Frequently Asked Questions
:: eTEN Cost Statement Coaching Workshop
:: Project management - Coordinators coaching workshop
:: Call for Proposals 2006/1
- Scope of the eTEN programme
- Third Country participation
- Nature of the projects: Market Validation and Deployment
- Funding possibilities
- Cost models
- Consortium composition
- Proposal preparation
- Filling in the A-forms
- Legal and Financial Information
- Filling in the B-part
- Website availability of tools/documentation
:: Call for Experts 2005/2006
Please email additional questions to the eTEN mailbox: email@example.com.
eTEN Cost Statement Coaching Workshop
Proof of employment:
Q: For an AC participant, what kind of document would you request as a proof that one was hired for the purpose of this project and is not a permanent employee?
A: The person's contract which must state that the person is employed for the project; for the duration of the project; or that the person's employment is dependent upon external funding (with a letter from a responsible person in the organisation stating that the person is assigned to the project).
Q: How could it be certified that some AC participant permanent staff members work specially for this project and, thus, the expenses of their travel and subsistence are eligible?
A: It should be clear from any supporting document for the travel that the travel relates to the project (e.g. participation project meeting, presentation on the project, …).
Q: Is it possible to add or replace personnel during the project?
A: Yes. This should be communicated through the coordinator and project officer. Key personnel are named in the Annex I of the grant agreement.
Q: I am a permanent employee in an organisation participating in an eTEN project as an AC participant. Can I charge my personnel costs to my project?
A: No. Permanent personnel costs are not eligible for the AC model. Only non-permanent staff costs are eligible.
Q: Does there exist a rule how to calculate the hourly wages for eTEN project - like we have in FP7?
A: The same 'rule' applies to eTEN, i.e. essentially divide the gross remuneration by the number of productive hours – which should be in the order of 1680.
There is an option in the contract for 'average' salary costs. The overriding condition is that the different salary costs that make up the 'average' must not diverge significantly from one another. See below.
- Article 14 - Direct costs
- With regard to personnel costs,
- (b) For beneficiaries using the full costs system, personnel costs shall comprise:
- average employment costs, where these correspond to the normal practices of the participant concerned, provided that such costs do not differ significantly from the actual costs and that such practices are regarded as acceptable by the Commission.
Q: What is the situation concerning an employee in, e.g., a foreign subsidiary? Are personnel and travel expenses eligible for her/him?
A: Personnel and travel costs in this situation are only eligible if the foreign subsidiary, or other company employing the person, is a participant in the grant agreement. If not, as the employee is employed by a foreign subsidiary, which is a separate legal entity, her/his costs are ineligible.
Q: A part-time employee who works half time with the co-ordinating organisation and half time in another organisation will play a large role in two of the projects in which the organisations participate. How should the costs be presented?
A: The employee's eligible project salary costs should be presented as they are accounted in both participants' accounts.
Q: How should a managing director of an SME calculate his own hourly wages?
A: The salary costs of a managing director in an eTEN project are subject to the following considerations: should it be also mentioned that if directly charged to the project that these costs should not appear as overhead costs – I assume that this is not the manager/owner question which is different)
- Under normal circumstances a managing director of a company is accounted for as sharing in the profits or in the overheads when her/his role is a horizontal one not directly accountable to any project being undertaken by the company.
- If directly charged to the project these costs should not appear as overhead costs.
- Where a managing director is working on a project it must be on tasks appropriate to her/his position and expertise.
- Where a managing director is working on a project, he must keep a time sheet record of his activities.
- The company accounts must show the salary costs of the managing director to the project.
Q: In the case where a managing director is charging her/his company for the work s/he does with different hourly wages for different tasks. Which hourly wage should s/he use for the eTEN project?
A: The accounts must identify the costs. If the managing director is being paid from the profits these costs are ineligible. If the managing director is being paid as a sub-contractor, the rules of sub-contracting apply. If the managing director is being paid a salary or as an in-house consultant, the rules relating to personnel costs apply. These latter rules do not foresee different salary rates per task.
Q: In the case where a managing director is not employed by her/his company - is s/he allowed to charge costs to the project.
A: Where a managing director is not directly employed by her/his company her/his costs are not eligible to the project. If s/he is remunerated by sharing the profits these costs are not eligible. If a participant wishes its managing director costs to qualify as eligible then s/he must be engaged by the company in a contractual capacity.
Q: Can an SME manager be in the list of persons working for the project if there is not a salary paid to her/him? Can he be included in Travel Costs?
A: If a company manager is not paid a salary in relation to her/his work on an eTEN project then no salary costs can be claimed for her/him. However, travel costs incurred by her/him related to the project are eligible project costs.
Q: Time Sheets are to be certified by the person in charge of the project: Is that the overall project manager or the person in charge of the department concerned?
