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Establishment of the Copernicus Caroline Herschel Framework Partnership Agreement - 275/G/GRO/COPE/17/10042

  CALL EXPIRED Deadline: 18 Oct 2017

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Innovation
 Social Innovation
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Business Development



1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Subject

This call for proposals is established under Action 6 of the Copernicus work programme 20171 and Regulation (EU) No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the Copernicus Programme2 (hereafter “Copernicus Regulation”). The purpose of the call is to establish a Framework Partnership between the Commission and partners from each of the Copernicus Participating States (EU 28 plus Norway and Iceland) to fund actions that lead to an increase use of Copernicus data and information (“user uptake”) and the development of a downstream market that is commercially able to exploit the Copernicus data and information (“business solutions and innovative applications”).

As a result of this call the Commission will conclude with the winning consortium one Framework Partnership Agreement ("FPA") for the period 2017-2021. Under this FPA, Specific Grant Agreements ("SGA") are awarded to fund the individual actions.

The present Framework Partnership is called the "Caroline Herschel Partnership" in honour of the 18th century German-British astronomer and the first woman employed as a paid scientist.

1.2. Date of publication

The date of publication of this call is Quarter 3 2017.

1.3. General background and context

Framework Partnerships are defined in Article 178 of the Rules of Application3 to the Financial Regulation4 as "long-term cooperation mechanism[s] between the Commission and the beneficiaries of grants. [They specify] the common objectives, the nature of actions planned on a one-off basis or as part of an approved annual work programmes [and] the procedure for awarding specific grants".

Copernicus users are part of the communities that exploit the products from the Copernicus Services. It is important that the uptake from wider communities and possibly new or mixed communities is fostered as this will drive, in each Copernicus State, the demand for new and innovative solutions and promote thereby the growth of emerging and established Earth Observation undertakings.

A strong consortium – i.e. a consortium with the largest constituency possible, preferably a consortium that regroups entities from all Copernicus States – will also be able to expand user uptake beyond national borders and increase the critical mass, through Earth Observation and 

Copernicus in particular, to tackle societal issues such as climate change, migration, civil protection, resource management and urban planning. This critical mass, in the form of both new commercially exploitable applications and public-service goods, will contribute to strengthening Europe's technological development, expertise and know-how in Earth Observation world-wide.

 

2. ACTIONS TO BE FUNDED

2.1. Eligible projects

Only projects which can be identified as projects of common interest for user uptake of Copernicus may receive Union financial assistance. The project has to comply with the following objectives:

  1. a)  Increase socio-economic benefits by promoting the use of Earth observation in applications and services;

  2. b)  foster the development of a competitive European space and services industry and maximising opportunities for European enterprises to develop and provide innovative Earth observation systems and services;

  3. c)  increase demand for Copernicus data and Copernicus information and the number of downstream services, as well as the widening of distribution across the Copernicus States;

  4. d)  promote the use of Copernicus data and Copernicus information by institutions and bodies, international organisations and European, national, regional or local authorities, including the level of user uptake and satisfaction, and the benefits provided to European societies;

  5. e)  increase market penetration, including the expansion of the existing markets and creation of new markets and competitiveness of the European downstream operators;

  6. f)  demonstrate European added value.

    2.2. Tiers of the FPA

The actions to be funded through SGAs will be divided into Tiers: The FPA will finance actions (through SGAs) for the following Tiers:

  1. a)  Tier 1: national user uptake, by promoting the use by national stakeholders. Examples include national or local awareness events, training sessions, online courses, support to the production and procurement of space applications (e.g. by public authorities), design and dissemination of promotional material, hackathons, etc.

  2. b)  Tier 2: global actions, including European cross border user uptake and international user uptake.

 

a) European cross-borders user uptake, comprises actions organised in several Member States, by increasing co-operation, joint awareness events exchange of best practices and creation of common products and applications; whereas

 

b) International user uptake actions make use of the existing national and European infrastructure (such as the national research and education networks and the direct transatlantic high-bandwidth connection between Europe and South America) to develop, by concrete actions, the international co-operation agreements under Copernicus (e.g. the United States, Australia). Activities should support the internationalisation of European companies offering applications based on Copernicus and space data (e.g. matchmaking sessions with partners from third countries, business missions...)

c) Tier 3: business solutions and innovative products and applications, by supporting innovation businesses and start-ups, their incubation and maturity and lifting administrative and legal barriers, and sponsoring the creation of new products and applications and their intellectual property rights (e.g., patents, licensing, etc.) Activities should focus on promoting innovation in the commercial Earth Observation downstream sector, by providing such companies with training, networking and financing opportunities. The link with users will be strongly encouraged, in order to ensure the sustainability of the projects.

