Hercule III Programme logo

Periodical Publications - HERCULE-LT-2018-03
Deadline: 14 Jun 2018   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono Hercule III Programme

 Corporate Finance
 Financial Management
 Financial analysis
 Business Writing
 Financial Writing
 Article Writing
 Journalism

Scope:

Financial support to periodical, specialised publications.

 

1. Background

This is an EU call for proposals in the policy area of "fight against fraud" under the Hercule III Programme.

On 26 February 2014, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted Regulation (EU) No 250/20141 establishing a programme to promote activities against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the Union (Hercule III Programme, hereinafter referred to as "the Programme").

The Programme entered into force on 21 March 2014 and is implemented by the European Anti-Fraud Office of the European Commission (OLAF).

The Hercule Annual Work Programme 20182 (AWP 2018) provides that the Commission launches a specific call for proposals for the following projects aimed at preventing and combatting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the Union:

  1. developing high-profile research activities, including studies in comparative law;

  2. improving cooperation between practitioners and academics;

  3. raising awareness among the judiciary and other branches of the legal profession

    as regards to the protection of the Union's financial interests.

This call for proposals is entitled: "Legal Training and Studies 2018".

 

2. Objectives — Themes & priorities — Projects that can be funded — Expected results

Objectives

The general objective3 of the Programme “shall be to protect the financial interests of the Union thus enhancing the competitiveness of the Union’s economy and ensuring the protection of the taxpayers’ money”. The specific objective4 shall be to prevent and combat fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the Union.

The operational objectives5 of the Programme are listed below:

  1. a)  to improve the prevention and investigation of fraud and other illegal activities beyond current levels by enhancing transnational and multi-disciplinary cooperation;

  2. b)  to increase the protection of the financial interests of the Union against fraud, facilitating the exchange of information, experience and best practices, including staff exchanges;

  3. c)  to strengthen the fight against fraud and other illegal activities providing technical and operational support to national investigation and in particular, customs and law enforcement, authorities;

  4. d)  to limit the currently known exposure of the financial interests of the Union to fraud, corruption and other illegal activities with a view to reducing the development of an illegal economy in key risk areas such as organised fraud, including cigarette smuggling and counterfeiting;

  5. e) to enhance the degree of development of the specific legal and judicial protection of the financial interests of the Union against fraud by promoting comparative law analysis.

This call for proposals concerns mainly the operational objectives (a), (b) and (e).

Themes & priorities

The projects must aim at the protection of the financial interests of the Union by preventing and combatting fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the Union.

This call for proposals encourages projects having a strong European transnational aspect.

The priority themes for the 2018 call for proposals are as follows:

  1. a) Cooperation between EU bodies involved in the protection of the Union's financial interests (OLAF, EPPO, Eurojust, Europol);
  2. b) Measures to support the new antifraud landscape (with a view to the establishment of the EPPO at EU and national level);
  3. c) OLAF investigations, with special reference to the exercise and enforcement of its powers as well as its cooperation with national partners;
  4. d) The fight against VAT fraud;
  5. e) The protection of whistle-blowers and the role of investigative journalism in the area of the protection of the Union's financial interests;
  6. f) Requirements to obtain, secure and use digital forensic evidence in administrative and criminal investigations;
  7. g) Articulation between different types of actions (e.g. prevention, investigations, recoveries) relevant to the protection of the financial interests of the EU;
  8. h) Different types of investigations and sanctions (criminal, administrative, other) and the relationship between them, including the "ne bis in idem" principle;
  9. i) Transparency issues in the area of the protection of the Union's financial interests (e.g. access to beneficial owners).

Projects that can be funded

Under this call for proposals national and regional administrations, as well as research and educational institutes, and other non-profit making entities are invited to submit applications for projects under the following three topics6:

1. Developing high-profile research activities, including studies in comparative law (including dissemination of results and a concluding conference, where applicable);

2. Improving cooperation between practitioners and academics, including the organisation of the annual meeting of the presidents of the Associations for European Criminal Law and for the Protection of EU Financial Interests;

3. Raising awareness among the judiciary and other branches of the legal profession in relation to the protection of the Union's financial interests through the development of (periodical) scientific publications and the dissemination of scientific knowledge.