A: The certification/signature of time sheets in eTEN grant agreements is governed by Annex II, Article 2.2 (b) and Article 14.1 (a). Time sheets from a participant should be certified/signed by the person(s) designated by that participant to direct their work on the project. If this is not possible then the time sheets are to be certified/signed in accordance with the normal practice of the participant. This could be by the person's immediate superior or by another hierarchical or administrative overseer from the participant.
Q: How many hours does the Commission calculate per day?
A: This is not specified in the contract. It varies from participant to participant and depends on the rules of each participant. It should conform to European law.
Q: Are timesheets required for both Initial Deployment and Market Validation projects?
Third party assistance:
Q: What is meant by ‘Third Party Assist’ in the 'Effort for the reporting period' + 'Cumulated effort since the start of the project' in the quarterly management report?
A: Sub-contracting time and/or costs.
Q: Can travel cost and hours for Finance staff for this workshop be include in the cost statement?
Q: Can the budget for travel costs be increased due to this eTEN workshop?
Q: Must receipts be submitted in the interim statement or just in the final cost statement?
A: “Receipts”: means financial transfers made available to a participant by a third party to be used to carry out the project, and any income generated by the project itself, if generated during the life of the project or up to the time when the final financial statement is submitted to the Commission, whichever is later. Receipts need to be reported at each reporting period but are to be accounted for only at final payment stage)
Q: Does my organisation, as coordinator of an eTEN project, need to have a special account for the project and are there any special conditions to be attached to it?
A: All payments to the project are sent by the Commission to the coordinator. He will afterwards transfer their share to all partners within one month of reception. It is not necessary to create a special account but the account used must be an Euro account and be able to identify any interest accruing to the Community contribution.
Q: Does the Cost Statement Checklist apply both initial Deployment Projects and Market validation projects?
A: Yes. Where a question does not apply to one of the grant agreement types the comment 'not applicable' should be entered.
Q: What expenses for project meetings can be claimed in the cost statement, e.g., expenses for meeting facilities, lunch, coffee and dinner during meetings?
A: Expenses can be charged for project meetings, usually under 'other project costs', provided they are eligible costs and provided they are not being charged through other budget headings, e.g., overheads, travel and subsistence allowances of the participants, etc. Social dinners are not eligible, being considered 'entertainment'.
Q: Can overhead costs be claimed for co-ordination of a project?
A: Administrative and financial coordination costs do not qualify for overhead costs. Technical coordination costs do qualify for overhead costs.
Q: Normally expenses can be claimed only before a project closes, but project audit always fall afterwards. Can we claim the costs?
A: Yes, but they must be included in the final cost statement.
Q: If, according to the contract, a project receives a contribution of 163,000 €, but the actual costs at the end are below 150,000 € does it have to submit an audit certificate?
Q: When should a project submit an audit certificate?
A: Audit certificates are submitted by participants in eTEN projects (grant agreements). Participants (beneficiaries or members) have to submit an audit certificate with the last cost claim in the case where the total (cumulative) request for Community contribution is equal to or greater than EUR 150.000 €. This audit certificate has to cover the total project duration.
Any participant that will receive a prefinancing or intermediary payments cumulatively exceeding EUR 750.000 per financial year shall provide an audit certificate together with the payment request or financial statement.
Q: How do we prove to our VAT office that the payments from the Commission are free of VAT?
A: Your VAT office should be aware of the legislation relating to grant aid from the European Commission. The activities covered by grant agreements under the eTEN programme are not considered as supplies of services and therefore the Sixth VAT Directive of 17 May 1977 on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes - Common system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment (77/388/EEC) do not apply to them. The grant paid to a participant in an eTEN grant agreement does not give rise to any tax liability. As a consequently, a VAT exemption certificate foreseen in Article 15.10 of the above mentioned Directive cannot be issued by the Commission services for these projects as an exemption does not apply where there is no tax liability.
Q: Is airport tax an eligible cost?
A: In general, airport taxes are a fee for a service, in which case the airport taxes may be considered eligible costs because they are neither a duty nor an indirect tax. Usually the invoice makes reference to "service charge", "charge" etc. If the invoice, however, only mentions "airport taxes", the beneficiary should use other means to prove that the so called "airport tax" is not a tax.
Non eligible costs:
Q: Why should non-eligible costs be reported?
A: Annex III, article 10h requires that beneficiaries report on the actual costs necessary for the completion of the project which are non-eligible costs. Non-eligible costs are used in the calculation of the 'total investment cost' of an eTEN project. They are also used to verify that project participants are incurring 'own costs' outside of the costs eligible for reimbursement by the Commission.
Q: If there are no receipts from a project should the E-2A form be filled in and signed?
A: Form E-2A should be completed to indicate that there are no
receipts and signed.
Q: What is the timetable of reporting periods in an eTEN Grant Agreement?
A: The reporting periodicity is specified in the Grant Agreement. These may vary according to the Grant Agreement.