 

3. PHASES OF THE FRAMEWORK PARTNERSHIP

There are two phases to the Framework Partnership:

  1. a)  The establishment of the partnership through a Framework Partnership Agreement;

  2. b)  The award of Specific Grant Agreements

Prior to the establishment of the partnership, a selection process must take place. The proposal shall consist of two parts:

  1. a)  The Action Plan, which describes the objectives per Tier of activity, including a scenario work programme for the year 2018 with the budget breakdown per action, the indicators and the expected results to be attained throughout the period 2017-2021; and

  2. b)  The Governance Scheme, which consists of the internal agreement of the consortium and a co-operation scheme between the consortium, the Copernicus entrusted entities, and the Commission

Once the Framework Partnership Agreement awarded and signed by the Commission and the consortium, the latter will have to submit a first annual work programme. This work programme shall identify the actions, per Tier, to be funded and its relation with the action plan.

3.1. Funding of actions – award of SGAs

Once the work programme approved by the Commission, the Commission shall invite the consortium to submit proposals for SGAs. There shall be a submission of a single proposal for each SGA.

The actions will be funded by specific grant agreements that cover either one-off actions or bundle several actions. However, the SGAs shall cover each Tier.

 

 

4. ELIGIBILITY FOR THE AWARD OF THE FRAMEWORK PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

Applications must be presented by a consortium of Member States, Norway and Iceland represented by public bodies or bodies with a public service mission, as recognised by the law of the State of origin. Only written applications submitted by legal persons of private or public law or bodies or entities which do not have legal personality under the applicable national law, provided that their representatives have the capacity to assume legal obligations on their behalf and offer a guarantee for the protection of the Union's financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons constituted and registered in a Member State, Norway or Iceland are eligible for EU financial support.

By way of exception, application may be submitted by one applicant, whether established specifically or not for the action, provided that:

  1. a)  it is formed of several legal entities complying with the eligibility, non-exclusion and selection criteria set out in this call for proposals, and implementing together the proposed action;

  2. b)  the application identifies the said entities.

For the purpose of declaring eligible costs the entities composing the applicant shall be treated as affiliated entities.

Project proposals submitted by natural persons are not eligible. Project proposals submitted by one applicant only are not eligible.

Project proposals submitted by one applicant shall not be eligible.

Only applications from legal entities established in the EU Member States, Norway or Iceland are eligible.

Several applicants, submitting a joint proposal should choose within their midst a lead organisation, referred to as the coordinator.

The coordinator and other applicants must satisfy the same eligibility criteria:

  •   Applications must be submitted by a legal person

  •   Applicants must correspond to the definition of a body with a public service mission, as defined by the law of incorporation of the applicant or where the applicant has conducts its main activity;

  •   Corporate bodies must be properly constituted and registered under the law. If a body or organisation is not constituted under the law, a physical person must be designated to provide the legal responsibility.

  •   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. 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.

  •  Several entities that form together one entity, whether or not this entity is established for the purpose of implementing the action, may apply as a sole beneficiary. The entities will be considered as affiliated entities, which each will have to comply with eligibility, exclusion and selection criteria.

For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, such applicants will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article II.17 of the Framework Partnership Agreement.

 

Supporting documents

Subject to the eligibility criteria indicated above, the applicants should provide the following supporting documents to establish their eligibility:

  •   private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);

  •   public entity: copy of the resolution or decision establishing the public company, or other official document establishing the public-law entity;

  •   consortium: in addition to the supporting documents referring to their legal status, consortium members will submit letters confirming their participation to the project,

  •   natural persons: photocopy of identity card and/or passport;

  •   entities without legal personality: documents providing evidence that their

representative(s) have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf.

 

5. SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Applications must comply with the following conditions in order to be eligible for a grant:

Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 27.

- Applications must be submitted in writing using the application form and the electronic submission system, as indicated in the Guide for Applicants.

 Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official Languages. If your proposal is not in English, a translation of the full proposal would be of assistance to the evaluators. An English translation of an abstract may be included in the proposal (see Guide for Applicants).

  •   Proposals must be submitted in conformity with the call specifications;

  •   Only projects that are strictly non-profit-making and/or whose immediate objective is

    non-commercial shall be eligible.

  •   Applications must respect the maximum rate for EU co-financing.

  •   Applications must respect the maximum amount for EU co-financing.

In this context, will be rejected any project directly or indirectly contrary to EU policy or against public health, human rights, citizen’s security or freedom of expression.

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

 

 

6. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

6.1. Exclusion from participation
The Commission draws applicants' attention to Articles 106 to 109 and Article 131 of the

Financial Regulation, as well as to Article 141 of the Rules of Application.

An entity will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure if :

  1. a)  it is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations;

  2. b)  ithasbeenestablishedbyafinaljudgmentorafinaladministrativedecisionthattheentity is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the contracting authority is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract;

  3. c)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the entity is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following:

    1. i)  fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract;

    2. ii)  entering into agreement with other entity with the aim of distorting competition;

    3. iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

    4. iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the contracting authority during the award procedure;

    5. v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure;

  4. d) it has been established by a final judgment that the entity is guilty of any of the following:

    1. i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995;

    2. ii)  corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract;

    3. iii)  participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. v)  terrorist-related of fences or offences linked toterrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision;

    6. vi)  child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. e)  the entity has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract financed by the budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors;

  6. f)  it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the entity has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95.

