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ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF PESTICIDE USE THROUGH HONEYBEES - PP-1-1-2018
Deadline: 15 May 2018   CALL EXPIRED

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 Agriculture
 Agrifood
 Animal Health and Welfare
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PREFACE

Dear Applicant,

Welcome to the Guide for Applicants (the Guide) which is intended to help you in preparing and submitting a project proposals for the Pilot Project on Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honeybees.
Applicants must submit their proposals via the Electronic Submission Sytem. This will make the submission, evaluation and, for those recommended for funding, granting, monitoring and reporting quicker, simpler and more efficient.

The present Guide for Applicants – Projects ('the Guide') is designed as the main reference document to help you prepare the proposal. It provides all the necessary information for preparing and submitting your application and answer questions you may have in this process. Please note that this Guide does not supersede the rules and conditions laid out in the following documents which should be consulted in case of doubt:

  •   Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) no 1605/2002, hereafter referred to in this document as the Financial Regulation;

  •   Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1268/2012 of 29 October 2012 on the rules of application of Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, hereafter referred to in this document as the Rules of Application of the Financial Regulation;

  •   Commission Decision C(2017) 8510 final of 15 December 2017 on the adoption of a financing decision for 2017 and 2018 on the pilot project " Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honeybees", hereafter referred to in this document as Pilot Project on Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honeybees;

  •   Call for proposals for the Pilot Project on Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honeybees, hereafter referred to in this document as the Call for proposals;

  •   The multi-beneficiary action model grant agreement, hereafter referred to in this Guide as the Model grant agreement.

    This Guide consists of three main parts (Part A, Part B, and Part C)

    Part A: Legal framework and participants

    This section describes the legal terms and general conditions for participation.

    Part B: Submission of proposals

    This section describes the entire process of submission of proposals and has two sub- sections:

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The first sub-section refers to the necessary preparatory steps. This includes: (1) reference to the background documents that you need to consult prior to preparing a project proposal; (2) instructions on the process for creating a user account or an ECAS account (more on the ECAS account is presented in Chapter B, paragraph 1.2) and (3) the registration of the applicant organisation at the European Commission's Beneficiary Register (more on the Beneficiary Register is presented under paragraph 1.3); and (4) general recommendations on how to best prepare your proposal.

The second sub-section guides you through the different steps of the application process itself: it covers the registration process for the participating legal entities; and the actual submission process itself, namely completing the so-called Part A (administrative information and budget of the proposal) and Part B (technical and financial content) of the Electronic Submission System.

Part C: Evaluation process of the applications

This section describes the evaluation process and criteria when reviewing and evaluating the submitted proposals. It also provides information on the evaluation outcomes issues, as well as the process following a recommendation for funding.

In case of further questions the following options are at your disposal:

  •   For information on how to register or related enquiries please look under the title

    Pilot Projects.

  •   IT helpdesk – you can contact the Participant Portal IT helpdesk for questions only related to the online submission tool such as forgotten passwords, access rights and roles, technical aspects of submission of proposals, etc. Requests must be submitted via the Research Enquiry Service, by completing the form

  •   For non-IT related questions, please contact DG SANTE helpdesk at the European Commission email: SANTE-PP-CALLS@ec.europa.eu

    Finally, please be aware that submitting your proposal can take some time even if you have all the necessary information ready at hand. Do not wait until the deadline to start the online submission process. We strongly advise you to complete your proposal sufficiently in advance so as to avoid any last minute problems.

    Good luck!

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A. LEGAL FRAMEWORK AND PARTICIPANTS

1 OBJECTIVES OF THE PILOT PROJECT ON ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING OF PESTICIDE USE THROUGH HONEYBEES

The Financing Decision for the pilot project " Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honeybees” was adopted on 15 December 2017. Its Annex sets out the main priority areas for this pilot project on Environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honeybees to be implemented through the present call:

  •   The project should develop a non-invasive environmental monitoring system via the collection of biweekly pollen samples during two beekeeping seasons by beekeepers from several countries (n= 5-6) in Europe (citizens’ science project). The countries will be chosen on the basis of the following criteria: existence of regional/national activities and scientists/technicians able to sample pollen in their country, at least one representative of each authorisation zone (Annex 1 of Regulation 1107/2009). This monitoring system should be easy to carry out and reproducible across Europe. In specific cases, fresh honey samples may be collected.