Q: Are the QMRs obligatory? If the Technical Annex foresees 6 monthly Reports in the Deliverables list is it also necessary to submit QMRs?
A: The reports and reporting periods are listed in the eTEN grant agreement. These include periodic and final reports; financial statements and other project deliverables. Annex III of the grant agreement indicates whether a quarterly management report is required or not.
Project management - Coordinators coaching workshop
Q: How should the 'social' costs of personnel (social security, pension charges, etc.) be presented?
A: They should be included in the personnel costs.
Q: When should time sheets be signed?
A: In accordance with the normal practice of the participant providing that it does not exceed the time limit specified in the grant agreement (certified at least once a month by the person in charge of the work designated by the participant (Article II.14.1.(a))
Q: Should time sheets be kept for permanent personnel of AC partners?
A: Normally not, however, for AC beneficiaries in initial deployment projects the cost of the time of permanent personnel is permitted to be used in the calculation of the estimated total investment cost. If the beneficiary wishes to include this cost in the calculation then evidence of the investment must be supported by the existence of time sheets.
Q: Must durable equipment for the project be purchased during the period of the contract?
A: Durable equipment can be costed to a project on the basis of the 36/60 month depreciation rule in the grant agreement irrespective of whether the date of purchase of the equipment falls prior to or after the signature of the grant agreement.
Q: There is a requirement to quote 'hourly rate' for subcontractors in the cost statement forms. Is this used in the calculation of the Community contribution?
A: Sub-contracting costs are reimbursed on the basis of the invoices submitted. The necessity to calculate the hourly rate is to facilitate subsequent audit should a participant be selected for audit.
Q: There are 2 sources of exchange rate referred to in the processing of cost statements: The Official Journal and the InfoEuro web site. Which should be used?
A: The rate to be used is the conversion rate published in the Official Journal of the European Union applicable on the first day of the month following the end of the reporting period.
Q: How many copies of project / grant agreement documents should be provided to the Commission?
A: 2 copies of all documents in paper form and one copy of all documents in electronic form should be provided. This includes all of the justifying documents for cost statements.
Q: What amounts can be transferred between budget headings and between participants?
A: The amounts that can be transferred without prior approval of the Commission are:
- Market Validation projects:
Beneficiaries may transfer budget between themselves provided that the amounts transferred do not exceed 20% of total budget for the project of the receiving participant and provided that they inform the Commission of such transfer confirming that the scope of the project is not fundamentally altered.
Each beneficiary may transfer budget, without the agreement of the other beneficiaries, between categories of eligible costs, provided that the transferred amount does not exceed 20% of its total eligible budget for the project, that the budget for subcontracting is not increased and that the scope of the project is not fundamentally altered.
Any other properly substantiated transfer approved by all the beneficiaries shall require prior written approval by the Commission.
However, the budget for the costs for the protection of knowledge may not be the subject of a transfer to other categories of eligible costs.
- Initial Deployment projects:
Beneficiaries may transfer budget between themselves provided that the amounts transferred do not exceed 10% of the total budget for the project of the receiving participant and provided that they inform the Commission of such transfer confirming that the scope of the project is not fundamentally altered.
Each beneficiary may transfer budget, without the agreement of the other beneficiaries, between categories of eligible costs, provided that the transferred amount does not exceed 10% of its total eligible budget for the project, that the budget for subcontracting is not increased and that the scope of the project is not fundamentally altered.
Any other properly substantiated transfer approved by all the beneficiaries shall require prior written approval by the Commission.
However, the budget for the costs for the protection of knowledge may not be the subject of a transfer to other categories of eligible costs.
Q: What type of audit certificate is required for a public body?
A: Public bodies may provide an audit certificate prepared by an internal or governmental auditing office(r) providing that the relevant national authorities have established its legal capacity to certify an audit certificate and the office(r) is independent. In practice the latter means that the public officer is not involved in the project.
Q: When should audit certificates be submitted?
A: Audit certificates can be submitted together with the cost statement to which they refer or shortly afterwards. In the latter case the coordinator should inform the project officer when submitting the cost statement.
Q: What are the consequences for an initial deployment project if a milestone is achieved at a reduced cost or before the time foreseen in the grant agreement?
A: If the work was completed at a reduced cost then payment of the pre-financing instalment may not be made unless at least 70% of the pre-financing payment has been used up. This can delay the payment of the costs to when the limit is achieved or to the completion of the next milestone. If the milestone is reached ahead of time the review should be brought forward to permit work to start on the next milestone. In all such cases the coordinator must discuss an amendment to the grant agreement with the project officer.
Q: Can the statutory auditor of my organisation provide an audit certificate.
A:Yes - provided the auditor complies with both being independent and being qualified to carry out statutory audits (see Art. II. 4.2.(b)). The auditor that provides the audit certificate may under no circumstance have been in the submission of the cost claim.
