1. Are there any subsequent calls planned to launch by the Program Operator (NCBR) in the present financial perspective of the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme?
No, the calls launched on 17 September (Core 2012 Call and Small Grant Scheme 2012 Call) are the only ones foreseen in this financial perspective.
2. Where can I find the call documents (i.e. specifying the scope of the call and presenting the application procedure and form?
3. What is meant by 'Project Promoter' and 'Principal Investigator'?
Project Promoter (PP) – an entity formally responsible for submitting the proposal under the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme; PP may only be a Polish entity eligible according to the call. The role of PP is not to “lead”, but to be formally responsible and to give administrative support.
Principal Investigator (PI) – a researcher having a scientific lead of a project submitted under the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme; PI may only be from one of the Polish entities.
4. What types of entities are eligible for funding?
Research organisations as defined in the Community Framework for State Aid for Research and Development and Innovation (2006/C 323/01) are sole eligible entities under the Programme.
Research organisation means an entity, such as university or research institute, irrespective of its legal status (organised under public or private law) or way of financing, whose primary goal is to conduct fundamental research, industrial research or experimental development and to disseminate their results by way of teaching, publication or technology transfer; all profits are reinvested in these activities, the dissemination of their results or teaching; undertakings that can exert influence upon such an entity, in the quality of, for example, shareholders or members, shall enjoy no preferential access to the research capacities of such an entity or to the research results generated by it.
Please consult the above mentioned legal act to check your organisation’s eligibility status. You can also consult the relevant staff at the NCBR (for Polish entities) and at the RCN (for Norwegian entities).
5. Are non-governmental organizations (foundations and associations) eligible under the Programme?
Yes, provided they comply with the definition of research organization.
6. Can an SME be a partner in the project?
An SME cannot be an eligible partner in the project if it does not comply with the definition of research organization. However, an SME can participate in the project as a project partner on its own funding.
7. Can entities from countries other than Poland and Norway be partners in the project?
Yes, they can, but will not be funded from the Programme.
8. How ethical issues are dealt with in the Programme?
If the project affects ethical issues you must indicate it in the application form and provide a brief description of an ethical issue involved and how it will be dealt with appropriately.
You have to specify any authorisation or permission you already have for the proposed work. On this basis, a proper ethical screening is possible if the proposal is considered for possible funding.
If any authorisation or permission concerning ethical issues is required in order to carry out the project, it has to be delivered to the Programme Operator before the contract signature (not in the application form).
9. Is there any priority order/preference of topics concerning thematic areas in the Core Call?
No, there is no such preference. Projects will be evaluated primarily on the basis of their scientific quality/excellence and innovativeness.
10. How to interpret the scope of the call in each thematic area?
The scope is defined by the list of thematic areas in the call (i.e. Environment, Health, etc.) as formulated in the Core call text.
The Programme Description which identifies specific topics serves to illustrate the possible, but not exclusive project themes.
The Programme Description also identifies objectives of each area to which the projects should contribute either directly or indirectly. Thus, for example, in the Environment programme area, the objective of "technological innovations" does not exclude projects that do not have the development of a new technology as the direct output.
11. How should ‘bilateral relations’ in the ‘social sciences and bilateral relations’ area be interpreted?
The term ‘bilateral relations’ needs to be read in the context of this being a Polish-Norwegian oriented funding, and so it does mean that in order to be eligible a project would have to address Polish-Norwegian issues. This could be done in a comparative context, so that other bilateral relation could also be part of the study, but the Polish-Norwegian component has to be there.
12. Is there a regional parity foreseen in the Programme?
No, there is not. All applications submitted under the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme are treated equally irrespective of their origin. There is no any regional preference in the Programme.
13. Is there any limit as to the number of applications submitted by a single entity?
There are no formal restrictions in this regard.
14. Is there a Polish version of the Program Description, Guide for Applicants and the application form available?
No, there is not. All documents are available only in English.
15. Is it necessary to submit a paper version of the application?
No, it is not. The application is submitted only through the OSF system (on-line system).
16. How will the experts assessing the proposals be selected? Will the call for the experts be announced?
The assessment will be carried out by international experts. Experts will be selected from the database of experts established by the Programme Operator. The call for experts has already been launched. Detailed information can be found on the Programme Operator’s website: /en/.
The Programme Operator will also have access to the European Commission’s database of experts.
17. How will the potential of the research consortium be evaluated?
The experts will be assessing the research capacity (human resources, research infrastructure) foreseen for the project implementation of all the project partners comprising the consortium as well as experience in implementing international projects. Also, the track record and experience of the Principal Investigator will be the subject of assessment.