  •   The project should develop a protocol, agreed between scientists and field practitioners, and following official methodological recommendations (i.e. the European Food Safety Authority HEALTHY-B, the EPILOBEE study). In doing so, the outcome of the project can be integrated in multiple stressor models linked with bee health and risk assessment in accordance with the relevant parts of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report on pollinators, pollination and food production1. Practitioners' work will be coordinated by scientists/technicians. Pollen and pesticide analyses will serve to establish the botanical origin and contamination of the samples, respectively.

  •   The project should identify areas at risk for bee health by putting analytical data in a geospatial context, aiming to understand the possible sources and variability of both bee food and contaminants.

  •   During the project analysis of samples, will screen for both authorised and non- authorised pesticide and veterinary products. Additionally, the fate of the colonies participating to the sampling will be surveyed to explore potential correlations with the parameters measured. The interpretation of the monitoring results will contribute to the evaluation of the implementation of European legislation in terms of pesticide application (sustainable use directive), pesticide authorisation and efficiency of agro-environmental and greening measures from the common agricultural policy. Evaluation of the results and methodology to assess whether they could be enlarged to wild pollinators.

  •   The project should give an indication of the plant biodiversity of the landscape linked to the biology of honeybees throughout the year.

  •   The project should perform a verification of the quality of the CORINE database (or other more detailed land use dataset available in the countries participating) for landscape-level exposure modelling

 

2 EUFINANCIALCONTRIBUTION

EU co-financing for projects is calculated on the basis of eligible costs actually incurred. The maximum rate of EU co-financing is 60%.

Given the complementary and motivational nature of EU grants, projects are financed under the co-financing principle(2). If the amount granted is lower than the funding sought by the applicant, it is up to the latter to find supplementary financing or to cut down on the total cost of the project without diluting either the objectives or the content.

3 ADMISSIBILITYREQUIREMENTS

  •   Applications must be submitted online via the participant portal.

  •   Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official languages.

    Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.

    In principle, project proposal applications may be submitted in any official language of the European Union. However, if the technical part (part B) of the application is written in another EU official language, it should also include an English translation in order to facilitate assessment by the evaluators.

    Proposals received after the deadline for submission laid down in the call for proposals will not be considered for funding.

    4 ELIGIBLEAPPLICANTS

    The eligibility criteria are laid down in the text of the Calls for proposals.
    The following main elements are especially drawn to the attention of applicants:

  •   The application shall state the legal status of the applicant.

  •   Only applications from entities established in one the following countries are

    eligible:

o One of the 28 EU Member States;

5 ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF BENEFICIARIES

Roles and responsibilities towards the Commission

If a proposal is successful and a grant agreement is signed between the applicants and the Commission, the terminology is changed from "applicant" to "beneficiary".

The beneficiaries have full responsibility for implementing the action and complying with the Multi-Beneficiary Grant Agreement (MGA).

The beneficiaries are jointly and severally liable for the technical implementation of the action as described in the proposal, which will become Annex 1 to the grant agreement, if the project is selected for co-funding.

 

If a beneficiary fails to implement its part of the action, the other beneficiaries become responsible for implementing this part (without being entitled to any additional EU funding for doing so), unless the Commission expressly relieves them of this obligation.

The financial responsibility of each beneficiary is governed by Articles 28, 29 and 30 of the MGA.

Different entities can be involved in a project. These categories are as follows:  Coordinator;

The coordinator must:

  •   Monitor that the action is implemented properly (see Article 7 of MGA);

  •   Act as the intermediary for all communications between the beneficiaries and the Commission (in particular, providing the Commission with the information described in Article 12 of MGA), unless the MGA specifies otherwise;

  •   Request and review any documents or information required by the Commission and verify their completeness and correctness before passing them on to the Commission;

  •   Submit the deliverables and reports to the Commission (see Articles 14 and 15 of MGA);

  •   Ensure that all payments are made to the other beneficiaries without unjustified delay (see Article 16 of MGA);

  •   Inform the Commission of the amounts paid to each beneficiary, when required in the MGA (see Articles 28 and 34) or requested by the Commission.

Note:
The coordinator may not delegate the above-mentioned tasks to any other beneficiary or subcontract them to any third party.

Other beneficiaries;

Each beneficiary must:

  •   Keep information stored in the Beneficiary Register (in the electronic exchange

    system) up to date (see Article 12 of MGA);

  •   Inform the coordinator immediately of any events or circumstances likely to affect significantly or delay the implementation of the action (see Article 12 of MGA);

  •   Submit to the coordinator in good time: 10

    • o Individual financial statements for itself and its affiliated entities (if applicable) and, if required, certificates on the financial statements (see Article 15 of MGA);

    • o The data needed to draw up the technical reports (see Article 15 of MGA); o If applicable, ethics committee opinions and notifications or authorisations for activities raising ethical issues;

    • o Any other document(s) or information required by the Commission under the MGA, unless the MGA requires the beneficiary to submit this information directly to the Commission.

