Frequently asked questions


COSTS ELIGIBILITY

  1. An entity has rules in force that allow for the payment of benefits that increase the basic remuneration for work performed as part of a project’s implementation. In such a situation, is it allowed to budget funds for the benefits as part of a project?

    Benefits increasing basic remuneration for work performed to carry out project assignments under Norway Grants and EEA Grants are eligible expenditures if the rules applicable at a given entity provide for such payments. According to regulations on the implementation of the Financial Mechanisms, they must conform to accounting principles, the usual internal rules and standard policy on remuneration; therefore, the final resolution and decision on this issue lies with the organisation at hand.

    A prerequisite is that the benefits should be paid in proportion to the objectives for which they are paid and should be necessary for proper implementation of the project. It should also be remembered that project expenditures must be spent exclusively for the attainment of project goals and for expected results in an economically rational, effective and efficient manner.

    Persons receiving benefits in projects have to complete time sheets throughout the duration of the project. Only the costs of the actual hours worked by the persons directly carrying out work under the project may be charged. Working time is the total number of hours, excluding holidays, personal time, sick leave, or other allowances.

  2. Should individuals who implement a project be employed under an employment contract or may they work under civil-law contracts?

    Civil-law contracts are admissible; however, they must satisfy the terms and conditions described on p. 13 of the Guide for Applicants – GRIEG Call or on p. 15 of the Guide for Applicants – IdeaLab Call.

    Civil-law contracts should be included in the in the “salaries” category in the ZSUN/OSF system, the same as salaries payed out under employment contracts.

    If contracts with natural persons do not satisfy the term described in the Guide for applicants, they have to be included in costs entailed by other contracts awarded by a beneficiary for the purposes of carrying out the project or in the costs of subcontracting depending on the subject of the contract.

  3. May an employee on childcare leave be engaged in a project under a civil-law contract?

    Terms and conditions for a contract other than an employment contract to be funded from costs of staff are described on p. 13 of the Guide for Applicants – GRIEG Call or on p. 15 of the Guide for Applicants – IdeaLab Call. Any decision as to whether an entity may employ an individual on childcare leave under a contract which satisfies these criteria is taken by the entity.

  4. May the costs of Norwegian scientists’ travel to Poland be budgeted by a Polish project leader?

    The travel costs of any scientists employed in an organisation which is a project partner must be covered by such organisation. Travel costs of research team members of a Norwegian project partner may not be covered by a Polish entity. If a Polish project leader budgets reimbursement for the travel costs of an independent expert from Norway, not employed in a Norwegian partner entity, the relevant budget category for the expenditure should be: Costs entailed by other contracts for the purposes of carrying out the project, pursuant to Art. 8.3.1.f of the Regulation on the implementation of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021.

  5. Is the lease of research equipment an eligible expenditure?

    According to the Regulations, the eligible direct expenditures for a project are those expenditures which are identified by the Project Promoter and/or the project partner, in accordance with their accounting principles and usual internal rules, as specific expenditures directly linked to the implementation of the project and which can therefore be booked to it directly.

    Renting or leasing costs are eligible to the extent necessary and for the period necessary to carry out the research provided for in the project.

    The maximum eligible expenditure in the case of a lease may not exceed the market value of the asset leased.

    In the case of an operational lease, the eligible cost is the amount corresponding to the portion of the lease instalment invoiced to the Project Promoter in relation to the repayment of the capital (excluding interest and other fees) of the subject of a lease contract.

    As regards a financial lease, the eligible cost is the amortisation charge made during the period when the research is carried out in line with the project schedule.

    Operational and financial lease costs are recognized as costs entailed by other contracts pursuant to Article 8.3.1(f) of the Regulation.

  6. Is the cost of construction of research equipment an eligible expenditure?

    According to Regulation Article 8.2(4), where new or secondhand equipment is purchased, only the portion of the depreciation corresponding to the duration of the project and the rate of actual use for the purposes of the project may be considered as an eligible expenditure.

    The depreciation costs of purchased and constructed equipment are a direct eligible expenditure for a project.

    The construction cost of research equipment shall be booked on the accounts of the Project Promoter and/or the project partner in accordance with their accounting principles and usual internal rules.