Call for Proposals 2006/1
Q: How is Market Validation defined?
A: For any questions related to terminology, please check the glossary of the eTEN 2006 work programme or in the guide for proposers 2006 (annex 8).
Q: Does the eTEN programme fund telecommunication infrastructure?
A: The eTEN programme aims at funding electronic services, not infrastructure. In recent years the structural funds have invested in telecommunication infrastructure. More information can be found in the Final Report for the Thematic Evaluation of the Information Society.
Q: I would like to know if my proposal is suitable for one or more of the thematic areas (themes) of eTEN in 2005.
A: For specific questions about the extent to which a proposal fits into the scope of the programme, please contact first the National Contact Point (NCP) for your country and then if needed the eTEN project officer(s) responsible for the theme(s) you are interested in.
Q: Which countries are Member States of the EU (the EU25)?
Austria Belgium Czech Rep. Cyprus Denmark
Estonia Finland France Germany Greece
Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania
Luxemburg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal
Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden UK
Q: Which non-EU countries also participate in eTEN with Community funding for their entities?
A: Acceding countries Romania, Bulgaria and EEA-EFTA countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein can participate in eTEN in 2006 with Community funding.
Q: Is it possible for a company or organisation established in a country that is not in the eTEN30 (EU25 + Romania + Bulgaria + Norway + Iceland + Liechtenstein) to participate in a call for proposals?
A: This issue is mentioned in the workprogramme. It is phrased as follows:
Calls are open to proposals from legal entities in the 25 EU Member States, Bulgaria and Romania, and may be open to proposals from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as contracting parties to the EEA Agreement subject to timely establishment of the relevant legal base (see eTEN web site for further information).
The Community may allow participation of entities from other countries to projects where such participation is of mutual interest and ensures the interoperability of services. Such requests for participation will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will not receive Community funding.
Therefore, it would be possible in 2006 for a company or organisation from a 3rd country (outside the eTEN30) to be a part of a consortium as long as it is self-financed or financed from national funds (where the entity is legally based). In such case it would also be necessary to demonstrate that the 3rd country participant did not generate a specific dependency with respect to funded organisations originating from the eTEN30 (EU25 + Romania + Bulgaria + Norway + Iceland + Liechtenstein).
Sub-contractors from third countries may be permitted on a case by case basis. Acceptance of a third country based entity will only be possible if similar resources cannot be found within the eTEN27 (EU25 + Romania + Bulgaria).
Q: I would like to know if legal entities from the Isle of Man, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, are eligible for EC funding in the eTEN programme.
A: No, these territories are either not part of the European Union or have no agreement to participate in eTEN. Therefore, a company based there cannot receive funding from the eTEN programme.
Q: Do entities from 3rd countries have to fill in the A2 form?
A: A participant from a third country needs to fill in the A2 form like all other participants. However, only participants from the EU25 can be the co-ordinator of a consortium.
Q: I would like to know if the budget from 3rd party countries should be anyway included by the coordinator in the A3 form (as these countries do not receive Community funds).
A: Yes. You should insert the budget for the 3rd countries on form A3 and enter zero in the column for “Requested Community Contribution”. Also, you cannot use their expenses in the calculation of the total investment costs. This latter number should only contain expenses for activities within the eTEN30.
Q: I would like to be informed whether there is a pre-allocation regarding the total budget of projects submitted under the present eTEN call.
A: The indicative budget allocated to the 2006 call for proposals is 45.6M€. It is intended to allocate this budget to successful Initial Deployment (Action Type 1) and Market Validation (Action Type 2) proposals in an indicative ratio of 60% / 40%. (Source: eTEN Workprogramme 2006)
Q: What will be the budget available for the coming years?
A: The eTEN programme under its current legal base ends on 31.12.2006. From 2007 on, any comparable follow-up programme will be under a new programme.
Q: According to the FAQs, it seems that in market validation proposals, the pilot phase must be already running. What does pilot phase include exactly? Is it possible to submit a proposal in which pilot experiences are provided for but have not started yet (as forming part of the work packages of the project itself)?
A: In fact, the work
programme uses both the terms prototype and pilot in the same meaning. The
prototype phase is defined in the glossary of the work programme as follows:
In the context of eTEN a service is considered to exist in the prototype state if it has been validated (proven) technically and functionally in a field trial but has not been subject to a market validation. This may be demonstrated by reports of the field trial(s) describing the nature of the service (functionality, targeted user groups, candidate-providers, etc) and the trial results in terms of delivery, feedback of users and providers, etc. In eTEN, the phase following the prototype phase is the market validation phase.
It is important the the proposer clearly proves the existence of the prototype service in his proposal. eTEN will not support the development of a prototype service as part of the work packages of the project. At the most, only some minor adaptations could be funded under eTEN. For more information see annex 4 of the guide for proposers.
Q: Which is the minimum duration of a market validation project (in the workprogramme this phase is described as typically up to 18 months duration)?