 

 Subcontractor(s);

  •   Subcontractors are not parties to the grant agreement. They do not have a

    contractual relationship with the Commission.

  •   If necessary to implement the action, the beneficiaries may award contracts covering the implementation of certain tasks of the co- financed action as described in the proposal (the latter will become Annex 1 to the grant agreement if the project is selected for co-funding).

Note:
subcontracting may only cover a limited part of the action.

 Collaborating stakeholders;

  •   The collaborating stakeholders may significantly increase the technical and scientific content of the project, as well as its relevance for different users in the Union.

  •   They have no contractual relationship with the Commission, nor do they receive any EU funding.

  •   Note that it is not mandatory to involve collaborating stakeholders entities in your project.

 

 Affiliated entities.

 Affiliated entities have to comply with the exclusion and eligibility criteria. While they do not sign the grant agreement, they can actively contribute to the implementation of the action. The names of the affiliated entities participating in the implementation of the action shall be listed in the grant agreement (Article 11) and tasks attributed to them described in Annex I. They may declare as eligible the costs they incur in accordance of Article 6.3.

There are two options how entities can be affiliated to each other:

  1. Several entities together form one entity, possibly specifically established for the purpose of implementing the action. They will be treated as one entity.

  2. A beneficiary has entities with legal or capital links. These links are not limited

    to the action nor established just to implement it.

 

Please also refer to Article 122 of the Financial Regulation.

Note:
in respect to equal treatment, the partnership cannot change after the submission of a project proposal.

Number of participants and dimension of the proposal

A proposal should involve independent legal entities established in two different eligible countries. On the one hand, the number of beneficiaries in a given proposal should reflect a European dimension of the proposed action and should make sense.

On the other hand, the management of projects with a very large number of beneficiaries has proven to be administratively difficult. The number of beneficiaries need to be considered carefully.

6 FINANCIALASPECTS

Applicants need to conform to the principles and rules as set out by the EU Financial Regulation, i.e. the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and the related rules of application of the financial regulation and most importantly provisions under Title VI (Grants).

This section provides information on the general aspects of financial management of a grant in order to have a better understanding of the applicable principles and rules that need to be taken into account within the context of preparing and submitting your application.

6.1 General principles applicable to grants providing EU co-funding

Grants awarded must comply with the following principles:  Principle of non-cumulative award

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 their functioning during the same financial year as well as any other funding received or applied for the same action.

 Principle of non-retroactivity
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.

In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application.

 Principle of co-financing

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Co-financing means that the resources, which are necessary to carry out the action, may not be entirely provided by the EU budget.

Co-financing of the action may take the form of:

  • -  the beneficiary's own resources,

  • -  income generated by the action,

  • -  financial contributions from third parties.

 No-profit principle

Grants shall not have the purpose or effect of producing profit. Profit is defined as surplus of the receipts over eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary at the time of payment request.

6.2 Planning the budget of the action

6.2.1 Form of the grant

The grant is a partial reimbursement of the action's total eligible costs at the reimbursement rate defined under point 2 of the present guide ("EU Financial Contribution"). The grant isexpressed both as a maximum amount and also as a pre- defined percentage of the eligible costs.

In other words, the grant has a double ceiling: the maximum amount and the reimbursement rate is applied on the total eligible cost. These key data will be set in the grant agreement, please refer to article 5 of the model grant agreement.

6.2.2 Definition of eligible costs

Eligible costs must meet the following cumulative criteria:

  •   they must be actually incurred by the beneficiary;

  •   they must be incurred within the period of the action set in the grant agreement, with the exception of costs relating to the submission of the final report.;

  •   they must be indicated in the estimated budget;

  •   they must be incurred in connection with the action and necessary for its

    implementation;

  •   they must be identifiable and verifiable, in particular recorded in the beneficiary’s accounts in accordance with the accounting standards applicable in the country where the beneficiary is established and with the beneficiary’s usual cost accounting practices;

  •   they must comply with the applicable national law on taxes, labour and social security, and

  •   they must be reasonable, justified and must comply with the principle of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency.

    Please refer to article 6 of the model grant agreement.

 

6.2.3 Description of cost types

Costs of the action must be established in the following cost categories – please consult with article 6.2 of the grant agreement for a detailed description.

Note: Costs of affilitied entities must be also estimated by the applicant they are linked to. Please also refer to article 6.3. of the grant agreement.