24.04.2018 Applicants are required to choose one main topic and should be aware that

an application may also incorporate elements of other topics.

Expected results

The applicant should demonstrate that the results of the project contribute to the achievement of the general, specific and operational objectives of the Hercule III Programme (see section 2 above). The applicant should explain how the achievement of the expected results will be measured. Special attention should be given to the following:

  1. The development of original and qualitative high-profile research activities, including comparative law studies;

  2. Theimprovementofcooperationbetweenpractitionersandacademics;

  3. The increased awareness amongst the judiciary and other branches of the legal

    profession in relation to the protection of the Union's financial interests.

Call budget

The available call budget is EUR 500 000.
The Commission reserves the right not to award all available funds.

These results may be measured by: the number, origin and professional background of participants in conferences, the number of publications distributed and the results of participant surveys assessing the overall satisfaction of the event(s).

The above-mentioned list of results is not exhaustive and applicants may indicate more than one category or add other results it considers relevant in relation to the objectives of the Programme.

 

3. Timetable & available call budget

Call publication:
26 April 2018

Opening date:
26 April 2018

Deadline for applications:
14 June 2018 – 17:00 CET

Evaluation:
June-September 2018

Information on evaluation result:
September-October 2018

Grant agreement signature:
November 2018

Maximum duration of a project7
18 months

Latest date to finish :
1 September 2020

 

4. Admissibility criteria

Admissibility

Applications must be submitted before the call deadline (see timetable section 3).

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Participant Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Call Topic page in the Funding Opportunities section). Paper submissions are no longer possible.

Applications (including annexes and supporting documents) must be submitted using the forms provided inside the Participant Portal Electronic Submission System.

Your application must be readable, accessible, printable and contain all the requested information, all required annexes and supporting documents (see section 10).

A grant will not exceed 80% of the total eligible costs. In exceptional and duly justified cases, the financial support for an action may be increased to a maximum of 90% of the eligible costs. The criteria used to determine whether an action satisfies these conditions are set out in section 9.

 

5. Eligibility criteria

Participants

The bodies eligible to receive grants under this call are:

  •   National or regional administrations of a Member State which promote the strengthening of action at Union level to protect the financial interests of the Union; and

  •   Research and educational institutes and non-profit-making entities provided that they have been established and have been operating for at least one year in a Member State and promote the strengthening of action at Union level to protect the financial interests of the Union.

Applications from third countries are subject to the conditions in Article 7(2) of the Hercule III Regulation8.

To prove eligibility, all applicants must register in the Participant Register of the Participant Portal — before the call deadline — and upload the necessary documents showing legal status and origin.

Only applications by single applicants are allowed. No consortium is allowed to apply.

For UK applicants: Please note that until the United Kingdom leaves the EU, nothing changes with regard to the participation in EU programmes. Please be aware, however, that the eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of our framework partnerships/grants. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during that period (without an agreement ensuring eligibility for UK beneficiaries), you will cease to receive EU funding or be required to leave the project on the basis of the contractual provisions on termination.

Budget

The minimum threshold for the total budgeted costs of a project submitted has been set at EUR 40 000. The application will be discarded if the total budgeted costs proposed are lower than EUR 40 000.

Article 7 (2) determines the conditions under which applicants from third countries may submit

Actions

Eligible actions are set out in section 2.

Duration

The duration of the project will not exceed 12 months for topic 29 and 18 months for topics 1 and 3, following the signature of the grant agreement by both parties.

 

6. Award criteria

Admissible and eligible applications will be evaluated and ranked according to the following award criteria:

  1. Added value: its added value for the protection of the Union’s financial interests (40 points);

  2. Conformity with one or more of the Programme’s operational objectives listed in section 2 (in particular, enhancing transnational and multi-disciplinary cooperation as indicated in operational objective (a) as well as the relevance of the issues addressed and complementarity with other Union activities) (20 points);

  3. Quality: accuracy and coherence of the proposed methodology, the organisation of the work, the allocation of resources, the consistency and feasibility of planning and monitoring arrangements, and the originality and appropriateness of the activities (20 points);

  4. Value for money: the proposed budget is sufficient/appropriate for proper implementation; best value for money (provisional budget, expected results and deliverables) (20 points).