    In the event that the Programme Operator determines that the equipment is an integral and necessary component for achieving the outcomes of the project, the entire purchase price of that equipment or the entire construction price of research equipment, which cannot exceed PLN 500,000, may, by way of exception from the rule contained in paragraph 4 of Article 8.2, be eligible. The Programme Operator shall ensure that the Project Promoter:

    • keeps the equipment in its ownership for a period of at least five years following the completion of the project and continues to use that equipment for the benefit of the overall objectives of the project for the same period;
    • keeps the equipment properly insured against losses such as fire, theft or other normally insurable incidents both during the project’s implementation and for at least five years following the completion of the project; and
    • sets aside appropriate resources for the maintenance of the equipment for at least five years following the completion of the project.

    The specific means for the implementation of this obligation shall be specified in the project contract. The Programme Operator may release any Project Promoter from the above obligations with respect to any specifically identified equipment where the Programme Operator is satisfied that, having regard to all the relevant circumstances, continued use of that equipment for the overall objectives of the project would serve no useful economic purpose.

GRIEG

  1. While applying for a GRIEG grant, is it possible to apply for another grant in other NCN calls announced in the same edition as the GRIEG call (MAESTRO 11, SONATA BIS 9, UWERTURA 4)?

    Applying for a GRIEG grant does not preclude the possibility of applying for a grant under one of the other NCN calls announced in this edition. It is possible to apply in both the GRIEG call as well as in one of the other NCN calls (MAESTRO 11, SONATA BIS 9, UWERTURA 4).

  2. Will the GRIEG project be included in the limit of three NCN research projects that can be led by a given scientist?

    The GRIEG project is not included in that restriction, as it is a call funded by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, and not from the NCN budget for research projects.

  3. How should one understand the phrase “research groups within polar research and social science research in particular are invited to submit proposals to this call”? Should proposals concerned with topics other than polar and social research field be submitted? Do they have the same or lesser chances of being funded?

    The phrase “research groups within polar research and social science research in particular are invited to submit proposals to this call” means that NCN in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between Poland and Norway, particularly encourages research groups dealing with polar research and social sciences to participate in the call. Nevertheless, proposals relating to other research topics or other scientific disciplines are also welcome and may be submitted if they meet the criterion of basic research. Applications can be submitted within 25 disciplines, the list of which can be found in the Guide for Applicants.

    All applications have the same funding opportunities and will be assessed primarily in terms of the substantive quality of the proposed research. The evaluation criteria for the application can be found in the Guide for Evaluators.

  4. Is it possible in the GRIEG call, for a Project Investigator who already has a full-time employment contract at Project Promoter to cover part of his existing contract from the project’s budget by reducing proportionally the remuneration amount given in the Guide for Applicants? Does this also affect other staff members, especially under-and post-graduate students and persons newly employed in a post-doc post?

    The remuneration rates in the GRIEG call are designed to enable the Principal Investigator build a research team with some flexibility. The Principal Investigator can schedule part-time employment for himself and project staff according to the rates described in the Guide for Applicants. Scholarships for under-and post-graduate students must be awarded and new employees in post-doc positions recruited in accordance with the guidelines described in the Guide for Applicants.

  5. When making plans for how staff are assigned to the project, should positions or specific persons be planned? Is it possible to change the composition of the project team during the project implementation?

    Positions are planned in the project team not specific persons. So, when a project is underway it will, if necessary, be possible to change a given contractor.

    Scholarships for under-and post-graduate students must be awarded and new employees in post-doc positions recruited in accordance with the guidelines described in the Guide for Applicants.

    Changing the Principal Investigator or the project partner (the person leading project implementation in a partner organisation) consultation with the National Science Centre will ve required.

  6. According to the GRIEG call documentation the eligible project partners may be any public or private entity, commercial or non-commercial as well as non-governmental organisations, established as a legal person in Poland or Norway. Is it possible for the person who leads the implementation of project activities in this entity not to have research experience and achievements e.g. in the case of a non-governmental organisation. If yes, how should his/her achievements be described in the ZSUN/OSF system. 