Personnel costs

Personnel costs are eligible if they are related to personnel working for the beneficiary under an employment contract (or equivalent appointing act) and assigned to the implementation of the action.

In addition, the following costs can also be recognised as personnel cost:

  •   The costs for natural persons working under a direct contract with the beneficiary other than an employment contract, if certain conditions apply;

  •   Cost of personnel seconded by a third party against payment if costs are

incurred by the beneficiary.

Please refer to art. 6.2. of the model grant agreement for a detailed presentation of the conditions that need to be fulfilled.

In line with the Financial Regulation the salary costs of public officials will be considered as direct cost of the beneficiary to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority as beneficiary would not carry out if the project concerned was not undertaken.

Cost of Subcontracting

Direct costs of subcontracting (including related duties, taxes and charges such as non- deductible value added tax (VAT)) paid by the beneficiaries that are not public bodies acting as public authority are eligible if the conditions of Article 10.1.1 are met:

Subcontracting costs:

  •   Must be justified having regard to the nature of the action and what is necessary for its implementation;

  •   Must be clearly stated in the proposal and be listed in the budgetary annex (please also see article 10 of the MGA).   The beneficiaries must award the subcontracts ensuring the best value for money or, if appropriate, the lowest price. In doing so, they must avoid any conflict of interests.

For public bodies: entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities in the meaning of Directive 2004/18/EC or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2004/17/EC shall abide by the applicable national public procurement rules.

Other direct costs

 

The following cost types may also be included in eligible costs:
a) Travel costs and related subsistence allowances are eligible if they are in line with

the beneficiary’s usual practices on travel.

b) Equipment - portion of the costs that will be taken into account is that which corresponds to the duration of the action and rate of actual use for the purposes of the action.

c) Costs of other goods and services are eligible, if they are purchased specifically for the action.

The beneficiaries must make such purchases ensuring the best value for money or, if appropriate, the lowest price. In doing so, they must avoid any conflict of interests.

Indirect costs
Indirect costs are eligible if they are declared on the basis of the flat-rate of 7% of the

total eligible direct costs.

Beneficiaries receiving an operating grant financed by the EU or Euratom can declare indirect costs for the period covered by the operating grant only if the following conditions have been fulfilled:

1. The operating grant covers only part of the usual annual activities of the beneficiary and part of its annual operating budget (partial operating grant).

If the operating grant covers the entire activity and budget of the beneficiary, the latter is not entitled to receive any indirect costs under the action grant. Indeed, in that case the operating grant covers the entire overheads needed for the functioning of the beneficiary. Paying indirect costs under the action grant would therefore lead to double financing in breach of the last subparagraph of Article 129 (1) FR.

2. The beneficiary is able to demonstrate clearly that the operating grant does not cover any costs (including overheads) that may be claimed under the action grant.

To demonstrate this the beneficiary must:

a) use analytical cost accounting that allows to separate all costs (including overheads) attributable to the operating grant and the action grant. For that purpose the beneficiary must, according to its usual cost accounting practices, use reliable accounting codes and allocation keys ensuring that the allocation of the costs is done in a fair, objective and realistic way.

b) record separately:

  • all costs incurred for the operating grants (i.e. personnel, general running costs and other operating costs linked to the part of its usual annual activities), and

  • all costs incurred for the action grants (including the actual indirect costs finked to the action)

The obligation to record the actual indirect costs of the action does not prevent the use of a flat rate for the reimbursement of such costs. The flat rate remains the determining factor for the amount of indirect costs that can be charged under the action grant.

 

6.2.4 Exchange rate

The Budget of the grant agreement and financial statements must be drafted in euro.

Beneficiaries with accounting established in a currency other than the euro must convert costs incurred in another currency into euro at the average of the daily exchange rates published in the C series of the Official Journal of the European Union, calculated over the corresponding reporting period.

If no daily euro exchange rate is published in the Official Journal of the European Union for the currency in question, it must be converted at the average of the monthly accounting rates published on the Commission’s website, calculated over the corresponding reporting period.

Beneficiaries with accounting established in euro must convert costs incurred in another currency into euro according to their usual accounting practices.

6.2.5 VAT

The Financial Regulation, applicable as from 1 January 2013, provides for the full eligibility of the cost of VAT when attributable to exempt activities or activities out of the scope, except activities carried out as a public authority of a Member State. In other words, non-deductible VAT is eligible as expenditure, save for those activities matching the concept of sovereign powers exercised by Member States.

