutual learning, exchange of experiences and good practices.
Applicants may propose complementary activities they deem necessary to achieve the objectives of this strand as long as the choice is justified and establishes a coherent link with the project objectives and the selected specific objective of the strand.
Networking with other projects
During the lifetime of the projects, a number of meetings will be organised at EU level for the grant beneficiaries to facilitate the exchange of experience and good practices. Project beneficiaries are expected to participate in these meetings, which will be held in Brussels or other relevant locations.
2.3 Geographical scope of activities
The geographic area covered by the call concerns the Mediterranean Sea basin.
Depending on the specific objective selected, the proposal will include EU Member States and Southern partner countries participating the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean (WestMED), as defined in section 3.3.
2.4 Expected outputs127
Selected proposals will be required to deliver concrete and quantified outputs128 by the end of the
For specific objective a)
– Sustainable networking cooperation mechanism in place between education and training organisations to identify common needs and launch concrete activities;
– New education and training programmes agreed/developed with common standards of qualifications;
– Pilot/tested new common education and training programmes (including pooling of infrastructures and sharing resources);
– Pilot exchange programmes and study visits of students/trainees and teachers started/realised.
For specific objective b)
– Sustainable networking mechanism in place between maritime clusters that reinforce the clusters' innovation capacity and services to business;
– Cluster strategies developed;
– Concrete North-South partnerships and joint projects/investments launched;
– Provision of business services and facilitated access to finance for clusters' partners.
For specific objective c)
– Fisheries/coastal local action groups established in the western Mediterranean based on the CLLD approach;
– Community-led local strategies developed;
– New concrete cooperation projects and twinning activities identified/undertaken.
The list above is non-exhaustive and additional outputs may be included by the applicant as long as the choice is justified and establishes a clear and direct link with the proposed activities.
2.5 Expected results/impacts
Applicants must describe in their proposal what results129 they expect from the project. Expected results must be quantified as far as possible.
Applicants must also explain how their work will contribute to the relevant expected impacts130 . The list of expected impacts below is non-exhaustive and applicants may add other expected impacts if relevant.
For specific objective a)
– Enhanced cooperation and new synergies between the sectors of education, training and business in the Mediterranean;
– New high quality common education and training offer matching the local or regional needs of the blue economy in the Mediterranean;
– Increased student/teachers mobility between education and training organisations and business;
For specific objective b)
– Improved technology/research uptake by the market;
– Improved business model innovation;
For specific objective c)
– Increased participation of local actors and civil society in decision-making processes and in the governance of local fisheries resources and maritime activities;
– Increased diversification of jobs in the targeted local/coastal communities;
– Empowerment of targeted local communities in the western Mediterranean including young people and women;
– Improved quality of the marine environment and environmental performance of fisheries in the area concerned.
Applicants must provide a list of impact indicators131, both qualitative and quantitative, indicating the baseline and concrete targets of the project.
3. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
3.1 Geographical eligibility
Both applicants from EU Member States133 and applicants established in a Mediterranean partner country are eligible to participate.
For the purpose of the present strand, the Mediterranean partner countries eligible are the following, excluding volatile regions134:
– Participating in the Adriatic-Ionian Macro-regional Strategy: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia;
– Participating in the Union for the Mediterranean: Algeria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey;
– Participating in the Western Mediterranean Initiative (for specific objective c): Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco)
3.2 Eligible applicants
1. Applicants must be legal entities. Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of minimum two legal entities as described under section 3.3. They can be public or private bodies. In the event of private bodies, they must be properly constituted and registered under national law. In the event of international organisations135, they must be constituted under international law.
To be considered a public entity, the body in question must fulfil all of the following criteria:
The body has been created by a public authority or is governed by private law with a public service mission;
The public interest of the body must be explicitly mentioned in the relevant legal or administrative act(s);
The body is financed totally or to a large extent (more than 50%) by public sources;
In the event that the entity stops its activities, all rights and obligations including financial rights and obligations will be transferred to a public authority.
For bodies to be considered as public entity, proof of compliance with all above criteria must be provided together with the proposal.
2. Natural persons are not eligible as applicant for the purpose of the present call.
3. Applicants must be active in the field of blue economy and related sectors (such as marine renewable energies, blue biotechnology, coastal tourism, aquaculture, maritime transport, shipbuilding and ship repair, shipping, offshore oil and gas, fisheries or aquaculture etc.).
