1. INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND
The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, hereafter referred to as "EASME", acting under the powers delegated by the European Commission (also referred to as "the Commission'' or ''EC"), is launching a call for proposals with a view to supporting projects to enhance interoperability of national IT systems to allow for a more efficient information exchange within and across borders between maritime surveillance authorities in the EU.
1.1. Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
This call is launched in accordance with the 2016 and 2017 Work Programmes for the Implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 1) WP 2016 - section 220.127.116.11. of the annex1 (Implementation of the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE): Ensuring interoperability of National IT Systems within and across borders) and 2) WP 2017 – section 18.104.22.168 of the annex2 (Implementing Maritime CISE: Upgrading MS maritime authorities' ICT systems to enhance information sharing for maritime surveillance in the frame of the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) - test CISE interoperability solutions) on the basis of the objectives set out in the Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and in particular Article 82(b)3.
1.2. General information concerning the call for proposals
The action that is covered by this call for proposals forms part of the EMFF Work Programmes 2016 and 2017, whose implementation is delegated to the Executive Agency for Small and medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).
According to the Act of Delegation, grant agreements will be signed by EASME.
Europe has 70 000 km of coastline along two oceans and four seas. The European Union’s (EU) maritime regions account for some 40% of its GDP and population. Europe's well-being, economic growth and security are therefore inextricably linked with the maritime domain. Member States carry out a wide variety of security and control related activities in the maritime domain, such as border control, maritime safety and security operations, fisheries, customs and maritime pollution control, general law enforcement activities and military activities. To be able to carry out such activities, the relevant authorities need a wide variety of information such as ship positions and routes, cargo and crew data, intelligence, imaging, events at sea, positions and capacities of surveillance assets, registries, charts and maps and meteo-oceanographic data.
As no authority owns the full picture of what is happening at sea, collaboration is needed between these authorities at national level as well as EU level to make sure that information collected by one authority and useful for another authority can effectively be shared, hence contributing to the cost-effectiveness of maritime surveillance operations at sea.
1.4. Information exchange between maritime surveillance authorities
There are many different initiatives and systems in place or under development for information sharing at national and EU level. Many of these are focusing on sectorial information exchange between relevant authorities, for example FLUX within the field of fisheries, but there are also systems in place that envisage cross-sectorial information exchange.
At EU level, a number of information exchange systems have been introduced through Union legislation, which are now being managed by EU Regulatory Agencies. These systems are generally intended to support the control activities of national authorities carrying out coastguard functions by providing them with intelligence and integrated services. EU Agencies are also required by Union law to co-operate to carry out these tasks in order to provide the best possible services and to avoid duplication. The most recent example is the joint mandate of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the European Boarder and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) to provide integrated services under the European border and Coastguard package.4
At national level, many authorities have improved their own systems or developed solutions to gather additional information in order to enhance the knowledge of their maritime areas of responsibility. The purpose or intent of such developments is in most cases to combine data available in their systems either with the integrated services provided by EU Agencies or with information received from other national authorities.
Initiatives to develop information exchange between maritime surveillance authorities at EU and national level have therefore already been ongoing for some time, but the range of information shared across sectors and borders is still limited mainly due to the lack of technical interoperability and the legal barriers (particularly at national level).
1.5. About CISE
Maritime CISE, the Common Information Sharing Environment for the EU maritime domain, is a voluntary collaborative process in the European Union seeking to further enhance and promote relevant information sharing between authorities involved in maritime surveillance5. It is not replacing or duplicating but building on existing information exchange and sharing systems and platforms referred to in section 1.4. Its ultimate aim is to promote innovation and development of solutions ensuring the interoperability of existing systems and platforms. It seeks therefore to prevent as much as possible situations when relevant information either does not reach the operators who need it, or reaches them with an inappropriate delay in time and requires (manual) effort to gather it from partners.
