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EU AND US: GETTING TO KNOW EUROPE 2017-2019 - EuropeAid/154805/DD/ACT/US

  CALL EXPIRED Deadline: 04 Aug 2017

 Energy Efficiency
 Environmental protection
 International Cooperation
 Climate Sciences
 Business Development



1.1 BACKGROUND

"Getting to Know Europe" (GTKE) is a programme funded by the European Union (EU) under objective four of the Partnership Instrument (PI).

The PI was specifically designed to promote the EU's strategic interests worldwide by supporting cooperation on areas of mutual interest with major-international actors. Specifically, it encompasses four key areas: a) it addresses major global challenges such as energy security, climate change and environmental protection; b) it supports the implementation of the external dimension of EU internal policies and of the Europe 2020 Strategy; c) it covers specific aspects of the EU’s economic diplomacy by improving access to third-countries' markets through trade, investment and business opportunities; and d) it supports public diplomacy activities, including academic and think tank cooperation as well as outreach activities to promote the Union’s vision and principles.

The transatlantic relationship has been the bedrock of the security and prosperity enjoyed by several generations of the EU and US population over many decades. However, the EU itself is still little known to most of the US, and where it is known, it is often misunderstood, its relevance is questioned, and its contributions are unknown or under-valued. At a time when both the EU and the US face a number of common challenges, it is more important than ever that the US actively embrace the EU as an essential partner in addressing these challenges and solving difficult problems.

The EU’s Delegation to the US is based in Washington, DC with limited ability to engage with many parts of such a vast country like the US. The structure of US democracy also means that many of its most important stakeholders (business, policymakers, civil society, and the public) are not in Washington, DC. Accordingly, it is of significant value for the EU to work through local organisations and institutions to engage in public diplomacy “outside the Beltway”.

Public diplomacy is not a unidirectional activity and requires dialogue. Accordingly, activities under this public diplomacy program should also give the EU Delegation valuable feedback and better insight into the views and positions of both the public and other stakeholders outside Washington, DC on the EU itself, relevant EU policies, and its relationship with the US. Under the Partnership Instrument, public diplomacy aims to meaningfully engage with target audiences and stakeholders in third countries for the purpose of building trust and mutual understanding that facilitates future cooperation.

1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME AND PRIORITY ISSUES

The global objective of this call for proposals is to increase knowledge, understanding, and visibility of the EU and affinity for the EU-US relationship across a diverse array of local and regional communities in the United States.

The specific objective(s) of this call for proposals are:

  •   through the medium of culture and intercultural dialogue, to actively foster greater appreciation of the value, relevance, and importance of the EU for the US and also nurture greater affinity for the EU-US transatlantic partnership;

  •   to actively engage with a range of US audiences and regional communities around the country, particularly those in which the EU is little known, understood, and/or appreciated; and

  •   to provide highly visible opportunities for the US to publicly and actively exhibit its support for the EU and the EU-US relationship.

1.3 FINANCIAL ALLOCATION PROVIDED BY THE CONTRACTING AUTHORITY

The overall indicative amount made available under this call for proposals is EUR 1 million for 4 to 5 grants. The Contracting Authority reserves the right not to award all available funds.

Size of grants

Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:

  •   minimum amount: EUR 200,000.00

  •   maximum amount: EUR 250,000.00
    Any grant requested under this Call for Proposals must not exceed the following maximum percentage of

    total eligible costs of the action:

 Maximum percentage: 80% of the total eligible costs of the action (see also section 2.1.5).

The balance (i.e. the difference between the total cost of the action and the amount requested from the Contracting Authority) must be financed from sources other than the EU Budget or the European Development Fund.

2 RULES FOR THIS CALL FOR PROPOSALS

These guidelines set out the rules for the submission, selection and implementation of the actions financed under this call, in conformity with the Practical Guide, which is applicable to the present call (available at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/prag/document.do?locale=en) 4.

2.1 ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

There are three sets of eligibility criteria, relating to:

(1) the actors:

  •   The lead applicant, i.e. the entity submitting the concept note and the full application form (2.1.1),

  •   if any, its co-applicant(s) (where it is not specified otherwise the lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) are hereinafter jointly referred as the "applicants") (2.1.1),

  •   and, if any, affiliated entity(ies) to the lead applicant and/or to a co-applicant(s). (2.1.2);

(2) the actions:
 Actions for which a grant may be awarded (2.1.4);

(3) the costs:
 types of cost that may be taken into account in setting the amount of the grant (2.1.5).