  7. g)  for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to:

    1. i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body;

    2. ii)  non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics;

    3. iii)  decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international 

      organisations;

    4. iv)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law.

    5. v)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

6.2. Exclusion from award

Grants will not be awarded to applicant who, in the course of the grant award procedure : (a) is in a situation of exclusion established in accordance with Article 106 FR

(b) has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the grant award procedure or has failed to supply that information;

(c) was previously involved in the preparation of procurement documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities. Supporting documents

Applicants must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to by filling in the “Exclusion Criteria Form” (form B4).

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation.

By using the “Exclusion Criteria Form” applicants shall declare on their honour that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 106 and 107 of the Regulation (EC, Euratom) n° 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (Financial Regulation, as amended).

Please note that administrative and financial penalties may be imposed by the Commission on applicants who are excluded in relation to points a) to g) of the form in question.

For grants with a value exceeding € 60 000, the Commission may require further evidence, as indicated in article 143 Rules of Application.

 

7. SELECTION CRITERIA

The applicant(s) must have access to solid and adequate funding sources, so as to be able to maintain activities for the period of the project funded and to co-finance the project. The applicant(s) must have the professional skills and qualifications required to complete the proposed Action. The selection criteria also apply to applicants for programme support actions supported by grants.

The verification of the financial capacity does not apply to applicants which are a Member 

State, a public sector body (i.e. regional or local authority, body governed by public law or association formed by one or several such authorities or one or several such bodies governed by public law, in particular Joint Undertaking in line with eligibility criteria established under Article 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (ex-Article 171 TCE), international organisation5) or a European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) established in line with Council Regulation (EEC) N° 2137/85 of 25 July 1985 and 100% owned by public body(ies).

7.1. Financial capacity

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. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:

For grants of a total value < EUR 60 000:  a declaration on honour

For grants of a total value ≥ EUR 60 000, in addition:

  •   a declaration on honour and,
  •   form B/5 provided for in the submission set, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures.

Other documents may be submitted if needed (see IV.4 Guide to applicants)

For grants for an action ≥ EUR 750 000 or operating grants ≥ EUR 100 000, in addition:

  •  an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last two financial years available.

In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above threshold regarding audit reports applies per applicant.

In the case of affiliated entities forming together one sole applicant, the above requirements apply to each of the affiliated entity.

7.2. Operational capacity

Applicants must show they have the operational (technical and management) capacity to complete the operation to be supported and must demonstrate their capacity to manage scale activity corresponding to the size of the project for which the grant is requested. In particular, the team responsible for the project/operation must have adequate professional qualifications and experience.

 

In this respect, applicants have to submit the following supporting documents:

  •   a declaration on their honour;

  •   curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation;

  •   the organisations’ activity reports;

  •   an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed in the last two years

    and connected to the policy field of a given call or to the actions to be carried out;

  •   a description of the technical equipment, tools or facilities and patents at the disposal of the applicant;

    In the case of affiliated entities forming together a sole applicant, the above requirements apply to each affiliate entity

    The selection procedure is described in further detail in the Guide for Applicants.

 

8. AWARD CRITERIA

Only proposals compliant with the eligibility and selection criteria will be evaluated against the award criteria.

In order to be considered for the award of the Framework Partnership agreement, the proposals must obtain the minimum of 60% of the total (100) available points. For further details see section 11.1.1.

 

9. AFFILIATED ENTITIES

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 Caroline Herschel FPA as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 20.1. For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

Affiliated entities are to be understood in accordance with Article 122(2) and 126(4) of the Financial Regulation and Article 199 of Rules of Application. There can be two types of affiliated entities:

a) several legal entities forming together one legal entity or 'sole beneficiary' which may, or may not, have been specifically established for carrying out the action (e.g. groupings, joint ventures). The legal entities forming the 'sole beneficiary' have to fulfil the eligibility, exclusion and selection criteria and have to submit the appropriate supporting documents to that effect;

b) legal entities having a legal or capital link with a beneficiary or co-beneficiary, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation (e.g. networks, federations, trade-unions). These affiliated entities have to fulfil the eligibility and exclusion criteria and have to submit the appropriate supporting documents to that effect.

In order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested:

  1. a)  private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required);

  2. b)  public entity: copy of the resolution or decision establishing the public company, or other official document establishing the public-law entity;

  3. c)  consortium: in addition to the supporting documents referring to their legal status, consortium members will submit letters confirming their participation to the project;

  4. d)  entities without legal personality: documents providing evidence that their representative(s) have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf.

 

10. COMPLIANCE WITH THE UNION LAW AND OTHER SOURCES OF FINANCING

Granting of Union financial assistance to projects of common interest is conditional upon compliance of the project with relevant Union law inter alia concerning interoperability, environmental protection6, competition and public procurement.