The CISE process started in 2008 and has since then been supported by numerous studies and projects, such as BlueMassMed, MARSUNO and the CoopP. These projects identified and promoted operational and technical needs for CISE, estimated its potential economic benefits, proposed technical interoperability solutions and types of information to be exchanged between partners. They also elaborated a set of operational scenarios ('use cases') showing the direct link between operational situations and information exchange needs.
The Commission and the Member States have reviewed the progress in the development of CISE through four Commission Communications6 with accompanying Council Conclusions. In 2013-2014, the Commission conducted an impact assessment followed by a Communication7 assessing the overall progress and identified areas for further work. Since 2014, CISE forms part of the European Maritime Security Strategy Action Plan (EUMSS-AP)8. Both the 2014 Communication and the EUMSS Action Plan (action 2.1.4) encourage the development of interoperability solutions for information exchange at national level.
Moreover, the motivation for enhanced information exchange, promoted by CISE, is also supported by important political declarations such as the G7 summits held in Germany- 2015 and Japan-2016 and by the related G7 Foreign Ministers' statements on maritime security.9 The latter explicitly welcomed the EUMSS and CISE.
The technical interoperability solutions (i.e. CISE data and service model) are currently being tested by the EUCISE2020 FP7 project10, involving 16 EEA States and including
over 30 civil and military authorities. One of the objectives of this project is to examine and further develop CISE concepts in general (see Appendix 1 for more details on these CISE concepts) by using real surveillance systems and data from the national authorities. The project will deliver its final results in 2018. It is expected that the EUCISE2020 network will be maintained after the project ends to further support the implementation process.
The present call contributes to the implementation of the action 2.1.4 of the EUMSS Action plan by awarding grants for actions to be developed by authorities responsible for maritime surveillance at national level. It follows up and builds on two calls for proposals funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which resulted in ten national CISE projects that are currently ongoing11.
2. GENERAL OBJECTIVES – THEMES – ACTIVITIES – OUTPUTS
2.1. General Objective
The general objective of the present call is to facilitate the implementation of EUMSS- AP action 2.1.4 by providing support to EU/EEA Member States' maritime authorities in enhancing the interoperability of their national IT systems to allow for more efficient information exchange at national level and across borders.
Such enhancements will significantly contribute to improving the awareness picture of their areas of operational responsibility, to the enhancement of co-operation between coastguard authorities, and ultimately to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of individual and joint maritime operations.
2.2. Specific objectives
The specific objective of the present call is to support EU/EEA Member States' maritime authorities in developing dedicated CISE operational services 12(i.e. CISE information services and functionalities) enabling the suitable exchange, integration and exploitation of relevant information for their best operational use. CISE operational services should to the extent possible build upon the available (technical) CISE interoperability solutions13 in order to contribute to enhancing operational interoperability between users.
CISE information services should, amongst others:
Facilitate an automated exchange of information between maritime authorities across sectors and borders in the EU/EEA;
Enable complementing the information already existing in the maritime authority’s system;
Facilitate the reuse, in a complementing manner, of the information services provided by the EU Agencies (EMSA, EFCA and FRONTEX);
CISE-enabled functionalities should facilitate the management and exploitation of information gathered through the CISE information services in the maritime surveillance IT systems. They could use analytical tools (e.g. algorithms for drift calculation, anomaly detection, etc.) to support complex operational tasks.
The participating national and EU authorities will design, implement and test the CISE operational services accordingly to their current and future operational needs.
Examples of CISE operational services can be found in Appendix 2 of this call for proposals.
2.3. Themes – sectors
The activities under this call must involve public authorities carrying out maritime surveillance and intervention missions at sea in the following sectors: maritime transport, customs, border control, general law enforcement, fisheries control, marine environment protection, pollution response and defence.
2.4. Activities and requirements:
Proposals under this call should cover at least one the following types of activities:
1. Development of specific CISE information services14 using the CISE interoperability solutions (CISE Data and Service models). These services should enable the exchange of relevant information, across sectors and borders, between participating authorities (see examples in the Appendix 2).