4. Examples of potential applicants
The following non-exhaustive list provides examples of potential applicants:
cluster organisations or equivalent business network organisations established as an independent legal entity136;
educational and training institutions;
secondary school/institute/educational centre137;
public or private, small, medium or large enterprises;
chambers of commerce;
non-profit organisations (private or public);
public authorities (national, regional, local);
federations and associations;
fisheries local action groups (FLAGs) established according to Article 32(2)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 and art. 61 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014138;
Community-led Local Development action groups (LAGs/FLAGs) or local public-private partnerships that aim to develop and implement a community-led local development strategy outside the European Union' in accordance with Article 35(1) (c) of the CPR, and Article 64 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014139;
Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 11.2.
For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form. The affiliated entities will have to comply with the eligibility and exclusion criteria.
In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested for the coordinator and each of the partners:
Public entity: copy of the resolution/law/decree/decision establishing the entity OR if not available, any other official document proving the establishment of the entity by the national authorities;
Private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, VAT registration document;
Affiliated entities: shall demonstrate their legal/capital link with the applicant.
3.3 Eligibility conditions for consortia
1. Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of minimum two legal entities from two different countries.
2. The coordinating entity (lead partner) must be established in an EU Member State.
In addition, specific eligibility criteria apply for each of the specific objectives under this strand:
– For specific objective a) of this strand, proposals must include a transnational partnership of applicants from at least 3 different eligible countries as described under section 3.1. Of these, at least two must be from different EU Member States and at least one must be from an eligible Mediterranean partner country.
– For specific objective b) of this strand, proposals must include a transnational partnership of applicants, which must be private or public legal entities, from at least 3 different eligible countries as described under section 3.1. Of these, at least two must be legal entities qualifying as maritime clusters, whether from an EU Member State or from an eligible third country.
– For specific objective c) of this strand, the coordinating entity (lead partner) must be a Fisheries Local Action Group established according to Article 32(2)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 and art. 61 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014. The proposals must include a transnational partnership of applicants from countries adhering to the WestMED Initiative. It shall include participants from at least one of the following EU Member States (France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain) and one eligible Mediterranean partner Country (Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Morocco).
All partners of the consortium will provide the coordinator with a power of attorney in writing through a mandate signed for that purpose140. The mandate shall fully empower the coordinator to act on the partners' behalf in the context of the grant agreement.
4. AWARD CRITERIA141
4.1 Strand specific award criteria
One proposal per specific objective having passed the minimum scores and all the criteria laid down in this call for proposals will be selected. Applications will be assessed on the basis of the following award criteria:
1. Relevance and added value Relevance of the proposal and its expected results to achieving the selected specific objective of the strand. Added value of the proposal in terms of synergies/complementarity with other relevant initiatives (notably established sea basin-based initiatives and regional plans, international commitments), projects or EU policies, and in terms of geographical coverage.
(max 40 points)
The relevance and added value of the proposal will be assessed on the following basis:
Sub-criterion 1.1 - Relevance of the proposal and its expected results/impacts to achieving the objectives (max 20 points):
– the extent to which it is relevant to the selected specific objective of the strand as defined in section 2;
– whether an adequate justification is provided for the proposed solution/approach including identifying the specific needs/challenges in relation to the blue economy sector/sea basin/area targeted and reflecting the socio-economic conditions in place;
– the extent to which the proposal is based on a sound intervention logic, i.e. building on a needs/gaps analysis and establishing a clear link between needs, objectives, proposed activities and expected results and impacts;
Sub-criterion 1.2 - Added value of the proposal (max 20 points):
– the extent to which the proposal demonstrates its added value compared to existing solutions/situation (e.g. technologies/approaches/ practices where relevant);
– the extent to which it demonstrates the added value of the involvement of Mediterranean partner countries to support the achievement of the strand's specific objectives;
– the extent to which it demonstrates its added value in terms of synergies/complementarity with existing projects, EU policies, and other relevant initiatives;
– the extent to which it demonstrates its added value in terms of direct contribution to the objectives/priorities of the Framework for Action or the Action Plan of an existing sea basin or macro- regional strategy/initiative (e.g. Western Mediterranean Initiative, the EU Strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region and the Union for the Mediterranean)142.
2. Project implementation (max 25 points) Effectiveness and coherence of the work plan. Feasibility in terms of activities and timetable. Appropriate and balanced allocation of tasks and human resources. Appropriate management project set-up.
Complementarity of partners. Adequate risk management.