Any source of Union financing may be used to fund, in full or in part, any SGAs, provided the same action is not already funded or co-financed.

 

11. PROPOSALS FOR THE FRAMEWORK PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

Applicants shall present a proposal for an Action Plan 2017-2021 and for the Governance Scheme.

11.1. Evaluation

Applicants shall submit a full proposal for the Action Plan and the Governance Scheme setting out the priorities, rationale and prospective evolution of the Action Plan and the Governance Scheme. The Action Plan should be coherent and demonstrate its feasibility, including key objectives, priorities and monitoring mechanisms. The Governance Scheme should be robust and effective by providing proper balance between participation in the decision-making process and the speed and effectiveness of the decisions, as well as of remedial actions.

 

a) The Action Plan shall indicate what actions are rated more important and/or urgent, and why; on which basis should the budget be split among Tiers and what results should be expected, what is the evolution sought of the actions to be funded and what indicators should be used. It shall also be accompanied by a scenario work programme covering the year 2018 listing the actions to be carried out and estimated budget broken down by 

individual action. The maximum budget for the scenario work programme shall be EUR 1 million;

  1. b)  The Governance Scheme, should not only give the structure of the co-ordination and decision-making process inside the consortium, but also identify the articulation modalities with the Commission and the Copernicus entrusted entities;

  2. c)  With the proposal, applicants shall submit the evidence relating to the exclusion and selection criteria;

Applicants are reminded that the scenario work programme submitted with the proposal shall serve the sole purpose of evaluation and shall not preclude or prejudice, in case of award of the FPA, the successful consortium from submitting a formal annual work programme.

11.1.1. Award criteria

The following criteria shall be used:

  1. a)  relevance of the application to the objectives of the Framework Partnership Agreement – 15 points;

  2. b)  visibility of the European institutions' involvement in the action – 10 points;

  3. c)  impact on the target group and the multiplier effect of the actions – 15 points;

  4. d)  quality of the Action Plan (including the scenario work programme) and the Governance Scheme – 40 points;

  5. e)  budget and effectiveness (scenario work programme) – 20 points

Only proposals compliant with the exclusion and selection criteria will be evaluated against the above award criteria. Among these ones, applicants, whose proposals have not met at least 60 points in total or a score lower than 50% for any of the above five criteria is obtained, the proposal will not be evaluated further shall be excluded. The Commission intends to award only one Framework Partnership Agreement.

 

12. CONTENTS OF THE ACTION PLAN

12.1.1. User uptake

Copernicus user uptake refers to both the intermediate users (downstream users) as the end- users. Intermediate users build upon the Copernicus data and information to deliver value- added information (services) to the end-users.

Copernicus users include Union institutions and bodies, European, national, regional or local authorities, research users like universities or any other research and education organisations, commercial and private users, charities, NGOs and international organisations.

Support to the uptake of Copernicus services by users can be understood as the use and integration of Copernicus data, information, products that are available across the different Copernicus services including the in situ data, by the end-user into their own applications and workflows. These can either be provided directly by the Copernicus services or provided by intermediate users (added-value services). For example a local/regional authority (end-user) wants to improve its preventive actions of clearing the streets in case of heavy snowfall (the challenge/need). An intermediate user e.g. a local/regional SME, on request of the local/regional authority, develops together with a local/regional applied research institute an operational information service which integrates existing data resources with Copernicus data that can deliver (near)real-time info. The intermediate user shows hands-on how the end-user can incorporate the information service into its daily workflow processes/practices.

A further distinction can be made between the non-technical experts (manager, decision-maker) and the technical expert. The non-technical expert can look for a better comprehension of a challenge or issue by using information which has been enhanced by the technical expert who has processed and integrated/combined the Copernicus data and information in synergy with existing data/info into a more comprehensible output.

For example, the administration of a local/regional authority (non-technical expert) wants to improve the monitoring of illegal waste dumping on their territory: there is a need for a faster and more accurate identification. What is the potential for Copernicus information (products) provided by the different Copernicus services and in situ data component, to enhance/complement the existing monitoring activities? The technical experts of the regional authority (end-user) or maybe the technical experts of a local/regional SME or research institute (intermediate user) hired by the regional authority, will deal with the technical implementation on how practically to integrate the products in the current monitoring systems (e.g. enhancement of orthophotos with Earth Observation products e.g. from the land monitoring service, from the emergency monitoring service in combination with field surveys (in-situ)) resulting in a more accurate and up-to-date status monitoring. The non-technical expert will then be able to use the enhanced information to identify infringements which will be reported to the decision-makers who can act upon e.g. by initiating possible law enforcement activities.

A Copernicus user does not necessarily identify him/herself only as a user of a specific thematic service – e.g. emergency management user, but maybe also as a user/integrator of all possible Copernicus data and information available across the different services (cross-cutting services).