A: There is no official minimum, but in practice it may be difficult to fulfil the contract in less than 12 months.
Q: If a service has roll-out in one eTEN-country and the aim of the project is to market validate the service in another eTEN-country. What type of project is this?
A: Market validation
Q: Is it necessary for a market validation project to demonstrate the service at the time of the proposal stage, and what does that mean, just to have prepared the platform of the service, e.g. the site, or to be ready to be employed by users?
A: You should already have service running in at least a pilot phase. It could be slightly different from what you intend to market-validate.
Q: Does the trans-European dimension that is required in eTEN refer to the service or to the consortium?
A: To the service. The service must be of European interest and not of a purely national or local interest. It could be the replication of an existing service from one member state into others, or a service across boarders, or a service that is deployed in more than one member state.
As regards the trans-European nature of the consortium there is the minimum requirement of the eligibility criteria that at least two signing beneficiaries from different EU member states participate. Further than that of course the consortium must include all necessary stakeholders from all relevant countries in regard to the planned service validation and roll-out.
Q: Is it possible to organise the project in a way that validation starts at month 6 (not 3)?
A: eTEN does not finance technical development. So we want to see the validation phase to start as soon as possible, hence the request to see it starting at month 3. This is indicative, and not compulsory. However you must be in position to justify a longer preparation phase then normal.
Q: I see that the Commission describes the project phases as follows:
2. Market Validation
3. Initial Deployment
4. Full Deployment
The eTEN programme would support phases 2 and 3. Could you confirm that for both these phases the maximum contribution by eTEN would be 10% of the total investment costs?
A: The total amount of Community funding shall not exceed 10% of the total investment cost for Market validation projects and 30% of the the total investment cost for initial deployment projects, regardless of the form of aid chosen and the number of project phases funded.
This is described in more detail in the guide for proposers (section II.5. and annex 5).
Q: Can we propose for a market validation project without having the obligation to propose next for an initial deployment project?
A: Yes. However, market validation projects should show, as their end result, a clear and achievable path towards deployment. This Deployment potential is an award criterion in the evaluation. So, a market validation proposal will be evaluated (amongst others) on the likelihood that the initial deployment will be the next step, regardless of the fact whether the initial deployment is submitted to the Commission for funding.
Q: We are preparing a Market Validation project. How can we estimate now how much the total investment will be, so that we can calculate 10% as a maximum of the Commissions support/funding?
A: For an eTEN market validation proposal, it is indeed required to provide an estimate of the costs of deploying the service, and a first draft of the deployment strategy.
The purpose of these projects is to validate and verify the assumptions underlying this hypothesis. The time allowed for market validation projects is too short to start totally from scratch.
A proposal without an estimate of the service deployment costs cannot be selected.
Q: In the funding rules for Initial Deployment projects, only the maximum community funding is mentioned as 30% of Total Investment Cost. No maximum funding rate as a percentage of eligible costs is indicated (like it is in the case of Market Validation projects, where this maximum rate is mentioned and set to 50%). Why is this, and what does this mean for assessing the likely amount of funding actually offered to ID projects?
A: The funding of the project can be up to 30% of the total investment costs. In principle, beneficiaries and members can receive funding at any percentage up to 100% of their eligible cost. However, the sum of the calculated Community contributions of all beneficiaries and members cannot exceed the funding ceiling of 30% of Total Investment Cost. A specific maximum funding rate as percentage of eligible costs has been left out of the funding rules for Initial Deployment on purpose. The idea behind this is that Initial Deployment projects are usually much more complicated than Market Validation projects. By setting only a ceiling to Community support as a percentage of the total investment costs, there is more flexibility in tailoring the Community support package to the specific needs of the Initial Deployment project in question, thereby increasing the potential of creating real impact. At the same time, Community funding is governed by rules and regulations in addition to the rules specific to eTEN as mentioned in the eTEN Work programme and legal documents. One example is the rule that Community contribution may not contribute to the recipient's profit. In practice, this means for Initial Deployment proposals that two financial issues have to be addressed in the proposal, the evaluation and negotiations: the establishment of, and agreement on, the total investment costs, which determine the ceiling to Community funding, and the establishment of the costs for the Initial Deployment project. When examining and deciding the Community contribution for individual participants in successful ID Projects prior to negotiations, the Commission start from the first approximation that FC participants receive up to 30% of their eligible costs and AC participants up to 100% of their eligible costs. This is deemed to be the approach most consistent with the intention of setting a ceiling of 30% of total investment costs. The total outcome of this calculation will then be viewed against the total funding requested by the consortium, the funding distribution among participants, the difference with the funding ceiling of 30% of TIC, and the overall outcome of the evaluation of the response to the call for proposals (the so-called implementation package). The Commission will then decide upon whether to accept the funding distribution in the proposal or whether to offer an alternative distribution with a view to maximizing the return on the taxpayer’s money and optimising the proposal’s conformity to the regulations and guidelines of the eTEN programme. These changes by the Commission will be declared as adjustments to the funding percentages of individual proposals in the implementation package before it enters into negotiation with the consortia.