18. When will the formal assessment start?
The formal assessment will begin after the call deadline (30 November). Proposal will not be formally checked before that date.
SIGNING GRANT AGREEMENT
19. Who signs the grant agreement on the consortium’s side?
The grant agreement is signed by a person having legal powers to represent the institution (the Project Promoter). Usually it is a rector, vice-rector or director of a research institute.
20. What is a recommended duration of the project?
The project should last no longer than 36 months. The final date of eligibility of the project costs is 30 April 2016 and after that date expenditures are not eligible. There is no formal restriction on the minimum duration of the project.
21. How is the working time recorded in the project?
The Programme Operator expects project staff to use timesheets so that their actual time is recorded against a project to form the basis of the costs charged. If a person is contracted to work 100% of their time on a single project (whether they are working full-time or part-time), timesheets are not necessary as their costs can only be charged to that activity (more explanations in p. 4.6.1 of the Guide for Applicants).
22. Is it necessary to establish a separate bank account for the project cash flow?
A separate account or subaccount is mandatory in case of the Project Promoter. We also recommend (although it is not mandatory) that the project partners have separate accounts for the project cash flows. Account service charge is eligible cost of the project.
23. Will it be possible to modify the project schedule/project budget?
Certain budgetary flexibility is given in order to allow for appropriate project management (see p. 4.5 of the Guide for Applicants). Also, certain modifications in the project schedule are possible, for example shifting of certain work packages to other periods/dates than originally planned. Normally such changes are included in an annex to the grant agreement signed by the signing parties.
24. How often does the progress in the project implementation have to be reported to the PO?
Financial and content-related reports have to be submitted once a year. Requests for payments shall be submitted to the PO by the Project Promoter on a quarterly basis.
25. Is it possible that a/the Norwegian partner takes part in more than one projects?
Yes, there are no formal limits within this scope.
26. What is the maximum level of funding for a Norwegian partner under the Programme?
It is expected that the eligible costs claimed by the Norwegian entities participating in the project shall normally not exceed 40% of the total eligible costs of the project.
27. How many entities can the partnership consist of?
There are no formal, upper limits with respect to the number of partners. Proposals have to be submitted by consortia comprising at least one Polish and one Norwegian entity.
28. Is it possible to transfer tranches of advance payments directly from the PO to the project partner/s?
The Programme Operator does not transfer advance payments to the partner/partners. The issue of transfer of advance payments by the Project Promoter to the partner/s should be regulated in the Partnership Agreement.
29. Will a template for the partnership agreement be available or is it a responsibility of the Project Promoter to provide the template?
Yes, the template for the partnership agreement will be available on the Programme Operator’s website.
30. Can a project partner be an international organization registered in Norway?
All project partners have to meet the criteria of research organization as defined in the Community Framework for State Aid for Research and Development and Innovation (2006/C323/01).
31. Is a letter of intent required?
No, it is not required.
NEW! 32. How to calculate the share of each partner in the project grant?
The method of calculation of the distribution of funding between Polish and Norwegian partners does not exclude any categories of eligible cost (e. g. administrative overheads).The only condition is that eligible costs claimed by the Norwegian entities participating in the project shall not exceed 40% of the total eligible costs of the project (Programme agreement Annex II p. 1.3).
NEW! 33. Can each partner calculate indirect cost by a different method?
Consortium partners decide on the distribution of funding together (e. g. percentage share, not more than 40% for the Norwegian partner(s)), then each partner decides on a method of indirect cost calculation. Methods don’t have to be the same.
34. What is the minimum and maximum grant rate in the Core 12 Call?
The minimum project financing amount is EUR 150 000 and the maximum EUR 1 000 000.
Grants from the Programme may be amount up to 100% of total eligible project costs. The remaining costs of the project shall be provided or obtained by the Project Promoter and the project partners, according to their respective shares of the project budget.
35. What are the dates of eligibility within the project?
The first and final dates of eligibility of a project will be set out in the grant agreement, signed between the Project Promoter and the Programme Operator.
The final date of eligibility of expenditures shall not exceed 30 April 2016.
36. Is VAT an eligible cost?
Basically, VAT is listed in the ineligible cost catalogue, if it is recoverable (it means in the case an entity can reclaim it from the national tax authorities in conformity with the national indirect tax regulation). If is not the case, VAT is eligible.
37. Is it necessary to submit a separate budget sheet by the Project Promoter and the project partner/s?
The budget attachment is broken down into costs categories per partner and it concerns the project as a whole (WPs undertaken by both the Project Promoter and the partner/s) and the total amount of foreseen/requested eligible costs.