Applicants may use as reference the following services, prioritised by national authorities in a recent survey carried out by a consultant on behalf of the Commission:15
Incident/event notification (alert) service
Vessel location service
Vessel voyage service
Vessel details service
Risk information service
Incident history service
Crew list service
A description of these services used in the survey can be found in Appendix 3 to this call for proposals.
In addition, a wide range of such CISE information services were illustrated in the 'use cases' defined by the Member States during the Cooperation Project Maritime Surveillance, (CoopP) (see Appendix 5, document D4).
2. Development of CISE-enabled operational functionalities – implemented in the authorities’ maritime surveillance systems. These functionalities should support the collection and exploitation (e.g. fusion, distributed search) of relevant information gathered through exchanges with different authorities using the CISE information services. They should be tailored to the needs of distinct operational scenarios (e.g. SAR operation, countering illegal immigration operation, anti-pollution operation, etc.). They should also enable the development of common operational procedures, to be used in joint operations.
Applicants may use as a reference the example described in Appendix 2 as well as the following functionalities, identified in the survey included in Appendix 3:
Management of notifications for incidents/events
Incident history service
Dynamic information search and fusion using the Registry of Authorities
With regard to the activities 1 and 2, projects could undertake designing, implementing and validation tasks. Projects may include the enhancement of existing software used for maritime surveillance in order to enhance capabilities to manage the exchange of data with partner authorities within the CISE context.
3. Adaptation of the national IT systems for maritime surveillance to become interoperable with systems of other surveillance authorities within the CISE context.
a) Perform the necessary analyses (studies) identifying relevant information that need to be, for operational purposes, automatically exchanged with other authorities across sectors and borders (i.e. information received/provided today through means of phone, email, fax, etc.) using, if possible, the CISE Data model and/or
b) Upgrade the existing software to support an initial automatic exchange of information with other authorities, across sectors and borders, through dedicated information services. Partners involved in the design/development of the required software should, if possible, use the CISE Data model.
Proposals under this activity that do not build on the EU CISE data model, but still provide solutions which respect the general principles described below (except the one on ‘Building on CISE interoperability solutions’), will be taken into consideration if a logic explanation is given why the CISE interoperability solutions do not fit for their purposes.
Independently from the activities performed, projects might also address the development of (legal) agreements between parties such as Service Level Agreements (SLA), which will determine the terms and conditions of exchange covered by specific CISE information services. Such agreements might address among others the following aspects:
description of the information exchanged;
description of the purposes justifying the exchanges;
access rights to the information for each authority;
description of the way the information service(s) could be employed;
availability of the service(s);
description of technical (IT) cooperation between partners;
technical and operational problem/conflict resolution mechanisms;
legal responsibility of the information providers.
While developing the CISE information services and operational functionalities under the proposed projects, the following general principles should be taken into account:
Enhance operational efficiency & effectiveness
The operational services must have the potential to substantially increase the efficiency and effectiveness of individual and/or joint operations by the partners involved, by facilitating the decision-making processes within each authority and increasing their cooperation.
The information services should facilitate the automatic exchange of information across sectors and borders between legacy systems of authorities involved in maritime surveillance in order to better serve their operational needs. CISE-enabled functionalities should enable existing IT systems used for maritime surveillance to manage and exploit data from partner authorities within the CISE context.
The operational services developed in the projects should demonstrate their relevance for the present and future CISE users. Applicants should identify their needs for information and develop the information exchanges (services) and/or functionalities tailored to their operational procedures/needs, enabling a suitable interoperability in current and envisaged operational scenarios.
Reusability and sustainability
The solutions funded under this call should be sufficiently mature to facilitate their reusability in operational environments by other maritime surveillance authorities. Applicants should also integrate in their proposals how sustainability of the operational services will be ensured at the end of the project.
Especially under activity 1, the information services developed should be sufficiently mature to be available for reuse by other maritime surveillance authorities. For this purpose, services could be registered in the CISE Service Registry.