The quality of the project implementation will be assessed on the following basis:
Effectiveness and coherence of the work plan:
– the extent to which there is a clear description of planned activities, including a coherent and effective work plan, providing a time-efficient planning (Gantt chart or equivalent), clearly showing the progress of each work package, including a
timetable of deliverables;
– the extent to which the expected outputs/results of the project are clearly identified, quantified and the proposed activities contribute to potentially reach them;
– the extent to which appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative indicators have been provided to assess the expected impacts of the project where relevant.
Complementarity of partners and project management:
– the extent to which the partners complement each other in view of delivering the expected outputs and results;
– the extent to which appropriate management structures and procedures within the consortium (e.g. clear description of management responsibilities, decision-making mechanisms and communication arrangements) are proposed;
– the extent to which there is a risk management plan identifying potential risks and providing risk prevention and mitigation measures.
(max 10 points)
Clearly presented and appropriate budget representing value for money in comparison to expected results, involving a cost-effective allocation of financial resources in relation to the planned activities and outputs.
The cost-effectiveness of the proposal will be assessed on the following basis:
– the extent to which the budget is clear, consistent with the activities proposed, expected outputs/results and sufficiently detailed and justified;
– the extent to which the project is cost-effective and represents value for money.
(max 25 points)
Expected outputs, results and impact. Dissemination, sustainability and transferability of the expected outputs, potential multiplier effect.
The impact of the proposal will be assessed on the following basis:
Impact, communication, dissemination and exploitation:
– the extent to which the project will contribute to the expected impacts (see list of expected impacts in section 2);
– the extent to which it provides a clear, concrete and robust method for evaluating the project results and their contribution to the expected impacts
– the extent to which the project will actively consult, involve and cooperate with stakeholders (industry/businesses, local community, NGOs) necessary and/or relevant to the outputs/expected impacts of the project;
– the extent to which adequate communication measures are proposed to promote the project (with a description of relevant target group(s), activities, tools and channels);
– the extent to which the measures to disseminate and exploit the project's outputs/results will maximise the impact of the project (including management of IPR if relevant).
Transferability and multiplier effect:
The evaluation procedure is explained in section 4.2
4.2 Evaluation procedure
Proposals that are outside the scope of the strands under which they were submitted will be marked ‘0’ for the Relevance and added value criterion — with the comment ‘out of scope of the call’; they will not be further evaluated.
A maximum of 100 points will be awarded for the quality of a proposal. The required minimum overall score is 65 points and a minimum score of 50% is required for each criterion.
At the end of the evaluation by independent experts, all the proposals under evaluation for the same strand will be ranked, according to the scores obtained for of each of the award criteria as indicated above.
Highest scored proposals having passed the minimum overall scores and all the criteria laid down in this call for proposals will be selected for funding within the available estimated budget per strand.
If necessary, a priority order for proposals which have obtained the same score within the same strand will be determined. Whether or not such a prioritisation is carried out will depend on the available budget. The following approach will be applied successively for every group of ex aequo proposals requiring prioritisation, starting with the highest scored group, and continuing in descending order:
i. The ex aequo proposals within the same strand will be prioritised according to the scores they have been awarded for the criterion Relevance and added value. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for the criterion Impact. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for the criterion project implementation. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for the criterion cost-effectiveness.
ii. Proposals focusing on a sea basin which is not otherwise covered by more highly-ranked proposals will be considered to have the highest priority (geographical coverage).
If a distinction still cannot be made, a further prioritisation can be done by considering the overall project portfolio and the creation of positive synergies between projects, or other factors related to the objectives of the call proposals. These factors will be documented in the evaluation report.
Following the selection of proposals within each strand following the above principles, the remainder of the total indicative budget for the call for proposals will be used to fund projects across the different strands to ensuring a balanced spread of the geographical and thematic coverage of the selected projects while respecting to the maximum possible extent the order of merit based on the evaluation of the award criteria.
5.1 Indicative timetable
The indicative timetable for this call for proposals is the following:
a) Publication of the call
b) Deadline for submitting applications
S1- DEMO PROJECTS
S2- MARINE LITTER
S3 BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
S4- RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
c) Evaluation period
d) Information to applicants
e) Preparation and signature of the grant agreement
f) Starting date of the project
g) Progress report
Every 6 months
h) Interim report for projects of 24 or 36 months
Within 60 days after the end of the first reporting period
i) Final report
Within 60 days of the end of the project
5.2 Implementation period
The project duration shall start on the first day of the month following the day when the last of both parties signs the related grant agreement or at a fixed starting date specified in the grant agreement.
For each of the individual strands, depending on the scope of the project, EASME expects projects to run for the following durations:
24 or 36 months
S2- MARINE LITTER
12 or 24 months
S3- BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
24 or 36 months
S4- RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
6. BUDGET AVAILABLE
The indicative total budget for this call for proposals is EUR 14.500.000.