Q: We have already done a part of the initial deployment of our system, could we claim 10% of these costs now, in eTEN?
A: You cannot count expenses incurred previous to starting an eTEN project in the total investment costs. The counter starts when your first eTEN project begins.
Q: We are currently implementing a project funded by a national programme. This funding expires at the end of this year when we have to conduct further market validation activities. The eTEN programme addresses all the aspects relevant to placing the service on the market. Could we participate in the call for proposals?
A: Yes, it is possible for a previously nationally funded project to participate in the eTEN call for proposals, provided the project meets the requirements of eTEN, amongst which the trans-European dimension of the service and the existence of a running service prototype at the time of submission of the proposal.
Q: Is it possible for a service at the phase of the market validation to be validated by certain number of group users (group users that will use the service freely) and at the same time to charge for the service other users if the consortium finds out that there is an intense interest in the market?
A: Yes, but whatever income you have will be taken into account as receipt when calculating the possible funding (so that the funding is not contributing to a profit).
Q: How does the Additional Cost Model (AC) work?
A: In the additional cost model, only eligible direct costs that are additional to the recurring costs and eligible indirect costs may be charged to the grant agreement. This model is only available to non-commercial or non-profit organisations established under private or public law and international organisations which do not have an accounting system that allows the share of their direct and indirect costs relating to the project to be distinguished. More information on the cost models can be found in annex 5 of the guide for propsers and in the model grant agreements.
Q: How are the eligible costs calculated?
A: The calculation of eligible costs follows the rules set out in Annex II of the model grant agreements, in particular from Article 13 onwards. Additional explanations are in the Guide for Proposers (annex 5). At proposal and negotiation stage, a realistic and justified estimate of the costs is needed. The actual eligible costs will be calculated at the end of the funded project phase, based on the documents provided by the consortium, and the funding will be defined accordingly.
Q: Will the partners under the Additional Cost Model (AC) be funded 100% of the eligible costs by the Commission?
A: Under the additional cost model, the eligible additional direct costs are fully refunded. More details can be found in the Guide for Proposers, especially in section II.4 and Annex 5.
Community support is restricted to costs which are additional to the normal recurring costs of the organisation. In particular, cost of the organisation's permanent staff are not refundable. The working time of these staff members has to be recorded however.
Q: Could you please let me know if AC participants (i.e. 20% overheads) are funded at 50% or 100% of their total costs? If they are funded at 100%, the overall project funding for the entire consortium will exceed 50%, which appears to be against the rules for Market Validation.
A: Please refer to the
Guide for Proposers, Annex 5, for detailed information on the Additional Cost
Participants entitled to use the additional cost model are not funded for 100% of their total cost, but only for 100% of their additional eligible cost. This excludes all recurring costs of the organisation, in particular the personnel cost for permanent staff of the organisation. Only staff employed specifically for the project can be taken into account. The working time of permanent staff for the project has, however, to be recorded and documented as well during the project execution. It should also be taken into account in the proposal, where the efforts of the participants are documented in the work package descriptions etc.
The overall budget for the project, including eligible and non-eligible cost and the sources of funding, will be part of the project grant agreement. The final decision on the cost models for the participants, and the determination of the amount of the Community grant, taking into account all rules to be respected, can only be done in the agreement negotiation phase for selected proposals. Selected consortia will be asked to supply additional information and documents for this purpose.
Q: The eTEN guide for proposers 2006 states that legal entities established in 25 Member States of the EU, Romania, Bulgaria, and possibly Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (lets call it the eTEN30) can receive funding in eTEN projects. Does this mean that a company's main headquarter must be based in these countries or would subsidiaries or other branches of companies outside the EU30 be eligible for participation?
A: Headquarters need not be in the eTEN30, but the subsidiary actually participating in eTEN must be legally registered entity in the eTEN30.
Q: Can the co-ordination of an eTEN project be shared between two partners?
A: No, only one organisation can be the coordinator and take care of the technical and financial management of the project. Note that subcontracting the co-ordination work is also not allowed.
Q: Is call 2006/1 reserved only to public legal entities or can a private entity participate? Is there any rule about the composition of the consortium, connected to this aspect?
A: Proposals must be presented by a consortium comprising a minimum number of two mutually-independent legal entities, participating as signing beneficiaries (not members) to the grant agreement, each established in a different EU Member State.
The ideal consortium for an eTEN project includes all the players in the value chain necessary for implementing the service, its set-up, deployment and operation. Different members of the value chain can be technology companies, service deployers, users and customers of the potential service. In a well-structured consortium, all the participants must have the financial means to carry their co-financing share of the project and have an adequate number of staff to implement the project. It is essential to have the adequate and skilled project management resources available.
