EMFF Blue economy window call - FAQ

Please find below the generic FAQ about EMFF calls for proposals. All applicants are kindly invited to consult this general FAQ section first.

A. Eligibility – for profit SMEs

A. 1. Given that the letter of intent required is part of the annexes of the proposal (not the main evaluated sections), is it mandatory to provide any or not?

As indicated in section 10 of the Call for proposals, the letter of intent constitutes a mandatory element. If you do not upload the requested document, you will not be able to submit your proposal. Please be aware that, as stated on pages 6 and 7 of the Call for proposals as well as footnote n°23, the letter must indicate such elements as the name of the recipient company, name of the investor, type of investment support, amount, date, signature.
 
A. 2. You talk about investors and letter from a recognized investors, so a self-financed company is still eligible for this programme?

Recognised investors and fund management bodies appear in the lists of financial intermediaries (FI) for equity and guarantees selected under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). These lists feature a wide range of organisations but they are not exclusive. 
Letter of intent and self-financing are two different things. The letter of intent has the purpose of demonstrating that the project has sufficient traction with customers and investors to make it sustainable. The remaining costs should come from: 

  • the beneficiary's own resources;
  • income generated by the action;
  • financial contributions from third parties

Beneficiaries may also rely on in-kind contributions by third parties. If against payment, they can be charged as project costs; if for free, which is not prohibited, they will be cost-neutral (i.e. cannot be declared as project costs).  As regards the second point above, please note that EU grants may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the beneficiary. If the project generates income by itself, the corresponding profit will be recovered by EASME. Profit is defined as a surplus of the receipts over the total eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary when the request for payment of the balance is made (i.e. when the final report and financial statement are submitted to EASME).
 
A. 3. It says that you have to receive "a letter from a recognised investor". What is meant by ”recognized”? Is a Letter of Intent from any private investor okay?
 
See reply given above.
 
A. 4. Regarding the letter of intent, do we need to have a financial intermediary, which will provide with the rest of the funding not covered by the call?
 
No.The remaining costs should come from: 

  • the beneficiary's own resources;
  • income generated by the action;
  • financial contributions from third parties

Beneficiaries may also rely on in-kind contributions by third parties. If against payment, they can be charged as project costs; if for free, which is not prohibited, they will be cost-neutral (i.e. cannot be declared as project costs).  As regards the second point above, please note that EU grants may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the beneficiary. If the project generates income by itself, the corresponding profit will be recovered by EASME. Profit is defined as a surplus of the receipts over the total eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary when the request for payment of the balance is made (i.e. when the final report and financial statement are submitted to EASME).
 
A. 5. Is the EUR 2.5 million the maximum EU contribution or the maximum budget?
 
EASME considers that proposals requesting a contribution in the range between EUR 700 000 and EUR 2 500 000 would allow the specific objectives of the Call topic to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
 
A. 6.  What’s the difference with the EIC-SMEi P2 or accelerator? It looks like a parallel call with the same target and objectives. Was success rate of BG SMEs too low?
 
It is a paradigm shift under EMFF direct management from "traditional grants" to SMEs focused grants in the same vein as the SME instrument – Phase 2 and new EIC accelerator programme from which this call draws inspiration from.
Grants to be awarded under this call for proposals are also branded as "BlueInvest Grants" since they are part of a comprehensive service package offered by the ‘BlueInvest platform’ that supports investment readiness and access to finance for early-stage businesses, SMEs and scale-ups in the blue economy.
 
A. 7. Could a funded SME benefit from the EIC community activities?
 
The EIC Community brings together all the people that interact around the EIC. For the moment, the Community is open for EIC pilot-funded small companies under Fast Track to Innovation, Pathfinder, EIC Accelerator, and investors.
In contrast, the BlueInvest Community is open to entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and innovation stakeholders interested in the Blue Economy.
 
A. 8. Do you leverage from the experience of the EIC programme? Meaning synergies with EIC Community, coaches, etc.
 
Yes, EASME takes everyadvantage to facilitate synergies between the programmes it manages, notably between EMFF and EIC.
 