This budget might be increased by maximum 20%.
EASME reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available. Specific budget information per strand can be found in the table below:
EASME considers that proposals requesting a contribution in the ranges indicated below per strand would allow the specific objectives per strand to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts, except where a maximum grant amount is set.
S1 - DEMO PROJECTS
Normally up to EUR 1.000.000, with an absolute maximum of EUR 1.500.000.
EASME expects to fund approximately eight proposals.
S2 - MARINE LITTER
Between EUR 200.000 and EUR 500.000163
EASME expects to fund approximately six proposals.
S3 - BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
For specific objective a): between EUR 400.000 and EUR 500.000
For specific objective b): EUR 500.000 and EUR 700.000
For specific objective c): between EUR 300.000 and EUR 400.000
EASME expects to fund approximately six proposals.
EASME expects to fund at least 1 proposal per specific objective.
S4 – RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
EASME expects to fund one proposal.
7. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Failure to comply with the following requirements will lead to the rejection of the application:
Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 5.
Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 15), using the application form provided in annex to this Call for Proposals.
Applications must be drafted in one the EU official languages. Submission in English is strongly encouraged and will facilitate the evaluation process.
8. EXCLUSION CRITERIA
All applicants, including both the consortium coordinator and other partners, must provide a declaration of honour (see template in the annexed application form), signed and dated by an authorised representative, stating that they are not in one of the situations of exclusion listed in that declaration of honour.
EASME reserves the right to verify whether the successful applicants are in any of the situations of exclusion by requiring the supporting documents listed in the declaration of honour.
9. SELECTION CRITERIA
9.1. Financial capacity165
Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the period during which the action is being carried out or the year for which the grant is awarded and to participate in its funding.
For public entities and international organisations:
On the basis of article 131(3) FR and in case such entities and organisations are eligible applicants for the strand concerned, such applicants are considered to have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the period during which the action is being carried out and to participate in its funding.
This type of applicants has to submit a declaration of honour that they have the financial capacity to carry out the project, but no additional supporting documents are requested.
For all other entities:
The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:
A) Total grant value166 is ≤ EUR 60 000:
• a declaration of honour (to be provided by each of the applicants)
B) Total grant value is > EUR 60 000:
For those individual beneficiaries (other than the lead partner/coordinator) requesting an EU contribution of ≤ EUR 60 000 as part of the overall grant amount, only the Declaration of honour will be requested.
For all other beneficiaries requesting an EU contribution of > EUR 60 000 as part of the overall grant amount, the following supporting documents will be requested:
a declaration of honour (to be provided by each of the applicants), AND
the profit and loss accounts as well as the balance sheets for the past 2 years for which the accounts were closed;
the financial capacity table167 provided for in the application form, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures, in order to calculate the ratios as detailed in the form.
For newly created entities, the business plan might replace the above documents.
C) Grant value is ≥ EUR 750 000:
• In addition to the supporting documents required under B) above, applicants shall provide an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available.
• In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above threshold applies by applicant.
If on the basis of the documents submitted, the financial capacity is not considered satisfactory, the EASME may:
request further information168;
propose a grant agreement with a pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see section 11.4 below);
where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries;
or reject the application.
9.2. Operational capacity169
Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed project. In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration on their honour, and the following supporting documents:
Where appropriate, a description of the technical equipment, tools or facilities and patents at the disposal of the applicants170;
For each applicant, a list of up to 3 activities (i.e. projects, publications, products, services and/or other achievements) relevant to the call content171.
The EASME may request further supporting documents to confirm the operational capacity of any applicant.
10. LEGAL COMMITMENTS
In the event of a grant awarded by the EASME, a grant agreement, drawn up in euro and detailing the conditions and level of funding, will be sent to the coordinator as well as the procedure in view to formalise the obligations of the parties.
Two copies of the original agreement must be signed first by the coordinator and returned to the EASME immediately. The EASME will sign it last.
Please note that the award of a grant does not establish an entitlement for further support after the end of the project.
11. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS
11.1. General principles
a) Non-cumulative award173
An action may only receive one grant from the EU budget.
In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. To ensure this, applicants shall indicate the sources and amounts of Union funding received or applied for the same action or part of the action or for its functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.174
No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.
A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun only where the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed or the grant decision is notified. In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.
Co-financing means that the resources which are necessary to carry out the action may not be entirely provided by the EU grant.
Co-financing of the action may take the form of:
the beneficiary's and affiliated entities' own resources,
income generated by the action,
financial contributions from third parties.