The actions funded under the User Uptake will tackle the demand for information on the usefulness of Copernicus data and information by offering innovative and creative ways to communicate and inform on how Copernicus data and information can add value to current (decision/working) processes/practices, with special attention to the national/regional/local level target audiences (end- and intermediate users). This can include for example the development of a communication strategy and guidelines for all further activities/material; an innovative and creative approach to improve the user uptake website by including a free and open interactive user uptake knowledge portal which will host user uptake material to guide and support the user.

Other action will address the demand for practical solutions to integrate Copernicus data and information by developing activities that will enable interactions between the (demands of) end-users and the offer provided by Copernicus and/or intermediate users with special attention to the regional and local level target audiences and their environment, participatory approaches and innovative practices e.g. capacity building that can support the engagement of the Copernicus data and information in current (decision/working) processes/practices.

The Action Plan 2017-2021 should define the objectives, milestones and expected results of the actions to be funded to promote user uptake, as well as a prospective long-term outlook for activities beyond 2021.

12.1.2. Business solutions and innovative products and applications

The Commission must support the private sector in bringing the benefits of Copernicus to the next level. As a first step, the consortium is invited to develop business start-up actions. This will support start-up creation and SME growth in the downstream sector. It may consist of any of the following actions:

  1. a)  Sponsoring new challenges in the different thematic areas of Earth Observation, in the form of prizes;

  2. b)  Stimulating the development of applications and innovative solutions (e.g. through hackathons) throughout Europe on a yearly basis, at minimum, leading to registered intellectual property;

  3. c)  Organising information and business coaching scheme;

  4. d)  Supporting the incubation of start-ups every year;

  5. e)  Fostering access to finance, in particular for start-ups;

  6. f)  Establish schemes to remove trade, legal, administrative or technical barriers to enhance the scaling-up of business.

This comprehensive programme will accompany start-ups from the generation of a business idea to its full commercialisation. The action should support idea generation and promote innovation. It should also help start-ups reach their next business target (e.g. developing a prototype, finding investors, getting a first client...).

 

13. GOVERNANCE SCHEME

In their proposal for the governance scheme and in addition to their internal agreement, applicants need to include in their proposal for the FPA the following elements:

13.1. Steering Committee and Management Board

There shall be a Steering Committee, chaired by the Commission, to supervise and revise the Action Plan and the results from the actions funded under the FPA. All members of the consortium are part of the Steering Committee, which shall meet ordinarily once a year.

A Management Board is also created for the day-to-day monitoring of the work programmes and the SGAs. The Board is composed of the coordinator and the Commission staff in charge of the implementation at working level and meets every month or whenever circumstances warrant.

 

13.2. Role of the co-ordinator

The co-ordinator will be in charge of the management of the consortium and of the implementation of each annual work programme. The co-ordinator shall, in particular:.

a) prepare the meetings of the Management Board and the Steering Committee;

b) prepare the revision of the Action Plan and the submission of the Annual work programmes;

The Governance Scheme shall also outline the principles and content of the cooperative arrangements that the consortium will establish with the entrusted entities of the Copernicus Programme, with the Commission and the national authorities of the concerned Copernicus States, as well as with the industry.

 

14. MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION

The members of the consortium are responsible for making appropriate internal arrangements for the proper implementation of the specific grants. Partners shall agree on how they will operate and co-ordinate, including all internal aspects related to the management and the implementation of the projects. Their agreement can be formalised in a legally binding internal cooperation agreement. This agreement is different from FPA as it binds only the members of the consortium among themselves and the Commission is not a party to it.

 

14.1. Internal Cooperation Agreement

The members of the Caroline Hershel FPA will be requested to conclude an internal cooperation agreement, which shall cover at least the following aspects:

  1. putting in place and operating the structures and mechanisms for the coordination between the consortium members of the Caroline Hershel FPA;
  2. continuous measurement of progress and monitoring;
  3. quality assurance and change management;
  4. disputeresolution;
  5. risk management;

It is necessary that the internal cooperation agreement lays down rights and obligations for all the members of the consortium taking into account the different national demographics. In this respect, a balance between the maximum number of members and the respective national share of members needs to be struck: a purely proportional distribution would either produce an unwieldy large consortium or the lack of representation of smaller States. The following, indicative7, distribution table is given below and applicants are invited to use it as a basis for their internal co-operation and management:

14.2. Indicative distribution and maximum number of representatives of the consortium

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

Should a State have no representative by withdrawing from the consortium, its replacement shall be from a representative from another State with equal representation (e.g. the German representative may only be replaced by a representative from France, Italy, the UK or Spain).

 

15. ANNUAL WORK PROGRAMMES AND LEGAL INSTRUMENTS

The Annual work programmes shall provide a description of the actions to be implemented; the results to be met; the objectives of the Action Plan, as well as the legal instruments with which to fund them.

The work programmes shall be divided by Tiers of actions (see section 2). Each Tier will give rise to a separate SGA.