There are no requirements regarding the private or public nature of the legal entities. So a consortium of two private entities or a consortium of two public entities is possible provided that they meet all the basic requirements as set out in the work programme. For more information on this topic we refer to section V of the Work Programme in which the structure of a consortium is described.
For proposals in the area of eGovernment, the participation or the support of public authorities is advised. (This support of public authorities should not be confused with the obligation to obtain national agreement that the proposal is in the common interest). See also the questions about national agreement under the proposal preparation heading.
Q: Can a SME be the coordinator of a project?
A: Yes, any legal entity
can lead a project, as long as it can demonstrate the ability (financial and in
human resources) to do so .
Q: can a university of research institute participate in an eTEN project?
A: Yes, as long as the scope of the project and the work remain in line with the eTEN objectives (e.g. no research supported).
Q: I would like to participate in an eTen proposal. But I am a "autonomous", freelance professional (I do not receive a salary from any organisation). Is it possible to participate as a member of the consortium and the Commission will cover my cost in the same level of the other members organisations?
A: Participation in the eTEN programme as beneficiaries or members is limited to legal entities. Natural persons cannot participate in such a way.
Consultants can participate as in-house consultants or subcontractors to other beneficiaries, which will pay them. The Commission will refund the beneficiary according to the funding rate that is valid for his organisation.
Q: I would like to know if a partner with a weak financial evaluation can be co-ordinator of a proposal taking into account that co-financing capacity and equity are good.
A: The Commission is obliged to take care to reduce financial risks when providing contributions to projects. The financial situation of the participants will be analyzed on a case by case basis, and appropriate measures will be proposed.
In the case of a co-ordinator having a weak financial evaluation, mitigating measures will be required. This could be a financial guarantee for all amounts that the Commission sends to the co-ordinator, special payment provisions, or a separation of financial and technical administration.
It is however preferable to assign the co-ordination tasks to a financially strong participant.
Q: Are there financial differences between participants acting as "beneficiaries" and "members"?
A: Beneficiaries sign the grant agreement with the Commission. Members do not sign this agreement, but sign a membership agreement with one of the beneficiaries. They will not directly interact with the Commission, but the respective beneficiary will be intermediary for all communications and transactions. Only beneficiaries count towards meeting the minimum requirement for the consortium composition, e.g. a consortium consisting of a coordinator from a EU members state and only members (even if they are from different EU member states) is not eligible.
The terms of reimbursement are similar for beneficiaries and members.
Q: Can a proposal be submitted on paper?
A: No. In 2006 there is only the option of electronic proposal submission.
Q: When is the deadline for the pre-registration?
A: There is no explicit pre-registration in this call. The necessary information will be entered when registering to the Electronic Proposal Submission System (EPSS).
Note that Registration to EPSS does not entail any obligation on the part of the proposer.
Q: Could you please advise us about a maximum proposed length of each of the following 3 sections:
Overall project description
Project work plan and financing
A: There is no specific recommendation for the size of the proposal or of the individual sections. You should keep in mind that the Commission and the independent experts have limited time to read and assess all proposals received. The proposal must, however, give all necessary information to understand what you are going to do and how it is going to be done.
Q: I would like to know if the forms A1 to A4 of the Call for proposals 2006/1 need to be signed and dated.
A: Since the introduction of on-line submission in 2005, no signatures in any form are required at the proposal submission phase. However, at the time of submission of the proposal, the co-ordinator must have in his possession legal and financial documents from all participants (see section III.3 of the guide for proposers). By submitting a proposal, the co-ordinator declares that (s)he is acting on behalf of the consortium, all of whom
- are aware of the proposal;
- agree with its content and submission;
- have the necessary internal authorizations to participate;
- are not subject to a prejudicial legal or financial situation and have not been found guilty of grave professional misconduct.
Q: Is it possible for members that a person different from the legal representative signs the A2?
A: Members have to provide the A2 form. The person mentioned in the form must be the person who is involved in the preparation of the proposal and is authorized to represent the organisation. The form does not have to be signed.
Q: Criterion 'E5' of the eligibility criteria (p. 10 in the Work Programme) states that 'Declaration of the National Authority that the proposal is in the common interest.' needs to be obtained. Who is the National Authority?
A: The list of National Authorities can be found on the website. Please do not wait until the last days before the call closes to contact the National Authorities. The information how, when and from whom the national agreement has been obtained need to be filled into form A4 of the proposal.
Q: Who would be responsible for getting this 'National agreement'?
A: To obtain the agreement, the co-ordinator of a consortium must contact the National Authority in his Member State.