Each application will be scored on a 10 point scale for each criterion. The individual score for each criterion will be multiplied by the applicable weight factor and added. The minimum score for each criterion must at least be 50% of the theoretical maximum score. The minimum score for the overall score must be 60% of the theoretical maximum score. An application that does not obtain these minimum scores will be rejected. The applications obtaining a score equal to or higher than 60% of the maximum score will be ranked on the basis of their score and will be recommended for a grant subject to the availability of financial resources.

Award criteria

 

(TABLE NOT AVAILABLE)

 

Only applications that pass the individual thresholds AND the overall threshold will be

considered for funding — within the limits of the available call budget. Other applications will be rejected.

 

7. Selection criteria

In accordance with Article 132 of the EU Financial Regulation (No. 966/2012) and Article 202 of the Rules of Application, the Commission will examine each application on the basis of:

Financial capacity

The applicant must have stable and sufficient resources to successfully implement the proposed project. Organisations participating in several concomitant projects must have sufficient capacity to implement them simultaneously.

The financial capacity check will be carried out on the basis of the documents you will upload to the Beneficiary Register (profit and loss account and balance sheet for the last closed financial year).

This requirement does not apply to national and regional administrations.

Operational capacity

The applicant should demonstrate that it has the operational resources (technical, management) and that its staff has the professional skills, competences and qualifications needed to successfully implement the proposed project. The applicant's staff must have a confirmed experience in the domain for which it proposes the project.

The following information should be provided in the relevant sections of the application form:

  • -  a short description of the applicant's main activities including an organisation chart;

  • -  an exhaustive list of the EU grants awarded during the last 4 years (2014-2017);

- a short description of the team that will implement the project, the allocation of tasks within the team and a description of the relevant competences of the team members.

Exclusion

Applicants that are subject to an EU administrative sanction (i.e. exclusion or financial penalty decision)10 or in one of the following situations11 are excluded from receiving EU grants and will automatically be rejected:

  • -  bankruptcy, winding up, affairs administered by the courts, arrangement with creditors, suspended business activities or other similar procedures under national law (including persons with unlimited liability for the applicant’s debts);

  • -  declared in breach of social security or tax obligations by a final judgment or decision (including persons with unlimited liability for the applicant’s debts);

  • -  found guilty of grave professional misconduct12 by a final judgment or decision (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control);

  • -  convicted of fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation, money laundering, terrorism-related crimes (including terrorism financing), child labour or human trafficking (including persons having powers of representation, decision- making or control);

  • -  shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations under an EU procurement contract, grant agreement or grant decision (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control);

  • -  found guilty of irregularities within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Regulation No 2988/95 (including persons having powers of representation, decision-making or control).

    Applicants will be rejected if it is discovered during the grant award procedure that they:

  • -  misrepresented information required as a condition for participating in the grant award procedure or failed to supply that information;

  • -  were previously involved in the preparation of grant award documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise (conflict of interest).

 

8. Evaluation & award procedure

This call is subject to the standard submission and evaluation procedure (one-stage submission and one-step evaluation).

Applications will be checked by us for formal requirements (admissibility and eligibility) and will be evaluated by an evaluation committee according to the operational capacity and award criteria.

The evaluation committee will adopt a list of applicants recommended for the award of a grant.

Once this list is established, the Commission will verify the compliance with the exclusion criteria and the financial capacity set out in the selection criteria.

If an application does not successfully pass the examination of a set of criteria, it will be rejected and the applicant will be informed accordingly.

Successful applicants will be invited for grant preparation.

The Commission may ask an applicant to provide additional information or to clarify the supporting documents submitted in connection with the application, in particular in the case of manifest material errors.

 

9. Legal & financial set-up of the grants

If your proposal is selected for funding, you will be invited to prepare a grant agreement which will be signed by both parties.

This grant agreement will set the framework for your project and its terms and conditions, as well as particular provisions on deliverables, reporting and payments.

Starting date & project duration

The project's starting date and duration will be fixed in your grant agreement (art. 3). Normally, the starting date will be after the signature of the grant agreement. Retroactive application can be granted exceptionally for duly justified reasons — but never earlier than the proposal submission date.

