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Pilot Project – Exchange of media 'rising stars' to speed up innovation and increase cross-border coverage - Connect/2019/1074536
Deadline: 17 Apr 2019   - 25 days

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 Innovation
 Education and Training
 Film and Media
 New Media
 Photography
 Marketing
 Digital Society
 Journalism

The Commission seeks to ensure respect for media freedom and pluralism with all the instruments at its disposal.

Media freedom and pluralism are fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights (hereinafter ‘the Charter’) and constitute essential foundations of democratic societies.

Quality news media and quality journalism are essential for the functioning of a democratic society and free and independent journalism needs to be promoted and protected in the EU and beyond. The European Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe emphasised the importance of living "in a democracy with a diversity of views and a critical, independent and free press".

While online platforms have gained in dominance and exacerbated the spread of disinformation/fake news, the number of media outlets and journalists has been shrinking. The European media scene requires innovation to face these challenges. In an increasingly-connected world in which major news stories are rarely confined to one country, cross-border cooperation, enhanced networking, mobility and more flexible career trajectories for young media professionals appear essential to meet these challenges.

Legal Basis

Pilot project within the meaning of Article 58(2)(a) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).

The annual work programme was adopted under Commission Decision C/2018/834 of 22/10/2018.

 

2. OBJECTIVES – ACTIVITIES – PRIORITIES

General objectives and target audience

The main objective of the Pilot Project under this call is to facilitate the mobility of young media professionals and cross-border cooperation between such professionals and media outlets as a means to promote innovation in the European media sector and foster an environment conducive to quality journalism and media pluralism.

While this pilot project takes inspiration from the 2011 Feasibility Study for the pilot project "ERASMUS for Journalists", the pilot project is not only geared at journalists but also at other media professionals, inter alia communications, marketing and IT professionals. Eligible candidates to receive financial support as third parties (see point 11.8 d) under this pilot project are media professionals of any nationality, residing in the European Union.

The organisation(s) which will be awarded the grant will design the exchange programme, and, in full autonomy, select participants, provide all logistical and other support to participants and disburse funds to individual applicants under the project.

The pilot project will be, in principle, structured around a series of 'thematic waves' classified by media sub-sector, innovation area or focal topic.

Core actions to be carried out by the beneficiary

a) Design of the exchange programme

Designing a workable and efficient programme which will require oversight but also a large degree of flexibility, in the light of the specific challenges (budgetary, personnel, linguistic and other) inherent to the media sector. This will include identifying/prioritising the forms of mobility to be offered as well as key parameters including selection criteria of media outlets and professionals, duration of the visits (between 1 and 3 months), tasks to be accomplished and priority themes to be addressed. The selection criteria should respect geographical balance: no more than 10-15% of selected applicants should be residents of any single EU Member State.

b) Information and communication

Designing the online interface and disseminating all information (possibly in the form of a handbook) about the programme to a wide audience of media outlets and media professionals prior, during and after the termination of the programme. Organisation of a conference to exchange and communicate experiences and best practices and lessons learnt. Organising communication activities through social media platforms (e.g. Instagram, facebook) in order to present the project in a personal, entertaining yet educational manner, focusing on the skills acquired, personal insights, future outlooks for the participants etc.

c) Organisation of the exchange programme

This will include in particular, reviewing of applications, and the selection of the participants and host organisations and subsequent matching of professionals with host organisations based on the selection criteria established. The selection criteria used when identifying the host organisations shall ensure the selection of organisations having their headquarters in an EU Member State and complying with (i) international professional journalistic standards and codes of ethics and (ii) applicable national rules concerning, in particular, impartiality and accuracy.

d) Logistical and other support

Regular and ad hoc support to professionals and to sending and hosting organisations which shall include providing all information prior to an exchange, answering queries as well as general logistical support, e.g. regarding travel arrangements and finding accommodation.

e) Financing of the exchange programme

This will entail disbursement of financial resources to cover travel and subsistence (and possibly related training) costs in the form of grants/other payment mechanisms to media professionals; monitoring of spending and auditing accounts.

f) Monitoring and evaluation

With a view to ensuring transparency and accountability as well as to understand the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of the programme, the establishment of processes and tools to evaluate the programme, including by ensuring regular feedback from participants and the design of follow-up templates and other relevant materials needs to be ensured.

All actions shall be conducted in an independent manner.

The applicant shall describe in detail in the proposal how each of the actions listed in a) – f) above shall be carried out. This shall comprise a detailed description of all logistical aspects envisaged, a clear explanation of how geographical and thematic balance will be ensured and a projection of how the applicant intends to ensure maximum outreach of the project within the limited time envisaged. It shall, in addition, comprise a detailed provisional budget for each action listed above.

The present call for proposals

The present call for proposals will select a beneficiary/a consortium to execute the project as outlined above.

The territorial coverage of this pilot project shall be the Member States of the EU.

Applicants must demonstrate the ability to attract staff members with proven expertise in the media sector.

 

 

3. TIMETABLE

The indicative schedule for the different steps and stages of the selection procedure are as follows:

(a) Publication of the call

Q1 2019

(b) Deadline for submitting applications

17 April 2019

(c) Evaluation period

Q2 2019

(d) Information to applicants

Q2 2019

(e) Signature of grant agreement

Q2 2019

Scheduled start date for the action: as soon as possible upon signature of grant agreement.