A. 9. The consortium has to be led by a SME, but has to consist of SMEs exclusively?

Yes, only for-profit SMEs.

A. 10. Are seawater desalination projects eligible?

EASME cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of an applicant, a partner, an action or specific activities of a particular project (i.e. there is no pre-screening checks of project proposals).
Please refer to Section 2 on Objectives – Scope - activities – expected impact of the Call text.

A.11. Can components of a bigger system (turbine) be funded?

EASME cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of an applicant, a partner, an action or specific activities of a particular project (i.e. there is no pre-screening checks of project proposals).
Please refer to Section 2 on Objectives – Scope - activities – expected impact of the Call text.

A.12. If the letter of intent is dated June 2019, is it ok? Or is it too old?

It depends on how relevant the letter of intent appears to be in respect of your application and the purpose of the call. Its contents should be pertinent enough to convince the evaluators of its validity.

A.13. Subcontracting should be limited, but if we need to build a major equipment outside of our own SME; should it be under subcontracting or under equipment?

Please refer to question 24 of the general FAQs on EMFF calls for proposals.

A.14. We are an SME that could participate in both the EIC Accelerator and EMFF Blue Invest – Grants call for proposals in the first quarter of 2020. We would like to know if it is possible to apply for both calls to maximize our chance of success?

Applicants should remain aware of the fact that the scope, objectives and eligibility conditions governing the two calls are not strictly identical. However, please note that according to the non-cumulative award and double funding principle, the same activity cannot be funded twice. Any given action may receive only one grant from the EU budget. Cost items cannot be declared twice under different EU actions.

A.15. The project concerns technology innovations that are in advanced development, and close to launch to market. However, this development has been funded in part by a domestic UK agency, Innovate UK. As Innovate UK is not an European Union funding body, we believe that we would still qualify to present the project to Blue Invest. Please, could you confirm if our understanding is correct?

Recognised investors and fund management bodies appear in the lists of financial intermediaries (FI) for equity and guarantees (see answer to question A.2) selected under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). These lists feature a wide range of organisations but they are not exclusive.

For UK applicants: please see answer to question A.24.

A.16. In Horizon 2020, Greenland is an Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) and can be a partner in Horizon 2020. Does this also apply to the grants in BlueInvest - Grants?

In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicants must be legally established in EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories OCTs). OCTs are listed in the call text in compliance with Annex II of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU.

A.17. We are preparing a proposal for the Blue Economy Window Call for a demonstration project outside Europe’s sea basins. From the Decision by the European Commission, it seems that such a project is not eligible for this specific call for geographical reasons: “The aim is to bring to market new products, services and business models in blue economy value chains and sustainable blue growth in Europe's sea basins.” However, in the funding & tender portal part of the expected impact of the project is related to seizing new market and business opportunities in the EU and beyond.
Does this mean that the project has to be established within Europe’s sea basins but that the project should have market potential outside the EU? Could you please elaborate on the exact geographical requirement of the project for this Call?

In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicants must be legally established in EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories OCTs). Applicants established in non-EU countries can exceptionally be considered eligible if their involvement is necessary in view of the nature of the action and in order to reach its objectives.

EASME cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of an applicant, a partner, an action or specific activities of a particular project (i.e. there is no pre-screening checks of project proposals). 

A.18. If an Israeli company is providing disruptively innovative technology for a project in the Call areas of interest and part of project activities are in Israel, is that Israeli SME eligible to participate in the Call?

In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicants must be legally established in EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories OCTs). Applicants established in non-EU countries can exceptionally be considered eligible if their involvement is necessary in view of the nature of the action and in order to reach its objectives.  

A.19. Hardware costs for production facilities are recognised fully our just their depreciation part?

Only the depreciation costs of equipment (new or second-hand) used for the project are eligible. For more information, please refer to question 30 of the EMFF General FAQs.


A.20. Are start-ups eligible?

A start-up can be eligible, as long as it meets the general and specific eligibility conditions of the call, including the condition of being a for-profit SME according to the definition of the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC. In this respect, the start-up needs to comply with the conditions defined in the SME self-assessment questionnaire.