Maximum project duration: 12 months for topic 2 and 18 months for topics 1 and 3.

Maximum grant amount, reimbursement of eligible costs & funding rate

All grant parameters (maximum grant amount, funding rate, total eligible costs, etc.) will be fixed in your grant agreement (art. 5).

Maximum project budget: No limit.
The grant awarded may be lower than the amount requested.

 

The grant will be a reimbursement of actual costs. This means that it will reimburse ONLY certain types of costs (eligible costs) and ONLY those costs you actually incurred for your project (NOT the budgeted costs).

The costs will be reimbursed at the funding rate fixed in the grant agreement (maximum 80%). The Hercule III Regulation allows for the maximum co-financing rate to be raised from 80% to up to 90% in exceptional and duly justified cases. In the area of legal training and studies these exceptional and duly justified cases refer to projects undertaken by scientific and/or research organisations specifically to promote studies in European criminal law, to support the creation of networks in this area and geared to protect the Union’s financial interests.

EU grants may NOT make a profit. If there is a profit (i.e. surplus of receipts + EU grant over costs), we will deduct it from your final grant amount.

The final grant amount you will receive will therefore depend on various criteria

(actual costs incurred and project income; eligibility; compliance with the rules of the grant agreement, etc.).

Cost eligibility rules

For the cost eligibility rules, see the model grant agreement (art. 6) and the Guide for Applicants.

Special cost eligibility rules for this call:

  •   7% fixed flat-rate for indirect costs;

  •   financial support to third parties is not allowed;

  •   subcontracting of project tasks must be approved by us (either as part of your proposal or in a periodic/final report) and is subject to special rules;

  •   VAT is not eligible. Deliverables

Standard deliverables will be listed the grant agreement (art. 14). The project- specific deliverables will be listed in Annex 1 of the grant agreement.

Standard deliverables for this call (if applicable):

  •   Feedback forms filled-in by participants;

  •   Summary of scores from participants' feedback (spreadsheet);

  •   Post-event survey (6 months after the end of the project).

Reporting & payment arrangements

The reporting and payment arrangements will be fixed in the grant agreement (art. 15 and 16).

After grant signature, we will provide you with a pre-financing of 50% of the maximum grant amount.

There will be no interim payments.

 

 

At the end of the project, the balance will be paid following receipt and approval of the final technical report and the final financial report. These reports should be drafted using the templates provided. If the total pre-financing payment is higher than the final grant amount, we will require the beneficiary to pay back the difference (recovery).

Special provisions

Intellectual property rights (IPR): see model grant agreement (art. 19)

Promotion & visibility of EU funding: see model grant agreement (art. 22)

Cost rejection, grant reduction, recovery, suspension & termination

The grant agreement (chapter 6) provides for the measures we may take in case of breach of contract (and other violations of law).

 

10. How to submit an application?

All applications must be submitted electronically via the Participant Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Call Topic page in the Funding Opportunities section). Paper submissions are no longer accepted.

The submission process is explained in the Participant Portal Online Manual (together with detailed instructions for the IT tool).

The application form is composed of three parts: Part A, Part B (system code TA1) and Annexes to Part B (system codes TA2 and Annex 2).

Part A of the application form must be completed on-line via the Participant Portal Electronic Submission System.

Part B [system code TA1] of the application form (description and justification of the action, timetable) must be downloaded from the Submission System, completed carefully, signed, scanned and uploaded as a .pdf document.

Mandatory Annexe(s) must be downloaded from the Submission System, completed carefully, signed, scanned and uploaded as .pdf documents:

  •   [system code TA2] agenda of the event(s);

  •   [system code Annex 2] budget form (spreadsheet) detailing the breakdown of forecasted expenditure and income. The expenditure forecasts should be based on direct quotes from suppliers or copies taken from suppliers' (internet) catalogues.

Contact

For questions on the Participant Portal Submission System, please contact the IT helpdesk.

Non-IT related questions should be sent to the following email address: OLAF-FMB-HERCULE-LEGAL@ec.europa.eu.

Please indicate clearly the reference of the call for proposals (see call document cover page).



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