 

2.1.1 Eligibility of applicants (i.e. lead applicant and co-applicant(s))

Lead applicant

(1)  In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:

  •   be a legal entity, and

  •   be non-profit-making, and

  •   be a specific type of organisation such as: non-governmental organisation (NGO), not-for- profit (NPO) institution including, but not limited to, secondary schools, trade unions, business associations, teachers federations, youth groups and associations, local community groups, cultural institutions, local associations promoting socio-cultural exchanges across the Atlantic, media and other professional training centers, national "umbrella" groups with active local chapters, and other civil society organizations such as chambers of commerce. Universities are included among institutions eligible to apply, but any activities supported by the grant should exclusively involve and target members of the local or regional community (i.e. not faculty and/or students) because this Call cannot support any activity that could be construed as academic, and

  •   be established in5 the USA in line with article 8.7 of the Common Implementing Regulation (CIR).

  •   be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co- applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.

(2)  Potential applicants may not participate in calls for proposals or be awarded grants if they are in any of the situations listed in section 2.3.3 of the Practical Guide;

In Annex A.2, section 5 (‘declaration by the lead applicant’), the lead applicant must declare that the lead applicant himself, the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies) are not in any of these situations.

The lead applicant may act individually or with co-applicant(s).

If awarded the grant contract, the lead applicant will become the beneficiary identified as the Coordinator in Annex E3h1 (Special Conditions). The Coordinator is the main interlocutor of the Contracting Authority. It represents and acts on behalf of any other co-beneficiary (if any) and coordinates the design and implementation of the action.

Co-applicant(s)

 

Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.

Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant.
In addition to the categories referred to in section 2.1.1, the following are however also eligible:

Co-applicants must sign the mandate in Annex A.2., section 4.

If awarded the grant contract, the co-applicant(s) (if any) will become beneficiary(ies) in the action (together with the Coordinator).

 

2.1.2 Affiliated entities

Affiliated entity(ies)

The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies)

Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):

Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.

This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:

  1. (i)  Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:

    Entities affiliated to applicant may hence be:

    • -  Entities directly or indirectly controlled by an applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by an applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;

    • -  Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;

    • -  Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).

  2. (ii)  Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.

The structural link shall as a general rule be neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation. This means that the link would exist independently of the award of the grant; it should exist before the call for proposals and remain valid after the end of the action.

By way of exception, an entity may be considered as affiliated to an applicant even if it has a structural link specifically established for the sole purpose of the implementation of the action in the case of so- called “sole applicants” or “sole beneficiaries”. A sole applicant or a sole beneficiary is a legal entity formed by several entities (a group of entities) which together comply with the criteria for being awarded the grant. For example, an association is formed by its members.

 

What is not an affiliated entity?
The following are not considered entities affiliated to an applicant:

  • -  Entities that have entered into a (procurement) contract or subcontract with an applicant, act as concessionaires or delegates for public services for an applicant,

  • -  Entities that receive financial support from an applicant,

  • -  Entities that cooperate on a regular basis with an applicant on the basis of a memorandum of understanding or share some assets,

  • -  Entities that have signed a consortium agreement under the grant contract (unless this consortium agreement leads to the creation of a "sole applicant" as described above).

How to verify the existence of the required link with an applicant?

The affiliation resulting from control may in particular be proved on the basis of the consolidated accounts of the group of entities the applicant and its proposed affiliates belong to.

The affiliation resulting from membership may in particular be proved on the basis of the statutes or equivalent act establishing the entity (network, federation, association) which the applicant constitutes or in which the applicant participates.

If the applicants are awarded a grant contract, their affiliated entity(ies) will not become beneficiary(ies) of the action and signatory(ies) of the grant contract. However, they will participate in the design and in the implementation of the action and the costs they incur (including those incurred for implementation contracts and financial support to third parties) may be accepted as eligible costs, provided they comply with all the relevant rules already applicable to the beneficiary(ies) under the grant contract.

Affiliated entity(ies) must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as the lead applicant and the co-applicant(s). They must sign the affiliated entity(ies) statement in Annex A.2., section 5.

 

2.1.3 Associates and Contractors

The following entities are not applicants, nor affiliated entities and do not have to sign the "mandate for co-applicant(s)" or "affiliated entities' statement":

 Associates

Other organisations or individuals may be involved in the action. Such associates play a real role in the action but may not receive funding from the grant, with the exception of per diem or travel costs. Associates do not have to meet the eligibility criteria referred to in section 2.1.1. Associates must be mentioned in Annex A.2., section 4 — ‘Associates participating in the action’.