A start-up can be eligible, as long as it meets the general and specific eligibility conditions of the call, including the condition of being a for-profit SME according to the definition of the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC. In this respect, the start-up needs to comply with the conditions defined in the SME self-assessment questionnaire.

In particular, a start-up will be asked to complete the SME self-assessment wizard, which is a prerequisite for being able to submit its application for this call. Detailed information on the wizard is available in the Portal Online Manual IT How To

Tip: If you have started preparing your proposal in the Submission System before having completed your SME self-assessment in the Participant Register, you have to update your PIC data in the Submission System after having finalized the SME self-assessment. 

Please note that for this call, you will also need to be validated as for profit entity, meaning that if you have been validated previously with another status, you will need to update your status in the Participant Register and your LEAR may have to request a revision of the non-profit status. For details, see the Portal Online Manual Data update page.

As regards start-ups/ young companies/ early stage spin-offs, please be reminded of the provisions in section 7 on financial capacity, which requires that all project participants must have stable and sufficient resources to successfully implement the project and contribute their share. The financial capacity check will be done by the Commission services on the basis of the documents you will upload in the Participant Register at the Grant Agreement preparation phase.

A.21.   Are there non-EU ownership rules for participating SMEs; for example, an EU company partly owned by a US-based investor?

The call does not include ownership rules/conditions for participating SMEs.

According to the call, an applicant - in order to be eligible for a grant - must:

  • be exclusively for-profit SMEs’ e.g. micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, that are not 'non-profit legal entities' (i.e. ‘legal entity which by its legal form is non profit-making or which has a legal or statutory obligation not to distribute profits to its shareholders or individual members’) 
  • be legally established in EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories- OCTs)

The question of ownership of an entity established in the EU is not relevant to its SME status; therefore if an entity fulfils the criteria of the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC and  is legally established in an EU Member State (i.e. it is as a legal person created, recognised and registered as such under the law of a Member State of the EU), it is to be treated as an EU SME for the needs of this call.

Disclaimer: the answer or information contained in this message is based on the information provided by you, which may not be sufficiently detailed or complete to provide a full and correct answer or response to your question. EASME is committed to providing accurate information through the enquiry services, however, the information provided has no binding nature. EASME cannot be held liable for any use made of this information or for its accuracy.

A.22. Is it necessary to have both a letter of intent of an investor and a letter of intent of customer of is one of the two enough (e.g. letter of customer)?

As per the definition in Section 1, pages 6 and 7 of the Call for proposals - Blue Economy SME Window call 2019 - EMFF-BEW-2019 a “letter of intent” consists either in:

a letter from a recognised investor who intends to invest in the product/service/solution provided that the work described in the submitted proposal is carried out accordingly.

or

a letter from a client who will buy the product or service on this basis. It shall mention the name of investor, type of investment support, amount, duration, date and signature.

A.23. Only the depreciation costs of equipment (new or second-hand) used for the project are eligible. For more information, please refer to question 30 of the EMFF General FAQs.
Could you please precise what you mean by second-hand ?

Second hand equipment refers to equipment purchased which is not new at the time of purchase, meaning it has been previously owned by another person/entity than the beneficiary. The same depreciation rules as for new equipment applies, including the depreciation based on the purchase cost.
 

A.24. How are UK applicants getting affected by the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement of 1 February 2020?

The Withdrawal Agreement as agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom entered into force on 1 February 2020. In overall terms, on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK-based legal entities will continue to be fully eligible to participate and receive funding in the current 2014-2020 EU programmes, including EMFF, as if the UK were a member state until the closure of these programmes, unless security considerations apply. This means that UK beneficiaries can continue – without interruption – to receive grants awarded under the current and previous MFFs until their end dates, even if these are after 2020.

A.25. I would like to clarify the following regarding the Customer Letter of Intent.