Co-financing may also take the form of in-kind contributions from third parties, i.e. non-financial resources made available free of charge by third parties to the beneficiary.177
d) Balanced budget178
The estimated budget of the action is to be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance. A model of a budget overview can be found in Annex of the application form.
The budget must be drawn up in euros.
Applicants who foresee that costs will not be incurred in euros, shall use the exchange rate published on the Infor-euro website available at http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm.
e) Implementation contracts/sub-contracting 179
Where the implementation of the action requires the award of procurement contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must award the contract to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests and retain the documentation for the event of an audit.
Entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities in the meaning of Directive 2004/18/EC180 or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2004/17/EC181 shall abide by the applicable national public procurement rules.
Sub-contracting, i.e. the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action as described in the proposal must satisfy the conditions applicable to any implementation contract (as specified above) and in addition to them the following conditions:
it may only cover the implementation of a limited part of the action;
it must be justified having regard to the nature of the action and what is necessary for its implementation;
it must be clearly stated in the proposal.
The grant beneficiary has the possibility to award contracts to provide services or to assist in the implementation of certain limited activities.
The term “subcontracts” is applied to expenses paid by the beneficiary on the basis of:
N.B. The model grant agreement imposes additional requirements where the value of the contracts necessary for the implementation of the action or subcontracting of tasks forming part of the action exceeds EUR 130.000.
f) Financial support to third parties
Financial support to third parties is not an eligible expenditure.
11.2. Form of funding 182
Funding takes the form of mixed financing.
Mixed financing grants are calculated on the basis of a detailed estimated budget indicating clearly the costs that are eligible for EU funding. The grant amount may neither exceed the eligible costs nor the amount requested. Amounts are indicated in euros.
Maximum amount requested
For each of the following strands, the EU grant is limited to the following maximum co-financing
rate of eligible costs actually incurred:
S2- MARINE LITTER
S3- BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
S4- RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
Consequently, part of the total eligible expenses entered in the estimated budget must be financed from sources other than the EU grant (see section 11.1c).
Contributions in kind183
The external co-financing may be made up of contributions in kind in order to cover other costs
necessary to carry out the project. Such contributions must not exceed:
- either the costs actually borne and duly supported by accounting documents;
In-kind contributions shall be presented separately in the estimated budget to reflect the total resources allocated to the action. Their unit value is evaluated in the provisional budget and shall not be subject to subsequent changes.
In-kind contributions shall comply with national tax and social security rules.
Eligible costs are costs actually incurred by the beneficiary of a grant which meet all the following
a) they are incurred during the duration of the action, with the exception of costs relating to final reports;
b) the period of eligibility of costs will be defined in the grant agreement. If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, expenditure may be authorised before the grant is awarded. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application (see section 11.1b).
c) they are indicated in the estimated budget of the action;
d) they are necessary for the implementation of the action;
e) they are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiary is established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary;
f) they comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation;
g) they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the requirements of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency.
The beneficiary's internal accounting and auditing procedures must permit direct reconciliation of the costs and revenue declared in respect of the action/project with the corresponding accounting statements and supporting documents.
The same criteria apply to the affiliated entities.
Eligible direct costs
The eligible direct costs for the action are those costs which, with due regard for the conditions of eligibility set out above, are identifiable as specific costs directly linked to the performance of the action and which can therefore be booked to it directly:
the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the applicant or equivalent appointing act and assigned to the action, comprising actual salaries plus social security contributions and other statutory costs included in the remuneration, provided that these costs are in line with the applicant's usual policy on remuneration. Those costs may include additional remuneration, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of their nature, provided that it is paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required and independently from the source of funding used. For the calculation of costs of personnel, the calculation sheet is available in the dedicated EMFF website185;
costs of the personnel of national administrations to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the project concerned were not undertaken;
subsistence allowances (for meetings, including kick-off meetings where applicable, conferences etc.) provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices;
costs of travel (for meetings, including kick-off meetings where applicable, conferences etc), provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices on travel;
depreciation cost of equipment (new or second-hand): only the portion of the equipment's depreciation corresponding to the duration of the action/project and the rate of actual use for the purposes of the action may be taken into account;
costs entailed by subcontracting awarded by the beneficiaries for the purposes of carrying out the action/project, provided that the conditions laid down in the grant agreement are met;
costs arising directly from requirements linked to the implementation of the action/project (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the action, translations, reproduction);
contributions in-kind: if necessary to implement the action, the beneficiaries may use inkind contributions provided by third parties whether against payment or free of charge. If the in- kind contribution is provided against payment, the beneficiaries may declare costs related to the payment of in-kind contributions as eligible, up to the third parties’ costs for the seconded persons, contributed equipment, infrastructure or other assets or other contributed goods and services. If the in-kind contribution is provided free of charge, the beneficiaries may declare costs incurred by the third parties for the seconded persons, contributed equipment, infrastructure or other assets or other contributed goods and services as eligible. The third parties and their contributions must be set out in Annex 1. The beneficiaries must ensure that the Agency, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) can exercise their rights.
