Each call for proposals or tenders has its own criteria, requirements and steps. Your chosen call will guide you through the application process.
After you have determined you are eligible by fulfilling the criteria indicated in the specific call, you might need to register in a specific data base– the call guidelines will specify whether and how you need to do that. You might also want to wish to find a partner.
To prepare and submit your proposal will take a while, so make sure you begin well in advance. All the documents and templates you will need to use will be listed in the guidelines for your chosen call – be sure to follow them closely. If you fail to do so, the contracting authority might disqualify your proposal as inadmissible.
In order to get EU funding, one needs to follow certain rules and procedures. This is inevitable – we need to make sure that every euro is spent in a transparent and correct way, to the benefit of EU citizens. However, the EU is also constantly working to simplify and modernise its budgetary rules and to make sure people can access EU funding to finance their ideas.
To be considered, your application needs to be complete, concise, and submitted on time through the electronic submission system.
EU funded programmes are implemented in one of three ways: direct management, shared management, or indirect management. The application process differs depending on the mode and the programme you are applying for. Learn more about management modes.
The application process has to go through the Funding and Tenders portal of the European Commission. For both grants and tenders, the typical application process includes finding a call for which you are eligible, finding a project partner, creating an account of the Portal, registering your organisation and submitting a proposal.
The Member States’ administrations are in charge of the selection and award procedures, and of the monitoring and management, including payments.
Member States have to comply with the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR), a joint legal framework for eight shared management funds:
- The European Regional Development Fund,
- the Cohesion Fund,
- the European Social Fund Plus,
- the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and, as new elements compared to 2014-2020:
- the Just Transition Fund,
- the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund,
- the Border Management and Visa Instrument, and
- the Internal Security Fund.
Find more information on the page of regional and national funding authorities for the 2014-2020 EU budget. A webpage with contact points per Member State including funding from the programmes of the 2021-2027 EU budget is under construction.
If you apply for funds managed by an implementing partner under indirect management, you will need to comply with the application process set up by this implementing partner that will act as contracting authority. You will need to check on the website of the implementing partner the specific requirements for the application process.
Below are examples of websites of implementing partners awarding EU funds under indirect management.
- United Nations (UN) family
- World bank
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- Council of Europe
- African Development Bank
- Asian Development Bank
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- International Committee and Federation of the Red Cross
Specialised Union bodies
Decentralised agencies contribute to the implementation of EU policies by performing technical and scientific tasks. They support cooperation between the EU and national governments by pooling technical and specialist expertise from both the EU institutions and national authorities. Examples include
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust)
- European Environment Agency (EEA)
- European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
- European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
- European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
- European Medicines Agency (EMA)
- European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)
- Single Resolution Board (SRB)
- European Asylum Support Office (EASO)
Joint Undertakings (Public-Private Partnerships)
- Bio-based Industries initiative
- Clean Sky 2
- Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership
- Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking
- Fusion for Energy
- Initiative on Innovative Medicines
- European High Performance Computing (EuroHPC)
Member States designate certain bodies to implement particular EU programmes or funding opportunities, such as
- Erasmus+ national agencies
- organisations active in the field of development and cooperation and with which the Commission has signed a framework agreement, such as the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (AICS), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, or the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- National Promotional Banks involved in implementing the InvestEU Fund
How to become an implementing partner
Entities or persons wishing to work under indirect management need to fall into specific categories defined in the Financial Regulation, which frames the use of the Union budget. Before being allowed to do so, they also need to carry out an ex ante assessment of their systems, rules and procedures to ensure that the EU fund they will be awarded will be safely managed.