Submission, receipt and registration of proposals/tenders

Following the publication of either a call for proposals (grants) or call for tender (procurements), the applicants/tenderers can submit their proposals/tenders.

They should adhere to the arrangements for sending and handing over proposals or tenders specified in the call, for example the deadline, date, and possibly time. Only submissions complying with these provisions may be evaluated.

Evaluation process

The contracting authority evaluates the proposals/offers received, takes an awarding decision and notifies the applicants/tenderers.

The Commission relies on the expertise of specialists to evaluate proposals/tenders. These can be Commission staff members or independent specialists recruited for a specific call because of their skills, experience and knowledge in the field of the call.

The entities responsible for evaluating the project differ depending on the management mode of the project:

  • direct management: the Commission directly evaluates the proposals/tenders
  • indirect management: a third party, which can be a partner country, an international organisation or a development agency evaluates the proposals/tenders
  • shared management: contracting authorities in the Member states evaluate the proposals/tenders

The evaluation of the applications has to rigorously follow the criteria announced to the potential applicants/tenderers in the call. In addition, those criteria have to be applied consistently to every application/tender in order to ensure equal treatment of all. Members of the evaluation committee follow an evaluation methodology defined in advance. The timeline below illustrates an example of logical sequence of part of the process.

Steps

  • Eligibility and exclusion criteria
  • Selection criteria
  • Award criteria
  • Award proposal

Note that the selection criteria may involve an assessment of the applicant's financial capacity.

Notification

Applicants/tenderers, whether they are accepted or rejected, are informed of the outcome of the evaluation procedure by letter or by online notification.

Signature of the grant agreement/procurement contract

The awarded applicant/tenderer sign a legal commitment with the contracting authority in the form of a grant agreement or procurement contract. This legal commitment establishes the legal basis for the implementation of the action/project and is the reference document in case of litigations.

Reserve list

Proposals for grants that were not initially selected may sometimes be offered funding at a later date, if a higher-scoring project does not go ahead or additional funds become available. Therefore, applicants on any reserve are to be taken into account for the time-to-inform but not for the time-to-grant period, which only applies to successful applicants.

The reserve list is part of the award decision, and proposals are entered in the reserve list following the general ranking order, making clear in which turn the Commission may contact the applicants who have submitted those proposals if budgetary funds become available. They should also be informed at the latest by a specific date (in line with the budgetary commitments) that their application could be financed. Namely, contacting the applicants from the reserve list may be possible also if in the course of the year concerned by the respective financing decision additional budgetary appropriations become available. This time limit is to be set, and normally does not go beyond the possible deadline for establishment of legal budgetary commitments; otherwise, the rejection decision will become final after that date.

Transparency requirements

The publication of the beneficiaries of EU funds is a requirement emanating from the transparency principle. The contracting authority should provide information on its intentions, objectives, operations, practices and results. Such an obligation is fulfilled differently depending on the management mode under which the funding is disbursed:

  • information on direct management funding is published every year in the Financial Transparency system database
  • for shared management funds, the Member States are responsible for the publication of the information on beneficiaries. See the Cohesion data portal for more information on the 2014-2020 period
  • for indirect management, the implementing partners have the obligation to publish the information on the final beneficiaries

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