Q: In the electronic proposal submission process by means
of the EPSS tool, the only method of obtaining the "national
agreement" on the A4 form appears to be the oral one. In that case, how can
the Commission ensure that the co-ordinator has, in fact, received the
A: The co-ordinator may obtain the approval of the national authority either orally or in writing. This is between the co-ordinator and his/her National Authority to decide. On the A4 form the co-ordinator only has to inform the Commission how, when and from whom the "national agreement" was obtained. As in all other A-forms, there is also no need to include any proof or signature in the A4 form. If there should be any doubts or questions regarding the "national agreement" after receiving the proposal, the Commission will contact the National Authority to resolve these, using the information provided on the A4 form.
Q: Do all the partners have to submit the financial viability form to the coordinator?
A: No, only beneficiaries (who are not public institutions) have to use the Financial Viability Tool (FVT, available at the eTEN web-site), fill it in, print it and sign it. The signed forms must be sent to the co-ordinator who must keep them on file until requested by the Commission to produce them.
Q: Do public institutions, which are obviously financially viable, have to fill in the financial viability form?
A: No, public institutions do not have to send the financial viability form to the coordinator. However they have to provide the coordinator with other documents (see section III.3 of the guide for proposers.
Q: Does a member of a consortium need to submit the financial viability form to the coordinator?
A: No, see above.
Q: On the financial viability form it says that we have to explain the Cost Share of participants. Could you explain what this ‘cost share’ means? Exactly what type of figures are we supposed to put in the two blank slots under ‘cost share’?
A: The cost share rows in
the form are used to calculate the total amount participants have to invest in
their EU funded projects. One row should be added for each of these projects,
also those that have not yet started. The individual fields in each row shall
- the project acronym,
- the status (selected from the menu),
- the actual start date of the project (not for projects with the status "not started")
- the contractual duration in months,
- the total amount of eligible costs for the participant and
- the total amount of EU contribution for the participant.
Q: Is the filling in of ‘Cost Share Data’ in the financial viability form mandatory or optional?
A: It is mandatory.
Q: Is it needed to fill in the financial data of all the EU-funded projects (completed, running, future) or only the running projects at the moment of proposal submission?
A: All projects running and proposals under negotiation or on reserve lists awaiting negotiation need to be filled in.
Q: What does it mean ‘Participant Own Share (In Period)’ and ‘Participant Own Share (Annual)’?
A: These two figures will be calculated by the tool, when the project data is filled in. For technical reasons, a hypothetical starting date is used for the calculations of these two amounts. The "periodical amount" covers the whole duration of the proposed project from this hypothetical date, while the "annual" amount covers the first twelve months from this date.
Q: What does ‘shared cost’ project mean?
A: "Shared cost projects" are those for which a contribution from the European Union is granted. These are in principle all projects under any Community support programmes (e.g. FP5, FP6, eContent, Culture2000, ...), as opposed to public tenders, which are fully financed by the requesting institution.
Q: For market validation projects, the Guide for
Proposers says that milestones are not compulsory in the investment plan. How
shall we present the investment cost then?
A: In all eTEN proposals, an estimate or a plan for the total investment costs has to be given, as described in the Guide for Proposers, Section II and Annex 4. These investment costs cover both phases, the market validation and the initial deployment phase, and exclude costs outside these phases.
The table of investment cost in Part B of the proposal shall provide a breakdown of the investments. This breakdown should be presented with enough detail to allow a judgment, that the underlying figures are realistic and necessary for the project.
For initial deployment projects, the investment amounts shall also be assigned to the milestones of the project.
For market validation projects, it is not mandatory to provide a breakdown by milestones, but the total amounts (last column of the table) must be given.
Q: When will the online submission tool for proposals be available?
A: All tools for submission and preparation will be available on the eTEN website shorly after the call has been published.
Q: Will the call documentation be available in other languages?
A: The text of the call for proposals is available in all Community languages. The work programme is available in English, French and German. The Guide for Proposers is available in English and the Evaluation Manual will be available in English. No further translations are foreseen.
Q: I would like to know if there is a partner search service to this programme in order to find partners to prepare proposals.
A: The National Contact Points (NCP's ) in the participating countries are especially equipped to help you find partners in their countries. The NCPs can be found on the eTEN website (section Contacts: /information_society/activities/eten/contacts/index_en.htm). In addition, there is a partner search tool available on our website.
Call for Experts 2005/2006
Q: I would like to be an expert for the evaluation of call 2006/1. By when do I need to submit my application?
A: You are advised to submit your application by the end of March 2006. Experts will be invited according to the expertise needed for the evaluation.
Q: I applied to act as an occasional expert for the eTEN programme but did not receive information whether my application was successful or not. How can I know this?
A: The Commission needs experts for project reviews and evaluations of project proposals. In both cases a selection of experts will be made from the experts database depending on the expertise that is needed for the specific task. When an expert is selected to assist the Commission for a review or evaluation, (s)he will be contacted.
After an expert registered her/his profile, there is no further communication. Experts that already registered their profile can check it in the experts database using their login and password.