 Contractors

The beneficiaries and their affiliated entities are permitted to award contracts. Associates or affiliated entity(ies) cannot be also contractors in the project. Contractors are subject to the procurement rules set out in Annex IV to the standard grant contract.

 

2.1.4 Eligible actions: actions for which an application may be made

Definition
An action is composed of a set of activities.

 

Duration

The initial planned duration of an action may not exceed 24 months, between 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2019.

Sectors or themes

The themes may relate, through the prism of culture and/or intercultural dialogue, to any aspect of the European Union (e.g. history, values, policies, institutions, or processes) and/or of EU-US relations. Activities may include events of a cultural nature or that celebrate relevant dates of significance (e.g. Europe Day/Week celebrations on or around May 9th). If any activities touch upon specific EU Member States, it must be explicitly in the context of their membership of the EU and include at least 3 Member States.

Collaboration and/or partnership with other organisations or institutions strongly encouraged in order to achieve broad geographic reach across a region (defined as covering multiple states).

All activities must clearly relate to the objectives as articulated in section 1.2. Location

Actions must take place in the United States. Actions that cover a wider region of the United States, covering several US states, are strongly encouraged.

Types of action
The following types of action are eligible:

  •   actions carried out across the US by institutions/organisations that facilitate public participation in activities listed below which will increase the visibility of the EU in the US, the US public's knowledge and understanding of the EU, and foster public affinity for the EU-US relationship;

  •   actions carried out across the US by institutions/organisations which provide a visible public platform for prominent US supporters of the EU, officials from EU institutions, and representatives from EU Member States.

The following types of action are ineligible:

  •   actions concerned only or mainly with individual sponsorships for participation in workshops, seminars, conferences and congresses;

  •   actions concerned only or mainly with individual scholarships for studies or training courses;

  •   actions concerned only or mainly with an individual Member State outside the context of the

    European Union;

  •   actions which are academic in nature, target academic audiences, or single one-off initiatives.

Types of activity
Types of activity which may be financed under this call:

  •   Intercultural dialogue programmes of a non-academic (in both content and audience) nature, including inter alia conferences, seminars, workshops, webinars, or talks that may feature expert researchers, policymakers, business representatives and EU/EU Member State representatives (minimum of 3 EU Member States);

  •   competitions (e.g. essays, quizzes, paintings, EU simulations), presentations, or exhibitions;

  •   training programmes and briefing sessions for local and regional representatives or multiplier groups who wish to become public advocates for the EU, or creation and mobilisation of similar such networks;

  •   cultural programs such as festivals, film screenings, concerts, exhibitions, performances, literary programs, mixed media, performance art, culinary demonstrations/fairs, or other interdisciplinary forms of cultural practices itinerating across different locations in the country;

  •   public campaigns that may inter alia provide highly visible opportunities for US communities to publicly and actively demonstrate their support for the EU and the EU-US relationship and/or disseminate information about the EU and EU-US relations through radio/TV programs, videos, websites, digital media, publications, information booklets and brochures.

Beneficiaries will be expected to measure the impact of their activities using tools and questionnaires provided by the Contracting Authority, including an audience engagement scorecard and in addition to narrative and financial reports under the PRAG.

Financial support to third parties6
Applicants may propose financial support to third parties.

Applicants may propose financial support to third parties in order to help achieving the objectives of the action.

The maximum amount of financial support per third party is EUR 60,000.
Under this call, financial support to third parties may not be the main purpose of the action.

In compliance with the present guidelines and notably of any conditions or restrictions in this section, the lead applicant should define mandatorily in section Annex A.2, section 2.1.1:

  • (i)  the objectives and results to be obtained with the financial support

  • (ii)  the different types of activities eligible for financial support, on the basis of a fixed list

  • (iii)  the types of persons or categories of persons which may receive financial support

  • (iv)  the criteria for selecting these entities and giving the financial support

  • (v)  the criteria for determining the exact amount of financial support for each third entity, and

  • (vi)  the maximum amount which may be given.

 

 

In all events, the mandatory conditions set above for giving financial support (points (i) to (vi)) have to be strictly defined in the grant contract as to avoid any exercise of discretion.

Visibility

The applicants must take all necessary steps to publicise the fact that the EU has financed or co-financed the action. As far as possible, actions that are wholly or partially funded by the EU must incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.

 

Applicants must comply with the objectives and priorities and guarantee the visibility of the EU financing (see the Communication and Visibility Manual for EU external actions specified and published by the European Commission at https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/communication-and-visibility-manual-eu- external-actions_en).