The duration of the project shall be maximum 12 months.

 

4. BUDGET AVAILABLE

The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of the project under this call for proposals is estimated at 1.200.000 EUR (one million two hundred thousand euros).

The EU co-financing is limited to a maximum co-funding rate of 80% of the total eligible costs.

The Commission expects to fund 1 proposal.
The Commission reserves the right not to distribute all the funds available.

 

5. ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

In order to be admissible, applications must be:

 sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 3;

 submitted in writing (see section 14), using the application form available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/news-redirect/634623 and in electronic form (pdf format); and

 drafted in one of the EU official languages.
Failure to comply with those requirements will lead to rejection of the application.

 

6. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

6.1. Eligible applicants

Proposals may be submitted by any of the following applicants:

  •   a single entity or a consortia made up by a grouping of entities;

  •   non-profit organisation (private or public);

  •   universities;

  •   educational institutions;

  •   research centres.

Natural persons are not eligible.

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, you 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.17.3 of the grant agreement.

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 action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs as specified in section 11.2.

For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

Country of establishment

Only applications from legal entities established in the following countries are eligible:

 EU Member States.

Supporting documents

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

  • 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, decision or other official document establishing the public-law entity.

Eligible activities

The following types of activities are eligible under this call for proposals:

  •   cooperation projects;

  •   actions aiming at the creation and support of networks, exchanges of good practices and coordination;

  •   financial support to third parties (see point 11.8. d))

  •   conferences, seminars;

  •  awareness and dissemination actions.

Implementation period

  •  the maximum duration of projects is 12 months.

Applications for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals will not be accepted.

 

7. EXCLUSION CRITERIA

7.1. Exclusion

The authorising officer shall exclude an applicant from participating in call for proposals procedures where:

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

  2. (b)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the applicable law;

  3. (c)  it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the applicant 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 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 eligibility or selection criteria or in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision;

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

    3. (iii)  violating intellectual property rights;

    4. (iv)  attempting to influence the decision-making process of the Commission 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 applicant is guilty of any of the following:

    1. (i)  fraud, within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council and 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 4(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 or 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, or conduct referred to in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, or corruption as defined in the applicable law;

    3. (iii)  conduct related to a criminal organisation, as referred to in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA;

    4. (iv)  money laundering or terrorist financing within the meaning of Article 1(3), (4) and (5) of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council;

    5. (v)  terrorist offences or offences linked to terrorist 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 offences concerning trafficking in human beings as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council;

  5. (e)  the applicant has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract, a grant agreement or a grant decision financed by the Union's 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 applicant has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95;

  7. (g)  It has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that the applicant has created an entity in a different jurisdiction with the intent to circumvent fiscal, social or any other legal obligations of mandatory application in the jurisdiction of its registered office, central administration or principal place of business;

  8. (h)  it has been established by a final judgement or final administrative decision that an entity has been created with the intent referred to in point (g);

  9. (i)  for the situations referred to in points (c) to (h) above, the applicant is subject to:

    1. (i)  facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by European Public Prosecutor's Office after its establishment, the Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office or the internal auditor, 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 judgments or 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)  facts referred to in decisions of persons or entities being entrusted with EU budget implementation tasks;

    4. (iv)  information transmitted by Member States implementing Union funds;

    5. (v)  decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of Union competition law or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law; or

    6. (vi)  decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body.

 

7.2. Remedial measures

If an applicant declares one of the situations of exclusion listed above (see section 7.1), it must indicate the measures it has taken to remedy the exclusion situation, thus demonstrating its reliability. This may include e.g. technical, organisational and personnel measures to correct the conduct and prevent further occurrence, compensation of damage or payment of fines or of any taxes or social security contributions. The relevant documentary evidence which illustrates the remedial measures taken must be provided in annex to the declaration. This does not apply for situations referred in point (d) of section 7.1.

7.3. Rejection from the call for proposals

The authorising officer shall not award a grant to an applicant who:

  1. (a)  is in an exclusion situation established in accordance with section 7.1; or

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

  3. (c)  was previously involved in the preparation of documents used in the award procedure where this entails a breach of the principle of equal treatment, including distortion of competition, that cannot be remedied otherwise.

The same exclusion criteria apply to affiliated entities.

Administrative sanctions (exclusion) may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, if any of the declarations or information provided as a condition for participating in this procedure prove to be false.

7.4. Supporting documents

Applicants and affiliated entities must provide a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 136(1) and 141 FR, by filling in the relevant form attached to the application form accompanying the call for proposals and available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/news- redirect/634623.

This obligation may be fulfilled in one of the following ways: For mono-beneficiary grants:

  1. (i)  the applicant signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR

  2. (ii)  the applicant and its affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.

For multi-beneficiary grants:

  1. (i)  the coordinator of a consortium signs a declaration on behalf of all applicants and their affiliated entities; OR

  2. (ii)  each applicant in the consortium signs a declaration in its name and on behalf of its affiliated entities; OR

  3. (iii)  each applicant in the consortium and the affiliated entities each sign a separate declaration in their own name.

 

 

8. SELECTION CRITERIA

8.1. Financial capacity

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the duration of the grant 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:

 

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