    If an eligible entity is actively involved in, and effectively contributing to the implementation of the project it is eligible as a project partner. It is possible for a person who leads the project implementation in this entity not to have research experience and achievements. However, please bear in mind that Grieg is a call for research projects and the research track record of the research team will be evaluated by experts. The Academic and Research Track Record section in the ZSUN/OSF system was designed for researchers leading implementation of project activities in partner organisations. However, if a partner does not have any publications, research experience and achievements, he/she should describe the professional career in the Academic and Research Career field and the professional achievements in the Research achievements field. Please, click Add in the Publication Record sub-section write or choose No or 0 in the fields so that the sub-section could be saved. Please, add a Pdf file explaining that due to the profile of the entity you represent you do not have any publications.

  7. I am the Principal Investigator in a project financed by the NCN, which will end after the date planned for contract signature in the GRIEG call. Can I submit a proposal acting as Principal Investigator in the GRIEG call if I have a full-time employment salary under the current NCN project?

    Although there are no eligibility rules under the GRIEG call that exclude Principal Investigators implementing current NCN projects under full-time employment contracts several issues have to be considered by applicants.

    Expenditures incurred after 30 April 2024 shall not be eligible in the GRIEG call. That leaves time for a three year project starting on 1 May 2020 with a possibility of up to 12 months extension. The NCN aims at signing all contracts within two from receiving funding decisions by beneficiaries to minimise risks in the programme. Requests to delay the stating date in projects will be accepted by the NCN in exceptional, justified cases. Need to finish a running project is not considered a convincing reason for delay.

    In national calls there is a possibility of terminating the project in advance if all planned results have been accomplished. Unused costs of the full employment salary of the Principal Investigator and other unused costs should be returned to the NCN.

    As the GRIEG call is announced only once within the Polish Basic Research Programme under the Norway Grants the NCN may allow in justified cases for parallel implementation of a running national project and a project within the GRIEG call. However, each case will need to be analysed individually in the contracting phase. The Principle Investigator should propose the percent of the salary that will be covered by each of the projects during the contracting phase.

GRIEG info chat 13 September 2019

IdeaLab

  1. Do I need to develop a project idea to apply for participation in the IdeaLab workshop?

    No, the project ideas will be developed during the IdeaLab workshop.

  2. Will it be possible to further develop an existing project idea during the IdeaLab workshop?

    The IdeaLab workshop is specifically designed to drive new approaches to address the research challenges of the call. The participants exchange ideas and reconceive the world from new perspectives that challenge current perspectives. However, existing ideas might turn out to be interesting for other participants and become elements of the future projects.

  3. Are researchers, who do not have an employment contract signed with the host organisation, excluded from the IdeaLab call? Does the employment contract have to be in force both during the workshop, and the project implementation? Does the organisation commit to sign such a contract at the stage of application for participation in the workshop?

    In the IdeaLab call the researcher has to be employed under an employment contract or other contract in compliance with the requirements described in the Guide for Applicants, at the beginning of the project implementation or at the beginning of activities of the organisation in the project. The researcher doesn’t have to be employed in the host organisation during the application procedure. However, the organisation confirms by signing the host organisation’s statement that the Participant can indicate it in the project ideas developed during the workshop, as the place where research tasks will be implemented and that if the proposal is recommended for funding, he/she will be employed as the project principal investigator or the leader of the research team at the project partner.

  4. Do I need to have a partner from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein before applying for participation in the workshop?

    No, participants from Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have to submit their individual application for participation in the IdeaLab workshop according to the same procedure as the participants from Poland using the electronic form available at https://idealab.ncn.gov.pl. The international Panel of Experts will select participants both from Poland and from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway so that eligible partnerships could be established during the workshop.

  5. Will it be possible to involve partners with whom I cooperate in a project developed during the IdeaLab workshop?

    No, only institutions represented by the participants of the workshop can become partners in the projects developed during the workshop.

  6. Is it possible that one researcher is a Principle Investigator in a project implemented under the GRIEG call and a project implemented under the IdeaLab call?

    Yes, it is possible.

  7. When applying for participation in the IdeaLab workshop the files uploaded in the registration form are not visible. How do I know they were successfully uploaded?

    If any of the required fields is not filled or any of the required files is not attached, the system informs about it and makes it impossible to submit the application form to NCN. However, the system does not verify the substantive content of the attached documents, therefore it is necessary to pay attention what documents are uploaded.