value added tax (VAT) in relation to eligible direct costs where it is not recoverable/deductible by the beneficiary.
N.B. Applicants must include in their budget proposal the costs for participation of maximum two representatives of the consortium (including at least one representative of the coordinating organisation) in up to three project meetings organised at EU level during the project lifetime.
Eligible indirect costs (overheads)
A flat-rate amount of 7% of the total eligible direct costs of the action is eligible under indirect costs, representing the beneficiary's general administrative costs which can be regarded as chargeable to the action/project.
Indirect costs may not include costs entered under another budget heading.
return on capital;
debt and debt service charges;
provisions for losses or debts;
costs of transfers charged by the bank of a beneficiary;
costs declared by a beneficiary and covered by another action receiving a European Union grant. In particular, indirect costs shall not be eligible under a grant for an action awarded to a beneficiary who already receives an operating grant financed from the Union budget during the period in question;
excessive or reckless expenditure;
The final amount of the grant to be awarded to the beneficiary is established after completion of the action, upon approval of the request for payment containing the following documents187, including relevant supporting documents where appropriate:
a final report providing details of the implementation and results of the action;
a final financial statement of costs actually incurred;
where applicable, a certificate on the financial statements of the action for each beneficiary.
EU grants may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the beneficiary. Profit shall be defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary, when the request is made for payment of the balance. In this respect, where a profit is made, the EASME shall be entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the Union contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred by the beneficiary to carry out the action.
11.3. Payment arrangements 188 11.3.1. Pre-financing payment
For projects of a 24 or 36 months duration, a pre-financing payment189 corresponding to 40 % of the maximum grant amount will be transferred to the beneficiary within 30190 days of the date when the last of the two parties signs the grant agreement or from the date stipulated in the grant agreement.
For projects of a 12 months' duration a pre-financing payment191 corresponding to 60 % of the maximum grant amount will be transferred to the beneficiary within 30192 days of the date when the last of the two parties signs the grant agreement or from the date stipulated in the grant agreement.
11.3.2. Interim payment
For projects of a 24 or 36 months duration, an interim payment193 of maximum 30 % of the grant amount will be made within 60 days of receipt and approval by the EASME of an interim report on the project implementation including a financial statement and payment claim.
The total amount of pre-financing and interim payment shall not exceed 70 % of the grant amount.
11.3.3. Final payment
A balance payment will be made within 60 days of receipt and approval by the EASME of the final report on the project implementation including a final technical report, a final financial statement and a payment claim, as well as all other supporting documents that may be requested in accordance with the grant agreement.
The amount of the final payment to be made to the beneficiary will be established on the basis of the calculation of the final grant amount. If the total of earlier payments received is higher than the final grant amount, the beneficiary will be required to reimburse the amount paid in excess through a recovery order194.
11.4. Pre-financing guarantee195
In the event that the beneficiary is a private entity and its financial capacity is not sufficient, a pre- financing guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre-financing may be requested in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment. This is not necessary where the amount of the pre-financing is up to EUR 60.000 included.
The guarantee may be replaced by a joint and several guarantee by a third party or by a joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an action who are parties to the same grant agreement.
The guarantee shall be released as the pre-financing is cleared as the payments of balances to the beneficiary, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement.
11.5. Reporting requirements
The coordinator shall submit the following reports to the EASME:
- Six-monthly technical progress reports;
- 1 interim technical implementation report and interim financial statement (only for projects of 24 or 36 months);
Depending on the selected strand and corresponding expected project duration, progress reports shall cover the following periods:
Progress reports shall be submitted to the EASME within 15 calendar days of the end of the periods in question. To avoid overlaps with the interim report, a progress report will not be required when its due date is within two months before or after the end of the first half of the project.
An interim report196 is due within 60 days of the end of the first interim period: - 12 months for project of 24 months or
- 18 months for project of 36 months.
A final report is due within 60 days of the end of the project duration.