The customer intends to buy a product that it is not yet produced in a large scale and it is currently under pilot development. Therefore there is no official estimation of the cost and subsequently of the commercial price of the product. In the call it is reported that in the letter from a client the amount of the transaction should be included. In case of no commercial price at the moment, how could we calculate the amount?

Can we give an indicative price of the product per item, that might be altered, or is it possible not to include an amount and state that the amount will be calculated afterwards?

The letter of intent is the mandatory annex 6 to the technical Proposal Template (part B). The letter does not need to comply with a specific formal template but must indicate elements such as the name of the recipient company, name of the investor/ customer, type of investment support/ customer order, amount, date, signature, duration. Therefore the templates provided in the call as letters of intent serve only as examples. In the case of customers letters, applicants may use the template as example and include in the letter the aforementioned elements (name , price etc…) as well as any additional piece of information the applicants see relevant provided that its content is supported/substantiated by reasonable explanations necessary for the understanding of the evaluators. Within the above context, in case a precise actual commercial price is not yet available, the price can be in the form of an indicative amount; the calculation of the amount needs to be supported by reasonable explanations.

A.26. My understanding is that submitting a business plan and a commercialisation plan is mandatory at proposal stage. If the proposal is submitted by the consortium: do you require a business plan for each consortium member (SME) or would a business plan for the main company in the consortium or a business plan for the combination of two companies be sufficient?

The business and first commercialisation plans are indeed mandatory at submission stage. They should be aligned with the described project. It should not a be a juxtaposition of business and commercialisation plans of the different partners in a consortium.

A.27. Is it possible to change your company structure during the project period from, for instance, a partnership firm into a Private or Ltd company? Or, for instance, between the initial selection round and the signing of the grant agreement?

Yes, however the beneficiary must comply with the eligibility criteria stated in the call text during the whole duration of the action.
 

B. Evaluation process and award criteria


B.1. The 'Impact' does not seem to take into account indicators reflecting some EU's priority related to environmental impacts, climate change and societal issues?!
 
Under “Expected impacts” (page 8 of the call for proposals - Blue Economy SME Window call 2019 EMFF-BEW-2019), projects are expected to:
“Generate a measurable social and environmental impact contributing to EU goals such as decarbonisation, circular economy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDG 14).
Besides, the “Impact” evaluation criterion does address “environmental impact, climate change and societal issues” under sub-criterion “European added value” featuring, on the one hand; “contribution to EU goals and UN SDGs as listed in the call text”. On the other hand, it refers to “Contribution of the proposed innovation to EU growth and the creation or maintenance of high quality jobs in the EU” (see page 13 of the Call for proposals - Blue Economy SME Window call 2019 EMFF-BEW-2019).
According to the call text, the non-exclusive list of objectives that can be funded, includes such EU political objectives as: lower greenhouse gas emissions, a more circular economy, energy security, adaptation to climate change, inclusion of coastal communities, creation of high-value blue economy jobs, better protection, sustainable use of natural or cultural capital (see page 7 of the Call for proposals - Blue Economy SME Window call 2019 EMFF-BEW-2019).
Finally, the mandatory EMFF Project Indicators table (annex 3 to Part B) unequivocally requires applicants to define project success indicators encompassing the Blue economy sector but also the environmental and societal fields.
 
B.2. Why is the evaluation does not directly cover issues on EU's priorities and policy objectives (climate change, ocean's health, societal issues...)?
 
See question B.1.
 
B.3. Has a consortium more chances of winning than a single company?
 
No. 
The applications can be submitted by a consortium of partners or a single applicant. 
The consortium coordinator or the single applicant submitting the application has to be established in an EU Member State.    
 
B.4. With 22,5 million, around 10 to 20 projects will be funded. What’s the expected success rate?
 
The success rate will depend on the number and the quality of projects submitted.
 
B.5. TRL6 implies testing in "relevant environment" / "in the sea". Must this be complete before application, or planned as part of the proposed project?
 
As this action does not seek to support an early stage research project but an initiative likely to reach commercialisation stage at the end of the project. Therefore, proposals that do not demonstrate a minimum of TRL6, at the time of the application, are likely to receive a lower evaluation score under the “Innovation” criterion.
 