  8. Can I delete the table and the questions in the Participant’s application form? Can I modify the file to comply with the limits of characters and pages?

    Please, do not delete the table nor the questions in the Participant’s application form. Be aware that the limit of 2 standard pages applies to your text together with the questions. You may change the margins (left and right: 2 cm; top and bottom: 1,5 cm) or use single lead. Even if you use the maximum limit of characters including spaces in each question the text together with questions will not exceed 2 standard pages according to requirements set in the Participant’s application form.

IdeaLab info chat 1 August 2019

QUESTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED BY NORWEGIAN PARTNERS

  1. Where can we find information about the Polish-Norwegian calls?

    Research cooperation between Poland and Norway is currently organized into two programmes, each responsible for several calls:

    • Programme for basic research (GRIEG, IdeaLab ‘Managing Threats’, POLS)
    • Programme for applied research (POLNOR, CCS, Idealab ‘Cities for the Future’)

    This FAQ concerns the GRIEG call for basic research, and the call documents can be found here: https://ncn.gov.pl/ogloszenia/konkursy/grieg?language=en

    The IdeaLab ‘Managing Threats’ call is open until Monday, August 19th 2019: https://ncn.gov.pl/ogloszenia/konkursy/idealab?language=en

    Information about the Polish-Norwegian Applied Research Programme can be found here: https://www.ncbr.gov.pl/en/programmes/international-programmes/iii-edition-of-eea-and-norway-grants/news/

    RCNs webpage about EEA and Norway Grants programmes in Poland:

    https://www.forskningsradet.no/sok-om-finansiering/internasjonale-midler/eos-midlene/

  2. What is meant by ‘basic research’ in the context of this call?

    The definition for basic research in the GRIEG call is: ‘experimental or theoretical endeavors undertaken to gain new knowledge of the foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any direct commercial use’.

    Projects which generate new solutions or social innovations are warmly welcomed, but the project grants will not support activities such as commercialisation, development or enhancement of products or any other direct commercial use.

  3. Who is who in the project?

    Project Promoter/Applicant – Polish institution coordinating the project.

    Principal Investigator – the leading researcher on the Polish side, employed by the Project Promoter institution.

    Leading Norwegian Partner – the main Norwegian partner institution, which must be a research organisation according to the definition of the Research Council of Norway, (i.e. godkjent forskningsorganisasjon). In case of doubt, check here: https://www.forskningsradet.no/sok-om-finansiering/hvem-kan-soke-om-fina...

    Norwegian Principal Investigator – main contact person at the main Norwegian partner institution. Other team-members involved in the project will be mentioned, and their role described, in the project description PDF-file and in the budget file section on staff.

    Other Partner(s) – the additional partner(s) may be any type of entities, public or private, or NGO, located in Norway or Poland.

    For each Other Partner entity, one researcher/expert will enter a CV into the application system. Other team-members involved in the project will be mentioned, and their role described, in the project description PDF-file and in the budget file section on staff.

  4. Who will send the application and where?

    The Polish Project Promoter is responsible for submitting the application on behalf of the project consortium to NCN in Krakow using the ZSUN/OSF application system.

    The Polish Principal Investigator can give the Norwegian partners access to the application system, both to allow you to read only or to edit the application.  

  5. Which parts of the application should Norwegian partners fill out?

    Documents that the Norwegian partners will have to fill out or contribute to:

    • Project description – is elaborated by all partners and coordinated by the Polish PI;
    • Letter of Intent – signed by authorised legal representative. Either sign by hand and scan the document, or consult your Polish PI regarding the possibility of an electronic signature;
    • Budget – to be filled out in the application system, either by the PI or by you if you are given access to the application system;
    • CV for the Norwegian Principal Investigator (at main Norwegian partner institution) – the CV will be entered into the application system directly, not as attachment;
    • CV for the researcher who is listed as the main contact at other Norwegian partner entities if there are more than one partner institutions - the CV will be entered into the application directly, not as attachment;
    • Documentation relating to State-Aid – only for entities for which this applies (see question 10 further down).
  6. When can projects start and finish?