6.2.6 Definition of non-eligible costs

‘Ineligible costs’ are:

  •   Costs that do not comply with the conditions set out in articles 6.1 to 6.3 of the model grant agreement and in particular:

    • -  costs related to return on capital;

    • -  debt and debt service charges;

    • -  provisions for future losses or debts;

    • -  interest owed;

    • -  doubtful debts;

    • -  currency exchange losses;

    • -  bank costs charged by the beneficiary’s bank for transfers from the

      Agency;

    • -  excessive or reckless expenditure;

    • -  deductible VAT;

    • -  costs incurred during suspension of the implementation of the action;

    • -  in kind contributions provided by third parties free of charge.

  •   Costs declared under another EU grant (including grants awarded by a Member State and financed by the EU budget and grants awarded by bodies other than the Commission for the purpose of implementing the EU budget); in particular, indirect costs if the beneficiary is already receiving an operating grant financed by the EU budget in the same period.

 

 

6.3 Determination of the grant and payment arrangements

6.3.1 Calculation the grant amount

The ‘final grant amount’ depends on the actual extent to which the action is implemented and costs related to the implementation of the action.

The final grant amount will be calculated by the Commission when the payment of the balance is made in the following steps:

Step 1 The Commission evaluates the implementation of the action and verifies the actual costs related to the implementation declared by the beneficiaries. The reimbursement rate of the grant agreement is applied to the total eligible costs approved by the Commission.

Step 2 Application of the double ceiling: the amount obtained following Step 1 is compared to the maximum grant amount set out in the grant agreement. The final grant amount will be limited to the lower amount

Step 3 – Application of no-profit principle. ‘Profit’ is generated when the sum of the amount obtained following Steps 2 and the action’s total receipts is higher than the action’s total eligible costs. If there is a profit, it will be deducted in proportion to the final rate of reimbursement of the eligible actual costs approved by the Commission.

Step 4 – Reduction of the grant amount due to improper implementation or breach of other obligations.

For further details please also consult with article 5.3 of the model grant agreement.

6.3.2 Type of receipts

The following are considered receipts:

  •   Income generated by the action;

  •   Financial contributions given by third parties to the beneficiary specifically to be used to cover the action's eligible costs

    Please consult with article 5.3.3. of the model grant agreement

6.4 Payment Scheme

Payments will be made to the coordinator. The coordinator must distribute the payments between the beneficiaries without unjustified delay.

The following payments will be made to the coordinator:

 One or more pre-financing payments:
The aim of the pre-financing is to provide the beneficiaries with a float. It remains the

property of the EU until the payment of the balance.

Note:

Pre-financing payments will only be distributed by the coordinator when 90% of the beneficiaries signed the accession form and only to those beneficiaries who signed the form! Please refer to article 16.7 of the grant agreement

 One or more interim payments, on the basis of the request(s) for interim payment:

Interim payments reimburse the actual eligible costs incurred and declared by the beneficiaries for the implementation of the action during the corresponding reporting periods.

The number of interim payments will be set in the grant agreement. Interim payments are subject to the approval of the periodic report with the corresponding deliverables and the declaration of actual costs incurred by the beneficiaries.

The maximum amount of the interim payments (including the amount of pre-financing) is limited to the 90% of the maximum grant amount as set out in article 5.1 of the grant agreement.

 One payment of the balance, on the basis of the request for payment of the balance.

The payment of the balance reimburses the remaining part of the eligible costs incurred by the beneficiaries for the implementation of the action. The amount due as the balance is calculated by the Commission by deducting the total amount of pre-financing and interim payments (if any) already made, from the final grant amount.

If the total amount of earlier payments is greater than the final grant amount, the payment of the balance takes the form of a recovery.

If the total amount of earlier payments is lower than the final grant amount, the Commission will pay the balance.

Payment is subject to the approval of the final report. Please consult with article 16 of the model grant agreement.

6.5 Pre-financing guarantee

In the event that the applicant's financial capacity is not satisfactory, measures may be taken in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment. These may include a financial guarantee for an amount up that of the pre-financing payment or the inclusion of several reporting periods, leading to interim payments, subject to the approval of the periodic report.

If requested, the financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the Member State of the European Union. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the authorising officer responsible may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee if he considers that the bank or financial institution offers equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State. Amounts blocked in bank accounts shall not be accepted as financial guarantees.

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 gradually cleared against interim payments or payments of the balance to the beneficiary, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the grant agreement.

No financial guarantee will be requested for a beneficiary receiving an EU contribution of EUR ≤60. 000 (low value grants).

 

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