Number of applications and grants per applicants / affiliated entities

The call for proposals will result in four or five grant contracts

The lead applicant may not submit more than 1 application under this call for proposals.

The lead applicant may not be awarded more than 1 grant under this call for proposals.

The lead applicant may not be a co-applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.

A co-applicant/affiliated entity may submit more than 1 application(s) under this call for proposals. A co-applicant/affiliated entity may be awarded more than 1 grant under this call for proposals.

A co-applicant/affiliated entity may not be the lead applicant or an affiliated entity in another application at the same time.

 

2.1.5 Eligibility of costs: costs that can be included

Only ‘eligible costs’ can be covered by a grant. The categories of costs that are eligible and non-eligible are indicated below. The budget is both a cost estimate and an overall ceiling for ‘eligible costs’.

The reimbursement of eligible costs may be based on any or a combination of the following forms:

  •   actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies)

  •   one or more simplified cost options.

    Simplified cost options may take the form of:

  •   unit costs: covering all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by reference to an amount per unit.

  •   lump sums: covering in global terms all or certain specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance.

  •   flat-rate financing: covering specific categories of eligible costs which are clearly identified in advance by applying a percentage fixed ex ante.

The amounts or rates have to be based on estimates using objective data such as statistical data or any other objective means or with reference to certified or auditable historical data of the applicants or the affiliated entity(ies). The methods used to determine the amounts or rates of unit costs, lump sums or flat- rates must comply with the criteria established in Annex K, and especially ensure that the costs correspond fairly to the actual costs incurred by the beneficiary(ies) and affiliated entity(ies), are in line with their accounting practices, no profit is made and the costs are not already covered by other sources of funding (no double funding). Refer to Annex K for directions and a checklist of controls to assess the minimum necessary conditions that provide reasonable assurance for the acceptance of the proposed amounts.

 

Applicants proposing this form of reimbursement, must clearly indicate in worksheet no.1 of Annex B, each heading/item of eligible costs concerned by this type of financing, i.e. add the reference in capital letters to "UNIT COST" (per month/flight etc), "LUMPSUM" or "FLAT RATE" in the Unit column. (see example in Annex K)

Additionally in Annex B, in the second column of worksheet no.2, "Justification of the estimated costs" per each of the corresponding budget item or heading applicants must:

  •   describe the information and methods used to establish the amounts of unit costs, lump sums and/or flat-rates, to which costs they refer, etc.

  •   clearly explain the formulas for calculation of the final eligible amount7

  •   identify the beneficiary who will use the simplified cost option (in case of affiliated entity, specify first the beneficiary), in order to verify the maximum amount per each beneficiary (which includes if applicable simplified cost options of its affiliated entity(ies))

At contracting phase, the Contracting Authority decides whether to accept the proposed amounts or rates on the basis of the provisional budget submitted by the applicants, by analysing factual data of grants carried out by the applicants or of similar actions and by performing checks established by Annex K.

The total amount of financing on the basis of simplified cost options that can be authorised by the Contracting Authority for any of the applicants individually (including simplified cost options proposed by their own affiliated entities) cannot exceed EUR 60,000 (the indirect costs are not taken into account).

Recommendations to award a grant are always subject to the condition that the checks preceding the signing of the grant contract do not reveal problems requiring changes to the budget (such as arithmetical errors, inaccuracies, unrealistic costs and ineligible costs). The checks may give rise to requests for clarification and may lead the Contracting Authority to impose modifications or reductions to address such mistakes or inaccuracies. It is not possible to increase the grant or the percentage of EU co-financing as a result of these corrections.

It is therefore in the applicants' interest to provide a realistic and cost-effective budget.

The simplified cost option may also take the form of an apportionment of Field Office's costs.

Field Office means a local infrastructure set up in one of the countries where the action is implemented or a nearby country. (Where the action is implemented in several third countries there can be more than one Field Office). That may consist of costs for local office as well as human resources.

A Field Office may be exclusively dedicated to the action financed (or co-financed) by the EU or may be used for other projects implemented in the partner country. When the Field Office is used for other projects, only the portion of capitalised and operating costs which corresponds to the duration of the action and the rate of actual use of the field office for the purpose of the action may be declared as eligible direct costs.

The portion of costs attributable to the action can be declared as actual costs or determined by the beneficiary(ies) on the basis of a simplified allocation method (apportionment).