B.6. Could you remind us the max annual balance of the SME?
 
Recommendation 2003/361/EC setting out the definition of a Small-and-Medium-sized Enterprise states that the Balance Sheet total should be lower or equal to EUR 43 million.
 
https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-defin...;

B. 7.The call text says that projects are expected to haveTRL6-8. Does that mean that you need to have TRL5 at the time of application or TRL6?

See reply given to question B.5.

B. 8. What are the expected results?

Please see Section 2 on Objectives – Scope – activities – expected impacts of the Call text.

B.9. Does the required amount influence the selection criteria? That is to say that, for two projects with the same scoring, has a proposal requesting a contribution of EUR 800 000, more chance than a proposal requesting a contribution of EUR 2 500 000?

The requested amount is not a selection criterion.  In the case of ex-aequo proposals (proposals given the same consensus score), the following method is applied: Proposals are first prioritised according to scores given for the award criterion 'impact'. Where those scores are equal, priority is then determined using scores for the award criterion 'innovation'. If a distinction still cannot be made, a further prioritisation can be done by considering the overall project portfolio and the creation of positive synergies between projects, and/or other factors related to the objectives of the call for proposals (including geographical coverage).

B.10. Can a project which has reached the TRL 9 (actual system proven in operational environment) but that is still only at the minimum level of its development (10% of the desired level of development) and therefore has a significant margin for commercial progress on a wider geographical scale, be considered eligible under this call ? 
 
The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) does not constitute an eligibility criterion for this call. This aspect will be assessed during evaluation in the light of the published award criteria, notably criterion  “Innovation”  under innovation potential: “Description of your innovation, its current development stage referring to Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) (see General Annex G of the H2020 Work Programme) and progress beyond state of the art.

B.11. Our ambitious industrial and deep tech project needs Eur XXm to reach the market.
We already have part of the project (Eur XXm) that is going to be financed by a grant from the ADEME, the French Environment & Energy Management Agency.
We would like to ask for a Eur XXm grant from the EU to complete our budget
The remaining Eur XXm will be financed on private equities.

To be coherent (and transparent in terms of cost/grant allocations) in the description of our project, we would like to describe the whole Eur XXm project (financial structure of the project) in the call.
Is this ok?

The published award criteria, notably criterion  “Impact”  under “Market uptake and increase of private investment” calls for the description of “Plans for subsequent financing of the proposed innovation, notably leverage of private co-investment and/or follow up investments.”

Besides, under section 3.5 “Resources and cost efficiency” and its sub-section “Resources” of the proposal template, applicants should explain how their project represents good value for money and describe how they ensure cost efficiency in the estimated budget (taking into account the project set-up, budget and outputs and deliverables).

 

B.12. Is it allowed to subcontract a task to the entity which have signed the "Customer Letter of Intent (LoI)", in our case a large company? Is there any risk that this might be considered as a conflict of interest? 

The rules on sub-contracting under article 10.1 of the Grant Agreement foresee that “ The beneficiaries must award the subcontracts ensuring the best value for money or, if appropriate, the lowest price. In doing so, they must avoid any conflict of interests “.
This falls under the general obligation of the beneficiaries to avoid “any situation constituting or likely to lead to a conflict of interests” (see article 20 of the Grant Agreement). In this respect, the beneficiaries must ensure that the action (project) is implemented impartially and objectively, thus must do their best to avoid conflicts of interest or even a risk of conflict of interests.  Please note that a conflict of interests exists if shared/economic interests influenced the subcontractor’s selection by the beneficiary.

All the above elements will be taken in due consideration at all stages of the lifecycle of the proposal/grant, i.e. during the evaluation of the submitted proposal as well as during the implementation of the action  (in case the proposal is successful and finally funded).

Please note that the above information is based on the info provided in your question and is without prejudice to the evaluation of the proposal and its further handling.
 

B.13. Is it necessary to provide the CVs of the proposed team members? If it is not mandatory to provide CVs, would it be good to include them as an additional annex, or are they not needed at all?