    According to plan, evaluation of projects will be completed in March 2020. Activities may start as soon as the contract is signed. Contracts will be signed in April-June so the earliest projects can plan for a start up in June 2020.

    Projects can last for 2 years or 3 years. You have to choose one of these options.

    The programme funding will be available until the end of April 2024. After this date no prolongations of projects will be possible as the programme will be closing down and unused funds will be returned to Norway. Costs incurred and activities carried out after April 30, 2024 cannot be funded.

  7. How much of the project budget can be allocated to a Norwegian partner?

    The upper limit of 40% is set for the portion of the grant that can be allocated to the Norwegian partner(s). The maximum amount of a grant to a project in the GRIEG call is 1.5 million EUR, meaning that Norwegian partner(s) share of the grant cannot exceed 600,000 EUR.

    In distributing the budget, partners should be guided by the overall objectives of the programme, which focuses on the quality of the research and the strengthening of the relations between the Polish and Norwegian research institutions.

    The budget should reflect the activity of each partner in bringing about the project results, including the administrative and project coordination work load.

    Among the criteria that will determine the selection, the extent and sustainability of the partnership relation is defined as one of the factors that the experts should assess. Thus the quality of the partnership will be assessed under the heading ‘quality and efficiency of the implementation and management’. Information on which criteria will determine the selection is available in the Guide for Evaluators.

  8. Which rates should we use for budgeting personnel costs on the Norwegian side?

    General rule: Most partners (such as universities, university colleges, enterprises, health authorities) from Norway, shall use the same rates for personnel costs as in H2020 projects. Indirect costs (overheads) are calculated as a flat rate of 25% of all the direct costs.

    There is one exception from this rule: Norwegian research institutes which report personnel rates to the Research Council of Norway, and have those personnel rates calculated and approved by the RCN, may use those as Standard scales of unit costs (ref. Regulation art. 8.4.b). This means they should use the same rates as in applications to RCN calls. It is important to note that in such cases, no indirect or overhead costs should be included in the budget, as they are already included in the personnel rates. If you are unsure whether your institution is one of the research institutes that can use the RCN personnel rates, check this list: https://www.forskningsradet.no/contentassets/3aac4d1b26724a1d8b9d1919814e84d7/stim-eu-liste-over-institutter-2019-med-logo.pdf

    (The list shows institutions eligible for the STIM-EU scheme, which is the same group of institutions which may use RCN rates in the EEA and Norway Grants research programmes.)

  9. Can we include funding for a PhD or postdoc on the Norwegian side of the project?

    Personnel costs are eligible for funding, so the answer is: yes.

    However, note that the funding will end in April 2024 and costs not incurred to that date cannot be funded from the grant. This means that if a 3-year PhD fellowship or postdoc is included in the Norwegian part of the project and the PhD candidate should be for some reason delayed (parental leave, illness, other legitimate interruptions), the Norwegian institution should be prepared to fund the remaining time of the 3-year fellowship from its own funds.

    Also, the cost of a full PhD or 3-4 year postdoc in Norway is so high that it could absorb most of the funding on the Norwegian side of the budget. Think about how to ensure activity and participation of several persons so that the project can be as balanced as possible between the Polish and Norwegian part.

  10. What is State-Aid and does it relate to my application?

    If the concept of State-Aid is new to you, please start by contacting a research manager (EU-rådgiver) at your entity. To learn more about State-Aid you can also consult the webpages of the Research Council of Norway, as the same EU State-Aid regulation which applies both in Norway and Poland: https://www.forskningsradet.no/sok-om-finansiering/midler-fra-forskningsradet/betingelser_for_tildeling_av_statsstotte/

    To determine whether the support you are applying for will constitute State-Aid in the GRIEG call, please consult: https://www.ncn.gov.pl/sites/default/files/pliki/regulaminy/2019_06_NCN_state_aid_rules.pdf

  11. Is there a template for the project description?

    Yes, the proposal submission form for the GRIEG call is available in the ZSUN/OSF application system: https://osf.opi.org.pl.

    The limit set by the application system is 21 pages, but shorter applications are allowed.

  12. Can I participate in more than one application?

    Yes, but remember that the question of capacity (of the Norwegian partner applicant) may be raised if both projects are considered for funding.