Progress reports shall be submitted to the EASME in electronic format. They shall explain the progress made on the milestones provided for by the grant agreement. Progress reports are requested for project monitoring purposes and do not result in any payment. Deliverables due for the corresponding period should be submitted with the progress reports.
The interim and final reports are to be sent to the EASME both electronically as well as in paper form.
The interim report shall detail the work progress and achievements as well as assessment of the budget implementation during the reporting period, the outputs delivered, and provide a forecast for the second year of implementation. Deliverables due for the corresponding period should be submitted with the interim report.
The final report shall include an executive summary and shall detail all the actions done, the outputs delivered and the final results achieved. All final deliverables should be submitted with the final report.
Reports must be submitted by the coordinator in English, using the available reporting templates.
In case deliverables are not available in English, the applicant should provide a short summary in English (max 2 pages) together with the corresponding deliverable.
Any other document requested by EASME according to the provisions of the grant agreement must be submitted in any of the EU official languages.
12.1. By the beneficiary
The beneficiaries (and their affiliated entities) must clearly acknowledge the European Union’s contribution in all publications or in conjunction with activities for which the grant is used.
In this respect, the beneficiaries (and their affiliated entities) are required to give prominence to the name and emblem of the European Commission and EASME on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project.
If this requirement is not fully complied with, the grant may be reduced in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement.
12.2. By the EASME
With the exception of scholarships paid to natural persons and other direct support paid to natural persons in most need, all information relating to grants awarded in the course of a financial year shall be published on an internet site of the European Union institutions no later than the 30 June of the year following the financial year in which the grants were awarded.
The EASME will publish the following information:
- name of the beneficiary
- address of the beneficiary when the latter is a legal person, region when the beneficiary is a natural person, as defined on NUTS 2 level197 if he/she is domiciled within EU or equivalent if domiciled outside EU,
- subject of the grant,
Upon a reasoned and duly substantiated request by the beneficiary, the publication shall be waived if such disclosure risks threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union or harm the commercial interests of the beneficiaries.
13. DATA PROTECTION
The reply to any call involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and Curriculum Vitae). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the EU institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data. Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the specifications of the call and will be processed solely for that purpose by EASME. Details concerning the processing of personal data are available on the privacy statement at: http://ec.europa.eu/easme/sites/easme-site/files/privacy-statement-calls-EASME.pdf
Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES)198 by the Commission, should the beneficiary be in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106(1) and 107 of the Financial Regulation 966/2012: (for more information see the Privacy Statement on:
14. PROCEDURE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
14.1. Evaluation Review procedure
Unsuccessful applicants may request the review of the evaluation procedure of their proposals within one month after the dispatch of the communication to the applicants of the evaluation results. In case of proposals submitted on behalf of a consortium of applicants, the request must be raised by the coordinator.
The scope of the review will be limited to procedural aspects of the evaluation which includes procedural errors, factual errors, and manifest errors of assessment of the evaluation.
An internal Review Committee will be convened to examine each case. It is out of the scope of the Committee to review the merits of the proposal. The role of the Committee is neither to call into question the judgement of appropriately qualified experts and therefore it does not cover assessment by these experts with relation to the evaluation criteria.
The Committee provides specialist opinions on the implementation of the evaluation process on the basis of all the available information related to the proposal and its evaluation in the form of a report with recommendations on line of action for each request. In the light of its review, the Committee will recommend a course of action to the responsible authorising officer. Three recommendations are foreseen: (i) that the complaint is rejected as unfounded; (ii) that the complaint is upheld but the problem concerned did not jeopardise the decision whether or not to fund the proposal; (iii) that the complaint is upheld and a re-evaluation is recommended.
In all cases, a reply will be sent to the applicant within two weeks (ten working days) of the date of reception of the request for review. The Committee shall inform the applicant about the result of the evaluation review at the latest 2 months after the meeting of the Committee.
14.2. Admissibility and Eligibility Review procedure
Any unsuccessful applicant may request a review within 30 days from the date of the rejection letter by the Agency. The rejection letter shall indicate the means for submission of the request for review.
Complaints on failed submission proposals due to an online submission system fault have to be submitted through the IT Helpdesk within 4 calendar days from the call closure date.
The scope of the review will be limited to assess the fulfilment of either admissibility or eligibility criteria as laid down in the call for proposals.
An internal Admissibility and Eligibility Review Committee will be convened to examine each case. The Committee provides specialist opinions in the form of a report with recommendations on line of action for each request. In the light of its review, the Committee will recommend a course of action to the responsible authorising officer. Three recommendations are foreseen: (i) that the complaint is not eligible for admissibility/eligibility review; (ii) that the complaint is rejected as unfounded: (iii) that the complaint is founded, which may lead to the evaluation of the proposals/the participation in the action.