 

16. AWARD OF SPECIFIC GRANT AGREEMENTS

Specific Grant Agreements shall be awarded according to the following general criteria:

  1. a)  relevance of the application to the objectives of the action;

  2. b)  visibility of the European institutions' involvement in the action;

  3. c)  impact on the target group and the multiplier effect of the action;

  4. d)  quality of the project;

  5. e)  budget and effectiveness.

There shall be a submission of a single proposal for each Specific Grant Agreement.

 

17. INDICATIVETIME-TABLE

Scheduled start-up date for the action: 4th quarter 2017 Maximum duration of action: 48 months The period of eligibility of costs will start at the earliest on the day the agreement is signed by the last of the parties. If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, the expenditure may be eligible as from a date before the agreement is signed. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application.

 

a) Publication of the call

August 2017

 

b) Deadline for submitting applications

October 2017

 

c) Evaluation period

October-November 2017

 

f) Information to applicants

November 2017

 

g) Signature of the Framework members of the Caroline Herschel FPA agreement

December 2017

 

h) Starting date of the action / work programmes

December 2017 / January 2018

 

18. UNION FUNDING

This call aims at the conclusion of a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA). The information given below relates to the financing for 2017 under the FPA, which should be taken into account by the applicants when preparing the scenario first year work programme:

Estimated maximum budget allocated for EU financing for 2017: EUR 1 million Maximum EU financing rate of eligible costs: 85 %
Maximum EU financing amount per project: EUR 1 million

Proposals with an EU co-financing beyond any of the above two maxima will not be eligible.

The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant. In such a case, applicants will be asked either to increase their co-financing, propose other co-financing means or to decrease the total costs without altering the substance of the proposal. Grants will not be awarded for more than the amount requested.

Publication of the call (on the Commission Internet site and/or in the Official Journal) does not guarantee the availability of funds for the above action.

For the sake of transparency, this section presents the financial provisions governing the award of specific grants under the Framework Partnership to be awarded following the call for proposals. Nevertheless, the purpose of this call for proposals is not the award of specific grants for actions.

19. BUDGET

The funds to be made available by the Union will be announced in a yearly basis through the relevant work programmes/ financing decisions. The budget available in 2017 is estimated at 1 million euro. The budget shall be implemented by Specific Grant Agreements.

Inasmuch as Earth Observation is relevant, the SGAs may target Union policies, in particular (and without exclusion of other):

  1. a)  Agriculture and Rural Development

  2. b)  Environment and Climate Action

  3. c)  Communications Networks, Content and Technology

  4. d)  Tourism, Audio-visual and Culture

  5. e)  Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

  6. f)  Energy, Chemicals and Raw Materials

  7. g)  Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

  8. h)  European Neighbourhood

  9. i)  Health and Food Safety

  10. j)  International Cooperation and Development

  11. k)  Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

  12. l)  Migration and Home Affairs

  13. m)  Mobility and Transport

  14. n)  Regional and Urban Policy

  15. o)  Research and Innovation

  16. p) Trade

In such case, and whenever necessary, appropriations from the corresponding Union budget chapters shall be made available.

Following this call for proposals, the Commission intends to award only one Framework Partnership Agreement. The award of a Framework Partnership does not in itself entitle the members of the Caroline Herschel FPA to receive specific grants.

19.1. Co-funding rate and duration

The actions shall have a maximum co-funding rate, for all Tiers, of 85% of the eligible costs for each SGA.

Exceptionally, for some actions under Tier 3 a co-funding rate of 100% may be allowed, in particular for the reimbursement of costs related to the registry of patents and other intellectual property rights. However the maximum of 85% of eligible costs for the SGA concerned shall be respected.

The duration of each action implemented under the SGAs shall not exceed 3 (three) years.

 

20. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EU FUNDING

Non-cumulative award

Each action may give rise to the award of only one grant from the budget to any one beneficiary.

In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget.

Applicants have to inform the Commission immediately of any multiple applications and multiple grants relating to the same action. The applicant shall inform about sources and amounts of EU funding received or applied for the same action or for part of the action. Applicants shall indicate if they receive EU funding for their functioning during the financial year in which the action takes place.

Non-retroactivity

No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed.

A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun, provided 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.

Co-financing

Grants shall involve co-financing, which implies that the resources necessary to carry out the action or the work programme shall not be provided entirely by EU contribution. EU financing may not cover 100% of the total costs of the action.

Co-financing of the action or of the work programme may take the form of:

  •   the beneficiary's own resources,

  •   income generated by the action or work programme,

  •   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 or to the consortium. The corresponding costs are not eligible.

Non-profit rule

EU grant may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the work programme of the beneficiary.

Where a profit is made, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred. For this purpose,

 

profit shall be defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred, when the request for payment of the balance is made.

Balanced budget

The estimated budget of the action or work programme is to be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance.

The budget must be drawn up in euros.

Applicants, who foresee that costs will not be incurred in euros, are invited to 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.

