Every year thousands of companies of all sizes in Malta and abroad benefit from EU grants and funding.
There are multiple opportunities for access to EU funding across various industries, many of which are untapped due to the sometimes obscure and difficult procedures to navigate through funding opportunities available and relevant application processes.
Ewropa can help you identify which EU funds your project may be eligible for and guide you through the entire application process until the final award of the grant, where successful. For more details, read on, and if you have any questions about how we can help you, do get in touch.
THE FIVE BASIC STEPS TO ACCESS EU FUNDS:
- Find a funding opportunity
- Submit an application
- Sign the grant agreement
- Succeed the selection process
- Manage your project
In certain cases, you may also need to find a project partner in another country.
BACKGROUND TO EU FUNDING
The EU provides funding for a broad range of projects and programmes covering areas such as:
- regional & urban development
- employment & social inclusion
- agriculture & rural development
- maritime & fisheries policies
- research & innovation
- humanitarian aid.
Most of the funding is managed locally and the responsibility for conducting checks and annual audits lies with national governments, like in Malta.
Over 76% of the EU budget is managed in partnership with national and regional authorities through a system of “shared management”, largely through 5 big funds making up the Structural and Investments Funds. Collectively, these help to implement the Europe 2020 strategy and include:
- European Regional Development (ERDF) – regional and urban development
- European Social Fund (ESF) – social inclusion and good governance
- Cohesian Fund (CF) – economic convergence by less-developed regions
- European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
- European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)
Other funds are managed directly by the EU. These are provided in the form of:
- Grants for specific projects in relation to EU policies, usually following a public announcement known as a ‘call for proposals’. Part of the funding comes from the EU, part from other sources.
- Contracts issued by EU institutions to buy in services, goods or works they need for their operations – like studies, training, conference organisation, IT equipment. Contracts are awarded through calls for tender.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW IN A NUTSHELL
- Are you eligible? – Specific criteria for eligibility are set out in each funding programme and individual call. We will help you assess whether your project qualifies or not and identify which fund your project is eligible for.
- Identify a call – Once you have established eligibility you will need to identify a relevant call for proposals/projects and carefully follow the specific guidelines on how to apply – each call is unique.
- Apply – Depending on the technical nature of the field, the budget available and the expected number of proposals, the application procedure can involve one stage or two. Under the 1-stage procedure, you will submit a full application at the outset of the process. Under the 2-stage procedure, you must first submit an initial summary proposal. If your proposal is shortlisted, you will be invited to submit a full application in the second phase.
- Selection process – Proposals are evaluated against the criteria listed in the call.
- Sign Grant Agreement – If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to sign a detailed contract called a ‘grant agreement’. As an applicant you may have to follow a number of steps at this stage:
- provide further legal and administrative details not included in the proposal
- be ready to amend your proposal as indicated in the evaluation report, if applicable.
- Payment – Grants are usually paid out in several installments over the duration of the project. Once you have signed the grant agreement, you will receive a pre-financing payment which may be followed by one or more interim payments. You will receive final payment on completion of the project. Interim and final payments are made subject to project deliverables. It is important to report on the progress of your project in accordance with the reporting calendar set out in the grant agreement.
- Post grant management – Once the grant agreement is signed, your project must be carefully managed until completion. Guidance is available at each step of the way, in the form of reporting templates and deadlines to keep to throughout the project. You will need to submit reports and possibly deliverables identified in the grant agreement. The European Commission will monitor the implementation of project (during or afterwards) to ensure its compliance with the grant agreement for e.g. financial audits on your accounts to verify the eligible costs incurred. It is therefore crucial to keep records and other supporting documentation to prove that your project has been properly implemented. This includes keeping records on eligible costs and corresponding accounts.
If you currently have a project or investment you would like to launch, contact us before you commit to any contractual engagements or incur any expenditure so we can assess whether your project is eligible for EU funding and identify which fund you should tap into.
The following are EU funding opportunities which are currently available:
EU INNOVATION FUND
A new Innovation Fund has just been launched by the European Commission. It is one of the world’s largest funding programmes, with €10 billion earmarked for selected projects over the next 10 years, projects which can demonstrate innovative low-carbon technologies (wind generated electricity, clean fuels, battery storage etc). Unlike other funds, this fund is not a research programme nor the funding of a demo, it is about bringing highly innovative technologies to the market.
As stated by the European Commission: “The Innovation Fund is one of the first EU funding instruments tangibly supporting the vision for climate neutral Europe by 2050. It is about unleashing low-carbon investments in all Member States and pressing the fast-forward button in our transition to a climate neutral, competitive and innovative EU economy.” Infact, the revenues for the Innovation Fund come from the auctioning of 450 million EU Emissions Trading System allowances from 2020 to 2030, as well as any unspent funds coming from the NER300 programme. The Fund may amount to about €10 billion, depending on the carbon price.
Although the Innovation Fund funds up to 60% of eligible costs of a project, it can be combined with other sources of funding, such as InvestEU, Horizon Europe, Connecting Europe Facility, Modernisation Fund, National programmes as well as Private Capital.
If you have a project, in excess of €7,500,000, to bring innovative green technology to the market, you might be eligible to apply in the first call for large-scale project applications with a deadline of 29th October 2020.
If you have a project, costing less than €7,500,000, to bring innovative green technology to the market, you might be eligible to apply in the second call for small-scale projects expected to be launched at the end of 2020.
If you require further information on how you can access the Innovation Fund contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org