 

The method of allocation has to be:

1. Compliant with the beneficiary's usual accounting and management practices and applied in a consistent manner regardless of the source of funding and

2. Based on an objective, fair and reliable allocation keys. (Please refer to Annex K to have examples of acceptable allocation keys).

A description prepared by the entity of the allocation method used to determine Field Office's costs in accordance with the entity's usual cost accounting and management practices and explaining how the method satisfy condition 1 and 2 indicated above, has to be presented in a separate sheet and annexed to the Budget.

The method will be assessed and accepted by the evaluation committee and the Contracting Authority at contracting phase. The applicant is invited to submit (where relevant) the list of contracts to which the methodology proposed had been already applied and for which proper application was confirmed by an expenditure verification.

At the time of carrying out the expenditure verifications, the auditors will check if the costs reported are compliant with the method described by the beneficiary(ies) and accepted by the Contracting Authority.

Adequate record and documentation must be kept by the beneficiary(ies) to prove the compliance of the simplified allocation method used with the conditions set out above. Upon request of the beneficiary(ies), this compliance can be assessed and approved ex-ante by an independent external auditor. In such a case, the simplified allocation method will be automatically accepted by the evaluation committee and it will not be challenged ex post.

When costs are declared on the basis of such allocation method the amount charged to the action is to be indicated in the column "TOTAL COSTS" and the mention "APPORTIONMENT" is to be indicated in the column "units" (under budget heading 1 (Human resources) and 4 (Local Office) of the Budget).

Eligible direct costs

To be eligible under this call for proposals, costs must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the General Conditions to the standard grant contract (see Annex G of the guidelines).

Contingency reserve
The budget may include a contingency reserve not exceeding 5 % of the estimated direct eligible costs. It

can only be used with the prior written authorisation of the Contracting Authority.

Eligible indirect costs

The indirect costs incurred in carrying out the action may be eligible for flat-rate funding, but the total must not exceed 7% of the estimated total eligible direct costs. Indirect costs are eligible provided that they do not include costs assigned to another budget heading in the standard grant contract. The lead applicant may be asked to justify the percentage requested before the grant contract is signed. However, once the flat rate has been fixed in the Special Conditions of the grant contract, no supporting documents need to be provided.

If any of the applicants or affiliated entity(ies) is in receipt of an operating grant financed by the EU, it may not claim indirect costs on its incurred costs within the proposed budget for the action.

Contributions in kind

Contributions in kind mean the provision of goods or services to a Beneficiary(ies) or affiliated entity(ies) free of charge by a third party. As contributions in kind do not involve any expenditure for a Beneficiary(ies) or affiliated entity(ies), they are not eligible costs.

 

 

Contributions in kind may not be treated as co-financing.

However, if the description of the action as proposed includes contributions in kind, the contributions have to be made.

Ineligible costs
The following costs are not eligible:

  •   debts and debt service charges (interest);

  •   provisions for losses or potential future liabilities;

  •   costs declared by the beneficiary(ies) and financed by another action or work programme receiving a European Union (including through EDF) grant;

  •   purchases of land or buildings, except where necessary for the direct implementation of the action, in which case ownership must be transferred, in accordance with Article 7.5 of the General Conditions of the standard grant contract, at the latest at the end of the action;

  •   currency exchange losses;

  •   credit to third parties.

  •   salary costs of the personnel of national administrations.

2.2 HOW TO APPLY AND THE PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW

To apply for this call for proposals, lead applicants need to:

- Provide information about the organisations involved in the action. Please note that the registration of this data in PADOR is obligatory8 for all lead applicants, co-applicant(s) and affiliated entitiy(ies).

PADOR is an on-line database in which organisations register and update information concerning their entity. Organisations registered in PADOR get a unique ID (EuropeAid ID), which they must mention in their application. PADOR is accessible via the website: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/pador_en.

- Provide information about the action in the documents listed under section 2.2.2. Online submission via PROSPECT is obligatory for this call.

It is strongly recommended to register in PADOR well in advance and not to wait until the last minute before the deadline to submit your application in PROSPECT.

If it is impossible for the organisation to register online in PADOR for technical reasons, applicants and/or affiliated entity(ies) must complete the ‘PADOR off-line form9 attached to these guidelines. This form must be sent together with the application, by the submission deadline (see section 2.2.2.).

Before starting using PADOR and PROSPECT, please read the user guides available on the website. All technical questions related to the use of these systems should be addressed to the IT helpdesk at EuropeAid-IT-support@ec.europa.eu via the online support form in PROSPECT.

 

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