As per section 6. Award criteria, sub-criterion 1 under criterion “Implementation” of Blue Economy SME Window call 2019 EMFF-BEW-2019, applicants are requested to describe, in Part B of their proposal, the project team(s), their achievements and experience (underlining strengths and weaknesses); their roles within the project (including those of the company owner(s), staff and experts).

Although applicants may freely lay out the requested elements, they still have to comply with the formatting rules of the BEWC proposal template (see reply to question C.15.).
 

C. Other issues  

C. 1. We would like a confirmation that a Blue Economy Call for proposals will be published again in 2020 and that there is a work programme for 2020?
This current call for proposals is launched in accordance with the 2019 work programme for the implementation of the European Maritime Fisheries Fund. The European Commission will prepare a 2020 work programme for the implementation of the EMFF dealing the different planned actions . Its adoption should take place in the coming weeks.

C. 2. I went through the supporting documents for the Blue Invest Grant call and I downloaded the templates needed to fill the application. The excel budget table do not allow me to insert data and request a password. The Part B template and annexes are due to be fill in as document file but only a pdf file is available with a watermark “Example, not to complete”
Could you tell me where I can find the excel and document templates?

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

C.3. We read from the model grant agreement that pre-financing is applicable to this call, we would just like to ask if you can confirm , and roughly to what extent of the 70% co-financing could this be; e.g. more or less 50% of the 70% of project ?

As stipulated in the call text, after grant signature, EASME will provide you with a float to start working on the project (pre-financing of 40% of the maximum grant amount; exceptionally less or no pre-financing).

C.4. Is there any way of achieving a pre-ruling / checking eligibility of a specific company from a non-member state before investing time and effort in submission process and misleading consortium partners? 

EASME cannot give a prior opinion on the eligibility of an applicant, a partner, an action or specific activities of a particular project (i.e. there is no pre-screening checks of project proposals). See answer given to question 3 of the general FAQs on EMFF calls for proposals.

C.5. I have a question regarding the chapter on Financial Capacity. As I read it, entrepreneurs who apply, and who has not yet finished a financial year, should provide a business plan instead of accounts and balance sheets. But does that mean, that a company which is less than a year old, cannot apply for more than EUR 750 000? Since they then have to provide an audit report documenting the last financial year.

The call (Section 7 - Financial Capacity) identifies the documents to be provided by the applicants for the assessment of their financial-capacity. These documents are not part of the eligibility check but part of the financial capacity check of the project’s participants. 

In case the applicant is not in a position to provide the requested documents, the financial capacity check will be carried out by the Commission services on the basis of any other available document submitted by the participant. As stipulated in the call, if the financial capacity of project participants is considered as not satisfactory, it may be required: 

  • further information; 
  • an enhanced financial responsibility regime, i.e. full joint and several responsibility for all applicants;
  • (one or more) pre-financing guarantees 

or 

  • propose no pre-financing; 
  • reject participation or, if needed, the entire application.


C.6. Is there not a conflict between no profit rule and investor's letter of intent and investor's or potential customer's letter doesn't mean potential profit?

The “No-profit principle” is applicable to grant beneficiaries under the conditions of article 192 of the EU Financial Regulation throughout the duration of the action (project) until the project is completed and the final payment (payment of the balance) is made.
In particular, Article 192 of the EU Financial Regulation provides:

  1. “ Grants shall not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action or the work programme of the beneficiary (‘no-profit principle’).
  2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, a profit shall be defined as a surplus, calculated at the payment of the balance, of receipts over the eligible costs of the action or work programme, where receipts are limited to the Union grant and the revenue generated by that action or work programme.[...]”

Letters of intent mean to demonstrate the economic viability of the action (project) after its completion.

C.7. Could non-for-profit entities or universities participate without requesting funding?

The call does not provide for the possibility of participation of entities without funding.

C.8. Is it possible for an entity located in one member state (Spain) to submit an application for a project that will be implemented in another member state (Portugal)? The implementation of this project will be the responsibility of the branch that the company created in Portugal.