20.1. Eligible costs

In order to be eligible for funding, costs should be actually incurred by the beneficiary and meet the following criteria:

  •   they are incurred during the duration of the action or work programme, as indicated in the grant agreement, with the exception of costs relating to the request for payment of the balance and the corresponding supporting documents (audit certificates);

  •   they are indicated in the estimated budget of the action or work programme;

  •   they are necessary for the implementation of the action or of the work programme, in accordance with the description of the action, attached to the grant agreement;

  •   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;

  •   they comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation;

  •   they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the principle 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 costs made by affiliated entities can be eligible, provided that:

  •   the entities concerned are identified in the grant agreement;

  •   the entities concerned abide by the rules applicable to the beneficiary under the grant agreement with regard to eligibility of costs and rights of checks and audits by the Commission, OLAF and the Court of Auditors.

 

Please note that the exact scope of the eligibility of costs is defined by the grant agreement, which will be signed with the successful applicants.

20.1.1. Eligible direct costs

Direct costs of the action are those specific costs which are directly linked to the implementation of the action and can therefore be attributed directly to it. They shall not include any eligible indirect costs.

The following categories of costs can be considered as eligible direct costs:

  •   the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the beneficiary or an 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 beneficiary's usual policy on remuneration. Those costs may also include additional remunerations, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of the nature of those contracts, provided that they are paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required, independently from the source of funding used.

  •   salary 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.

  •   costs of travel and related subsistence allowances, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices on travel;

  •   the depreciation costs of equipment or other assets (new or second-hand) as recorded in the accounting statements of the beneficiary, provided that the asset has been purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts and that it is written off in accordance with the international accounting standards and the usual accounting practices of the beneficiary;

  •   costs of consumables and supplies, provided that they are purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts;

  •   costs arising directly from requirements imposed by the grant agreement (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the action, audits, translations, reproduction), including the costs of requested financial guarantees, provided that the corresponding services are purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts;

  •   costs entailed by subcontracts, concluded for the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action or workproramme as described in the proposal, provided that the conditions with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts are met;

  •   costs of financial support to third parties, in accordance with the conditions set by the grant agreement for such financing;
    duties, taxes and charges paid by the beneficiary, provided that they are included in eligible direct costs, and unless specified otherwise in the Agreement.

  •   Non-deductible VAT is eligible

  •   costs relating to a pre-financing guarantee lodged by the beneficiary of the grant,

    where that guarantee is a condition for the payment of a pre-financing;

  •   costs relating to external audits where such audits are required in support of the requests for payments

20.1.2. Eligible indirect costs

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.

Indirect costs are not eligible for beneficiaries that receive an operating grant from the European Commission.

20.1.3. Non-eligible costs

In addition to any other costs which do not fulfill the conditions set out in Article II.19.1, the following costs shall not be considered eligible:

  •   return on capital;

  •   debt and debt service charges;

  •   provisions for losses or debts;

  •   interest owed;

  •   doubtful debts;

  •   exchange losses;

  •   costs of transfers from the Commission charged by the bank of a beneficiary;

  •   costs declared by the beneficiary in the framework of another action receiving a grant financed from the Union budget (including grants awarded by a Member State and financed from the Union budget and grants awarded by other bodies than the Commission for the purpose of implementing the Union budget);

  •   in particular, indirect costs shall not be eligible under a grant for an action awarded to a beneficiary which already receives an operating grant financed from the Union budget during the period in question;

  •   contributions in kind from third parties;

  •   excessive or reckless expenditure;

  •   deductible VAT;

  •   participation by any staff of the institutions in actions receiving grants

  •   any other costs which have been specified as ineligible in the call for proposal

    In addition to the above, the Commission can refuse to finance certain costs included in the proposal. The beneficiary can decide to maintain and finance these costs out of his own resources, but they will not be taken into account as eligible costs.

 

21. CO-FINANCING AND JOINT AND SEVERAL RESPONSIBILITY

The beneficiary has to supply evidence of the co-financing provided. It can be provided either by way of own resources, or in the form of financial transfers from third parties.

In case of a joint application, all partners shall agree upon appropriate arrangements between themselves for the proper performance of the action.

In particular, they shall accept joint and several responsibility up to the value of the contribution that the beneficiary held liable is entitled to receive, as stipulated in the General Conditions of the draft grant agreement.

The final grant agreement shall be signed by each applicant. Alternatively it shall be signed by the appointed co-ordinator, provided that a power of attorney has been conferred to this entity (Annex IV of the draft grant agreement).

 

22. IMPLEMENTATION CONTRACTS/SUBCONTRACTING

Where the implementation of the action or the work programme requires the use of contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must ensure that the contract is awarded 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 shall abide by the applicable national public procurement rules, in the meaning of Directive 2014/24/EU on the coordination of procedures for the award of public work contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2014/25/EU coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors.

Sub-contracting for the purpose of the action

Sub-contracting refers to contracts concluded for the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action or work programme as described in the proposal. Such contracts must satisfy the conditions applicable to any implementation contract and, in addition, the following conditions:

  •   Subcontracting may only cover the implementation of a limited part of each SGA up to 75 % of the eligible costs.