Cross-sectorial and cross-border scope
The operational services shall enable the exchange of information between authorities from the same Member State and/or from other Member States with adjacent sea borders, bordering the same sea basin, across sea basins and/or across the EEA/EU maritime domain.
Complementarity with other CISE projects (e.g. EUCISE2020)
Activities and solutions covered by this call need to be distinct but complementary to the services and solutions currently developed and tested in the EUCISE 2020 project and in the projects funded under the previous EMFF calls for proposals. (Participants will be requested to demonstrate that no double funding will occur and they will be strictly controlled on this aspect. Beneficiaries may only receive funds under this new call for the development/test of the information services and/or CISE-enabled functionalities for which they have not received any funding from other EU projects at present or in the past (see Appendix 4 for reference). )
Building on CISE interoperability solutions
Projects should, if possible, build on the CISE data and service model and are encouraged to reuse, to the largest possible extent, the specifications for interoperability developed in the EUCISE2020 test-bed (e.g., the specifications of the EUCISE2020 gateway/node).
Appendix 4 provides useful information to understand CISE in general and the content of the EUCISE2020 specifications. In addition, Appendix 5 describes the documentation available from the CISE projects (including EUCISE2020) as well as the information from the EUCISE2020 test-bed that will become available upon request, and provided the signature of the non-disclosure agreement in Appendix 717. Applicants must be aware that this documentation might be updated.
Projects should produce concrete and measurable deliverables such as: For activities 1 and 2 (see section 2.4):
Information exchanged under each specific operational service (information service or functionality). (as referred to in Appendix 6)
Agreements on modalities for information exchange (including provider/receiver role, access rights policy, etc.) between the participating authorities.
The operational process supported by each CISE operational service (information service or functionality).
Technical specifications of the CISE operational services (information service or functionality).
Proposed IT architecture.
Other interoperability solutions: useful standards, organizational solutions, etc.
For activity 3 (see section 2.4):
The authorities’ information exchange needs (as referred to in Appendix 6)
The information managed in the authorities’ IT systems that could be exchanged through CISE and the conditions/constraints that apply. (as referred to in
The requirements and technical specifications to upgrade their systems (reusing
CISE interoperability solutions).
Software upgrade(s) of the authorities’ IT systems, enabling the automatic
exchange of information.
2.5. Collaboration with other organizations & networking
If a consortium plans to reuse the information provided by an EU-level system (e.g. information services provided for cross-sector purposes), the partners are encouraged to collaborate as much as possible with the organisation managing this system (e.g. EMSA, EFCA, FRONTEX).
During the lifetime of the projects financed under this call for proposals, the Commission might organise specific networking meetings with the beneficiaries to facilitate exchange of experience and good practices, to foster mutual learning and to enhance the European dimension of CISE. Beneficiaries will be expected to participate in these meetings, which could be held in Brussels or other EU locations.
2.6. Time span and main outputs
Since the implementation of the projects will take place during the CISE roll-out phase,
proposals should take into account the following indicative timing:
In 2019, projects reusing the CISE gateway developed in the EUCISE2020 project should deploy their information in a test environment to ensure compatibility with the proposed CISE technical specifications;
By the end of 2020, projects using the CISE data and services model should also offer their services in a real CISE environment.
A list of relevant indicators (qualitative/ quantitative) to measure the expected outputs and impacts of the project must be included in the proposal.
The planning foresees:
a) Publication of the call
b) Deadline for submitting applications
15th June 2017 (in case of hand delivery by 16h00 GMT+1)
c) Evaluation period
June-August 2017 (indicative)
d) Information to applicants18
September – October 2017(indicative)
e) Preparation and signature of grant agreements19
October - December 2017 (indicative)
f) Starting date of the action
January 2018 (indicative)
Projects should not exceed the duration of 24 months.
The project duration shall start on the first day of the month following the date when the last of both parties signs the related grant agreement or at a fixed starting date specified in the grant agreement.
4. BUDGET AVAILABLE
The total budget earmarked for this action is EUR 2,490,000.