Applicants must be legally established in EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories - OCTs); activities that can be funded are described in section 2 of the call under “Scope and activities that can be funded”.
These activities should demonstrate the European added value by illustrating the European dimension of the planned activities, including the trans-national dimension of the project, see “Expected impacts” in section 2 of the call section as well as section 2.4 “European added value” of the proposal template.)

C.9. Will there be a second blue economy call for proposals apart from the current call with deadline on the 27th of February 2020? 
At the Info Day in November and in the FAQ for the current Blue Economy call, you have hinted that their might be a second Blue Economy call for proposals in 2020. 
In the annex to the work programme for 2020, there is a description on page 11-13 of a Blue Economy call, but it says on under indicative timetable that: “Grant agreement to be concluded in the first quarter of 2020”. 
Does this mean that you will conclude some internal grant agreement in the beginning of 2020 in order to launch a new call with deadline in 2020 or 2021?
Or, is the description in the work programme for 2020 just extra information about the current call?
In the FAQ (part C1) for the current call you write about “publishing the call again” which does not totally clarify if it is a new call.

As stated on page 12, under Section 2.1.8 Blue Economy Window, of the Annex to the Commission Implementing Decision C(2019) 8977 on the financing of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the adoption of the work programme for 2020, the timetable referring to the conclusion of grant agreements remains strictly indicative. It is likely that this timetable will be updated in the coming months. The indicative timetable in the work programme for 2020, is unrelated to the Blue Economy Window call for proposals (point 1.2.1.9) published on 21 November 2019 and based on the Annex to Commission Implementing Decision C(2018) 8395 of 13 December 2018 on the financing of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the adoption of the work programme for 2019.  
Item C1 of the FAQs constitutes a verbatim question posed by an applicant and published as such on our webpage.

C.10. Currently “company X”  is preparing the project application for the “Blue Energy grant”. The project will be implemented with partners, one of which will participate in-kind. Since, the company is large and would not claim its costs from the grant, how should we represent and prove the partnership?  

Does the company needs to request a PIC number, to perform self-assessment and to be added in project application Part A? Or, is it enough with a letter of approval (or something like that)  attached to the project annexes? 

Even more, in EMFF Call for proposals, page 18, is said that all consortium partners have to sign a declaration of honour (DoH). Where can we find the template for this? And is it enough that in-kind partner signs this document?

If the above questions mean to address the conditions governing the application for the BlueInvest Grants (ID:EMFF-BEW-2019), please refer to the answer given to question 23 of the general FAQ section as well as to question A.9. of the EMFF Blue economy window call - FAQ

In Section 7 of the of the Call for proposals - Blue Economy SME Window call 2019 - EMFF-BEW-2019, the item situated in the text box on page 18, with title Coordinator & consortium, states the following: 
“The coordinator represents the consortium towards the EU. You must have agreement of the other members and their mandate to act on their behalf and will have to confirm this in your application. Moreover you will have to declare that the information in the proposal is correct and complete and that all participants comply with the conditions for receiving funding (especially, eligibility, financial and operational capacity, no exclusion, etc.) and have agreed to participate. Before signing the grant agreement, each participant will have to confirm this again by signing a declaration of honour (DoH). Proposals without full support will be rejected.”

For your information, the template for the Declaration of honour (DoH) may be downloaded from the following page:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/ho...


C.11. I am preparing a proposal to be submitted under the Blue Economy Window call. On the proposal template word document, it seems that it is only allowed to include text in each field (as it says "insert text"). Should all the images/ graphical content and tables that I want to include on Section 1, 2 and 3 be included on the Annex?

Besides the text, the relevant parts of the Proposal Template (Part B) should allow for the insertion of graphs and pictures. Please however remember that the maximum size file is limited to 10 MB and the page limit of the proposal (Part B) should be no more than 45 pages. Annexes are not subject to a page limit.  