15. PROCEDURE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
The proposal must be submitted in accordance with the formal requirements and by the deadline set out in section 5.
No modification to the application is allowed once the deadline for submission has elapsed. However, if there is a need to clarify certain aspects or for the correction of clerical mistakes, the EASME may contact the applicant for this purpose during the evaluation process199.
Applicants will be informed in writing about the result of the selection process200. The application form, annexes and relevant documents can be found at: https://ec.europa.eu/easme/en/european-maritime-and-fisheries-fund
Applicants are requested to send their complete application according to the procedure below. The application must contain the following documents:
1. Grant application form (including declaration on honour); 2. Estimated budget of the action (budget form);
3. Information on the applicants:
– supporting documents as specified in section 9.1
– a Legal Entity Form and supporting documents (section 3.2.6) for all applicants and
– a Financial Identification Form (only by the coordinator of the consortium)
All supporting documents required during the submission and/or evaluation procedures must be submitted in any of the EU official languages. Submission in English will facilitate the evaluation process.
The paper version of the application will legally constitute the application. The paper version must include the completed grant application form including the declarations of honour (see point 1 above) and the estimated budget of the action (see point 2 above). The documents providing further information on the applicants (see point 3 above) shall be provided only in electronic format at application stage; a paper version of these documents may be requested later in the award process.
The application shall be submitted using the correct forms and shall be duly completed, dated, showing a balanced budget (revenue/expenditure), submitted in 1 original copy, signed by the person authorised to enter into legally binding commitments on behalf of the coordinating applicant organisation. Before submission, please make sure to carefully check the last page of the application form, which provides the checklist of all documents to be submitted with the application.
The envelope of the paper version must clearly indicate the reference code of the Call and of the selected strand among from the following list:
- EASME/EMFF/2017/22.214.171.124-S1 DEMO PROJECTS ;
- EASME/EMFF/2017/126.96.36.199-S2 MARINE LITTER;
- EASME/EMFF/2017/188.8.131.52-S3 BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED;
The application must be submitted in a sealed envelope and be201:
– Either sent by registered mail, posted or dispatched no later than: a) For strand 2 and 4:
08/02/2018 using the reference code:
EASME/EMFF/2017/184.108.40.206-S2 MARINE LITTER or
EASME/EMFF/2017/220.127.116.11-S4 RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
b) For strand 1 and 3:
28/02/2018 using the reference code:
EASME/EMFF/2017/18.104.22.168-S1 DEMO PROJECTS or
EASME/EMFF/2017/22.214.171.124-S3 BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
to the address indicated below:
Unit A3 – EMFF
Ref: (for reference code see above depending on selected strand) Place Charles Rogier, 16
B-1049 Brussels BELGIUM
In this case, the evidence of the date of dispatch shall be constituted by the postmark.
201 Art. 195.3 Rules of Application.
– Or delivered by hand (by the applicant in person or by an agent), or sent by courier service/express mail, posted or dispatched no later than:
a) For strand 2 and 4
08/02/2018 at 16:00 Brussels time using the reference code:
EASME/EMFF/2017/126.96.36.199-S2 MARINE LITTER or
EASME/EMFF/2017/188.8.131.52-S4 RESTORING MARINE ECOSYSTEMS IN THE MED
b) For strand 1 and 3
28/02/2018 at 16:00 Brussels time using the reference code:
EASME/EMFF/2017/184.108.40.206-S1 DEMO PROJECTS or EASME/EMFF/2017/220.127.116.11-S3 BLUE NETWORKS IN THE MED
to the address indicated below:
Ref. EASME/EMFF/2017.1.2.1.12/[include strand reference code] Avenue du Bourget 1
In case of submission by courier service, the evidence of the date of dispatch shall be constituted by the date of dispatch on the deposit slip.
In case of hand delivery by the applicant, a receipt must be obtained as proof of submission, signed and dated by the official in the Commission's central mail department who takes delivery. The department is open from 08.00 to 17.00 from Monday to Thursday, and from 8.00 to 16.00 on Fridays. It is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Commission holidays.
Applications sent by fax will not be accepted.
In addition to the submission on paper, the applicant is requested to submit an electronic copy202 of the proposal (i.e. the grant application including the declarations of honour and the estimated budget) and all its annexes (see point 3 above) on a CD-ROM or USB-stick in the same envelope as the paper version.