This budget might be increased under exceptional circumstances by maximum 20%.
It is estimated that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of maximum EUR 800,000 would allow the objectives of this call for proposals to be addressed appropriately. The amount requested should be consistent and proportional with the scope of the proposal (number of applicants, number of Member States involved, sectors represented, activities proposed, etc.). Nonetheless, this does not prevent submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
EASME expects to fund up to 6 proposals.
EASME reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.
5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3.
Applications must be submitted in writing (see section 15), using the application form provided in annex to this call of Proposals20.
Applications must be drafted using one of the EU official languages. Submission in English is strongly encouraged and will facilitate the evaluation process. Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to the rejection of the application.
6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
6.1 Eligible applicants
1.The following types of entities are eligible to participate in the call:
2.Applicants must be legal entities. They can be public or private bodies. In the event of private bodies, they must be properly constituted and registered under national law. In the event of international organisations, they must be constituted under international law.
To be considered as a public entity, the applicants and affiliated entities shall fulfil all of the following criteria:
The entity has been created by a public authority or is governed by private law with a public service mission,
The public interest of the entity must be explicitly mentioned in the relevant legal or administrative act(s),
In the event that the entity stops its activities, all rights and obligations including financial rights and obligations will be transferred to a public authority.
For 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.
3. Natural persons are not eligible as applicant for the purpose of the present call.
4. Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither
5. Supporting documents: in order to assess the applicants' eligibility, the following supporting documents are requested for the coordinator and each of the partners:
Public entity: copy of the resolution/law/decree/decision establishing the entity OR if not available, any other official document proving the establishment of the entity by the national authorities;
Private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, VAT registration document;
Affiliated entities: shall demonstrate their legal/capital link with the applicant.
6.2. Eligibility conditions for consortia
1. Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of minimum three organisations, compliant with the provisions set out in section 6.1. One of these organisations must act as the consortium coordinator, while the others will act as partner(s).
2. The consortium coordinator must be a public authority involved in the coordination and/or execution of maritime surveillance activities established in an EU Member State.
3. All partners of the consortium, including affiliated entities, will provide the coordinator with a power of attorney in writing through a mandate signed for that purpose.23 The mandate shall fully empower the coordinator to act on the partners' behalf in the context of the grant agreement.
4. Within this call for proposals, applicants can participate in maximum two different project proposals, regardless whether they apply as coordinator or as partner of a consortium.
It is possible for other relevant parties to participate with an observer status, e.g. public authorities or public entities from non EU Member States/EEA, relevant EU Agencies, or other regional or international organisations active in the maritime surveillance area.
Observers will not receive any Union financial support and will not join or sign any statement. Moreover, these entities will not be taken into consideration for determining compliance with the eligibility conditions for consortia set out above.
6.4. Eligible activities
To be eligible, activities must allow to meet the objectives of the call as described in
sections 2.1 and 2.2 and in particular activities defined in section 2.4. The following activities are not eligible:
studies and ICT developments aimed at fulfilling the requirements of any EU legislation for the maritime domain24;
activities already covered by projects funded under the calls for proposals MARE/2014/26 and EASME/EMFF/2015/22.214.171.124 for "Interoperability improvements in Member States to enhance information sharing for maritime surveillance"25;
activities already covered by the FP7 'EUCISE 2020' project.
Applicants who have already received funds under the previous calls for proposals MARE/2014/26 and EASME/EMFF/2015/126.96.36.199 and/or are participating in the EUCISE2020 project must demonstrate the complementarity of the activities applied for under this call for proposals with the actions already funded.
7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA
All applicants, including both the consortium coordinator and other partners, must provide a declaration of honour (see template in the annexed application form), signed and dated by an authorised representative, stating that they are not in one of the situations of exclusion listed in that declaration of honour.
EASME reserves the right to verify whether the successful applicants are in any of the situations of exclusion by requiring the supporting documents listed in the declaration of honour.
8. SELECTION CRITERIA
8.1. 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.