C.12. The Guide for Applicants (p. 12) indicates that « Other annexes » have to be uploaded as a single PDF file.
The template of Annex 2 (Operational Capacity fiche) indicates that only one file can be uploaded, and that documents need to be merged in a single PDF file.
Does this mean that All annexes have to be bundled in a single PDF file.
Or only Annex 4 (Business Plan), Annex 5 (Commercialisation Plan) and Annex 6 (Letters of Intent) together (the so-called « Other annexes")?
Or all annexes merged together with Part B?
And are annexes included in the 45 pages limit?

For Annex 1 and Annex 2 for which, instructions specify that the various parts have to be attached as a single PDF. Annex 3 - EMFF Project Indicators table , Annex 4 - Business plan, Annex 5 - First commercialisation plan, Annex 6 - Letter of intent (from investor and/or customer) and other annexes - Pitch deck presentation have to be uploaded separately into their relevant and respective placeholders in the submission interface.  Besides, please refer to question C.11 on this page.

C.13. Could you provide some guidance for completing Annex 3: EMFF Project Indicators? It is unclear what content is expected in columns C, D and E. 
Also, should the indicators be estimated at project end date, or after successful project results exploitation (which is a few years later)? 

As indicated in the heading of column C of Annex 3 to Part B - Project Indicators BE call 2019, applicants are requested to provide an estimated result, in absolute value, of the outcome expected from the project. In column D, whenever relevant and depending on the chosen indicator, applicants may include an estimated result, in percentage or not, of the outcome expected from the project, demonstrating thereby the change between a given state of play at N and that at N+1; the latter occurring at the end of the project or as a result thereof.

C.14. Will applicants receive a very detailed Evaluation Summary Report (ESR)?

Applicants receive an Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) providing an overall weighted score along with a qualitative assessment for each sub-criterion using the following scale:
- Very Good to Excellent (4.50 – 5.00)
- Good to Very Good (3.50 – 4.49)
- Fair to Good (2.50 – 3.49)
- Insufficient to Fair (1.50 – 2.49)
- Insufficient (0.00-1.49)

In addition, in step 2, those applicants invited in Brussels for an interview receive, in their Evaluation Summary Report (ESR), a final score (A or B), as well as specific comments related to the three award criteria addressing the following aspects:
- Innovation - The feasibility
- Impact – The commercialisation
- Implementation – The team

All comments included in the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR), for the proposals in step 2, refer to the jury panel's assessment based on the interview.


C.15. Regarding the margin, it is mentioned in the template that the margin should be of (top, bottom, left and right): at least 15 mm (not including headers & footers). The template provided on the platform has a 2.8mm margin: can we spread the table up until reaching 15mm to the edge of the sheet ?
 
Yes. Please note that aside from margins (top, bottom, left and right) of at least 15 mm (not including headers & footers), the other formatting rules governing the BEWC proposal template consist of:
 
- Page limit: 45 pages 
- Supporting documents can be provided as an annex and do not count towards the page limit
- Minimum font size — Arial 8 points 
- Page size: A4  

C.16. In the proposal template for part B, I noted that it states the following: 

Please do NOT delete any instructions in the document. The overall page-limit has been raised to ensure equal treatment of applicants.
The page limit is 45 pages so does this mean we should leave all the instruction/explanatory text in our final application document? 

To be clear, as an example, for section 1.1: 

1.1 Objectives, scope and methodology
Objectives, scope and methodology
Describe the overall and specific objectives for the project, which should be clear, measurable, realistic and achievable within the duration of the project. 
Objectives should be consistent with the expected exploitation and impact of the project (see section 2).
Indicate the work programme topic to which your proposal relates, and explain how your proposal addresses the scope of that topic, as set out in the work programme.
Outline the soundness of the concept and credibility of the proposed methodology.
Insert text

Do we have to leave all the descriptive text in and just add our own text in the available box?
In the case of the work package tables, where the same table is repeated many times (more than 3 times for instance), is it ok to leave the instructions on the first table but not on subsequent copies?

As stated in the Important Notice box of Proposal (Part B), do not delete any instructions in the template. You may however remove the indication “Insert text” from the textbox (white background) in which you are invited to describe your proposal.      
In case of multiple work packages, you must copy the template for work package 2, as it is, and as many times as necessary.  
 

 

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