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

  •   The proposal should clearly identify the subcontracted activities

    Subcontracting does not in any way limit the responsibility of beneficiaries for the implementation of the action. Please note that the beneficiary(ies) should have the necessary capacity to perform the project. Only tasks that are not core business can be sub-contracted to consultants.

    It is not necessary to have already selected subcontractors at the time the proposal is submitted. However, cost of contractors not selected in accordance with the applicable rules for procurement will not be eligible.

 

23. FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THIRD PARTIES

The applications may envisage provision of financial support to third parties.

The applications may envisage provision of financial support to third parties. In such case the applications must include:

  •   an exhaustive list of the types of activities for which a third party may receive financial support. The types of activities for which third party financing may be envisaged will be detailed at SGA level:

  •   the definition of the persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support,

  •   the criteria for awarding financial support,

  •   the maximum amount to be granted to each third party and the criteria for determining it.

The amount of financial support per third party must not exceed EUR 60 thousand

 

24. FINAL GRANT AND PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS

The draft grant agreement annexed to this call for proposals specifies the calculation of the final grant and the payment arrangements.

Your attention is in particular drawn to the General Conditions of the grant agreement, where the eligibility of costs is described. Detailed explanations and a description how costs should be budgeted and reported can be found in the Guide for Applicants.

In case of grants of at least EUR 750 thousand when the cumulative amounts of request for payment is at least EUR 325 thousand, a certificate by a registered auditor on the financial statements and underlying accounts (“certificate on the financial statements”) has to be submitted to certify that the costs reported are real, accurate and in accordance with the grant agreement.

 

EU grant may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the work programme of the beneficiary. Where a profit is made, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred. For this purpose, profit is 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. Where such a surplus occurs, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred by the beneficiary.

The Commission may require the beneficiary to lodge a guarantee for grants exceeding EUR 60 thousand , based on a risk analysis.

In the event that the applicant's financial capacity is not satisfactory, 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.

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.

 

25. PUBLICITY

25.1. By the beneficiaries

Beneficiaries 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, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and emblem of the European Commission on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project.

To do this they must use the text, the emblem and the disclaimer available at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/services/visual_identity/index_en.htm.

If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement or grant decision.

 

25.2. By the Commission8

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 Commission will publish the following information:

  1. a)  name of the beneficiary

  2. b)  address of the beneficiary when the latter is a legal person, region when the beneficiary is a natural person, as defined on NUTS 2 level9 if he/she is domiciled within EU or equivalent if domiciled outside EU,

  3. c)  subject of the grant,

  4. d)  amount awarded.

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.

 

26. DATA PROTECTION

The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). 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 Community 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 for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by the Head of Unit GROW I.3 acting as data controller.

Details concerning the processing of personal data are available on the privacy statement at: http://ec.europa.eu/dataprotectionofficer/privacystatement_publicprocurement_en.pdfhttp://ec

.europa.eu/dataprotectionofficer/privacystatement publicprocurement en.pdf.

Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES) if the applicant is in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106 of the Financial Regulation. For more information, see the Privacy Statement on:

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/explained/management/protecting/protect_en.cfm)

 

27. PROCEDURE FOR THE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
a) Please note that only electronic submissions are allowed for this call.

 

  1. b)  Please consult the Guide for Applicants for the modalities of preparing the proposal.

  2. c)  Submission of a grant application implies acceptance of the conditions of the grant agreement, attached to this call

  3. d)  The deadline for submission of proposals is:

18/10/2017 [17:00:00 Brussels local time]

 

 

28. CONTACTS

Contacts between the contracting authority and potential applicants can only take place in certain circumstances and under the following conditions only:

Before the final date for submission of proposals,

  •   At the request of the applicant, the Commission may provide additional information solely for the purpose of clarifying the nature of the call.

  •   Any requests for additional information must be made in writing only to the coordinates stated below.

  •   The Commission may, on its own initiative, inform interested parties of any error, inaccuracy, omission or other clerical error in the text of the call for proposals.

  •   Any additional information including that referred to above will be published on the internet in concordance with the various call for proposals documents.

    After the deadline for submission of proposals:

  •   If clarification is requested or if obvious clerical errors in the proposal need to be corrected, the Commission will contact the applicant provided the terms of the proposal are not modified as a result.

  •   If the authorising officer finds that those proposals, which have been listed for award needs limited adaptations to their proposal. In such case, these applicants will receive a formal letter setting out the requested modifications. Any such modifications must stay within the limits of the request. This phase will not lead to a re-evaluation of the proposals, but a proposal might be rejected if the applicant does not wish to comply with the modifications requested.

Contact coordinates for the call:

European Commission

Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Directorate-General

Directorate for Space Policy, Copernicus and Defence, Unit I.3: Space Data for Societal Challenges and Growth

E-mail address: Miguel.rocha-de-gouveia@ec.europa.eu Office address: BREY 9/232, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium

 



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