Additionally, the division of costs between the Project Promoter and the project partner/s will have to be set out in the Partnership Agreement.
38. What does term ‘indirect costs’ mean?
Indirect costs are all eligible costs that cannot be clearly identified by the Project Promoter and/or the partner/s of the project as being directly attributed to the project, but which can be identified and justified by its accounting system as being incurred in direct relationship with the eligible costs attributed to the project. They may not include any eligible direct costs.
39. How are the indirect costs calculated under the Programme?
They may be identified according to one of the following methods:
- based on the actual indirect costs of the Project Promoters and project partners, who have an analytical accounting system to identify their indirect costs eligible under the Programme;
- a Project Promoter and project partners may opt for a flat rate of up to 20% of its total direct eligible costs, excluding its direct eligible costs for subcontracting and the costs of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the Project Promoter;
- in case of a project implemented within a research programme or within a research component within any programme, the Project Promoter and project partners that are non-profit public bodies, secondary and higher education establishments, research organisations and SMEs, which, due to the lack of analytical accounting, are unable to identify with certainty their real indirect costs for the project, may opt for a flat-rate of up to 60% of the total direct eligible costs, excluding its direct eligible costs for subcontracting and the costs of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the Project Promoter.
The method of calculating indirect costs and their maximum amount shall be determined in the grant agreement. The method of calculation of indirect costs of a project Partner shall be stipulated in the partnership agreement concluded between the Project Promoter and the project partner/s.
40. Is it possible to get the funding for preparatory costs of the project and if so,what kind of costs fall into this category?
Yes, it is possible. These are the costs related to the search for partners prior to or during the preparation of a project application, the development of such partnerships and preparation of a project proposal. These costs will be reimbursed as ‘lump sums’ of EUR 5,000 or EUR 2,500. For more details see chapter 4 of the ‘Guide for Applicants – Core 2012 Call’.
41. Will the Euro to PLN exchange rate of the day of the call launch (that is 17 September 2012) be used throughout the whole project implementation phase?
Yes, the PO will use the above mentioned exchange rate for costs settlement throughout the whole Programme.
42. How shall expenditures within the Programme be documented?
Expenditures are considered to have been incurred when the cost has been invoiced, paid, and the subject matter delivered (in case of goods) or performed (in a case of services) and received.
The documentation demonstrating incurred expenditures, demonstrating and justifying the correct implementation of the project includes copies of financial documents, e.g. invoices (or other accounting documents of equivalent probative value); debit/account notes with lists of expenditures incurred by project partner; payment confirmations; agreements with contractors; acknowledgement of receipts; payrolls; received works (if applicable – e.g. promotional and informational materials).
Accounting documents (invoices etc.) shall be stored in the seat of the Project Promoter and project partner/s and will be checked during the inspections at the projects site or on request in case of need of explanation (i.e. when verifying the annual reports, or at any time if deemed necessary by the Programme Operator).
43. In accordance with the guidelines of the Program, the costs shall be compliant with the public procurement law to be considered eligible. Does the program allow for using the simplified procedure for orders below EUR 14 000? Should a Norwegian partner apply the Polish regulations on public procurement?
For orders over EUR 14 000, the full provisions of the act on public procurement law shall apply; however, for orders below this amount, the Project Promoter and the Polish project partners shall apply the Guidelines of the Minister of Regional Development for the award of contracts under the EOG Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and Norwegian Financial Mechanism, to which the Act of 29 January 2004 on the Public Procurement Law does not apply.
A Norwegian partner shall proceed in accordance with the national (Norwegian) legislation, but on request of the PO or any other supervisory/auditory body it should be able to demonstrate that expenditure was justified and the principle of competition and transparency was not infringed.
44. Is an external audit for projects required? Is it an eligible cost?
Projects where the grant amount exceeds the total value of PLN 2 000 000 are subject to external audit. The manner and procedure of conducting an external audit is set out in the Regulation of the Minister of Science and Higher Education of 29 September 2011 on the mode and procedure of conducting of the external audit of financial resources spending for science (Journal of Laws No 207 item 1237). Audit of the project must commence no later than when 80% of planned costs associated to the project has been incurred, and finish before the submission of the final report of the project to the PO.
If it comes to external audit it is an eligible cost and it has to be included in ‘Other costs’ category.
45. Is the purchase of equipment an eligible cost?
Only the portion of the depreciation of the equipment corresponding to the duration of the project and the rate of actual use for the purposes of the project may be taken into account.
These are the cost of new or second hand equipment, provided that it is depreciated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the Project Promoter and project partners, and generally accepted for items of the same kind.