For public entities and international organisations:
On the basis of article 131(3) FR and given the eligibility criteria set for applicants under section 6 of this call for proposals, such applicants are considered to have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the period during which the action is being carried out and to participate in its funding.
This type of applicants has to submit a declaration of honour that they have the financial capacity to carry out the project, but no additional supporting documents are requested.
For bodies that are governed by private law:
The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application:
A) Total grant value28 is ≤ EUR 60 000: • a declaration of honour
B) Total grant value is > EUR 60 000:
a declaration of honour, AND
the following additional supporting documents:
the profit and loss accounts and the balance sheets for the past 2 years for which
the accounts were closed;
the financial capacity table provided for in the application form, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures, in order to calculate the ratios as detailed in the form.
For newly created entities, the business plan might replace the above documents.
C) Total grant value is ≥ EUR 750 000:
In addition to the supporting documents required under B) above, applicants shall provide an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available.
If on the basis of the documents submitted, the financial capacity is not considered satisfactory, the EASME may:
request further information;
propose a grant agreement with a pre-financing covered by a bank guarantee (see
section 11.4 below);
where applicable, require the joint and several financial liability of all the co- beneficiaries;
or reject the application.
8.2. Operational capacity2930
Applicants must have the professional competencies as well as appropriate qualifications necessary to complete the proposed project.
Applicants, both public and private entities, must be active in the following fields:
Public authorities acting as coordinators: must be responsible for maritime surveillance activities, within any sector, at national/regional/European level.
Other entities: must prove their experience in the maritime domain or in the development of IT systems.
In this respect, applicants have to submit a declaration of honour that they have the operational capacity to carry out the project, and in addition the following supporting documents:
A description of the technical equipment, tools or facilities and patents at the disposal of the applicant for the implementation of the project;
For each applicant, a list of up to 3 activities (i.e. projects, publications, products, services and/or other achievements) relevant to the call content.
The EASME may request further supporting documents to confirm the operational capacity of any applicant.
9. AWARD CRITERIA
The application will be assessed on the basis of the award criteria described in this section. The EASME may call upon external experts in support of the assessment of the proposals.
The assessment of the proposals will be based on the quality of the proposed projects. Proposals should therefore elaborate on all the topics addressed by these criteria in order to score as many points as possible. The mere repetition of the mandatory requirements set out in these criteria without providing details or without underlining the added value will be given a low score. In addition, if certain requirements are not expressly covered by the proposal, the relevant qualitative award criterion may be given a zero mark.
A maximum of 100 points will be awarded to each proposal. The minimum overall score required is 60 points. The minimum score for criteria 9.1, 9.3 and 9.4 is 50% of the points assigned to each criterion.
The award criteria for the evaluation of the proposals are the following:
9.1. Relevance and Consistency (minimum required 10 points - maximum 20
Objectives and Scope (maximum 10 points)
Applicants should provide a clear description of how the proposed action meets the objectives described in Section 2. The projects should also comprise a description of the starting point of the work, the limitations to overcome, and state the target. Applicants should describe the overall strategy for the project and how it will contribute to the development of CISE.
In order to avoid any duplication or incoherence, proposals shall provide evidence of complementarity of the activities and information handled within the project with the information provided by EU systems. For instance, proposals could consider the information provided by:
- The EU Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System32, the National Single Windows for ship's reporting formalities33, the IMDatE interface34;
- The European external border surveillance system (EUROSUR)35;
- The Common Emergency Communication and Information System (CECIS)36;
- The Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA)37;
- The FLUX Transport Layer38 and UN/CEFACT FLUX standard messages for fisheries data exchange39;
- The MARSUR network40;
When the project consortium designs a CISE operational service including data normally exchanged by an EU level system/Agency, it may, if possible, ask the authority
39 http://www1.unece.org/cefact/platform/display/CNP/Electronic+Interchange+of+fisheries+catch+data 40 https://www.eda.europa.eu/what-we-do/activities/activities-search/maritime-surveillance-(marsur)
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