Frequently Asked Questions about the Baltic Research Programme

What is the main goal of this programme?
Main goal of the programme is to enhance the research-based knowledge development in the Baltic States through research cooperation with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The Programme will be implemented through joint research projects, enabling research teams to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources to jointly address specific research problems.

What are the types of projects and research?
Proposals for collaborative research projects are invited in all fundamental and applied sciences.

What is the mandatory criterion for the project participants?
Projects must have the Project Promoter from Estonia and involve at least one Project Partner from Latvia and/or Lithuania and one Project Partner from Norway and/or Iceland and/or Liechtenstein.

Will the number of partners from Baltic and/or Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein give additional points or higher score in evaluation process?
A higher number of partners will not place any project automatically in a more favourable position in the evaluation process. At the same time, the applications with partners from both Baltic States (LV, LT) can apply for higher project grant and, based on proposed collaboration plan, may be awarded up to 0.5 extra points given by the Programme Committee.

What are the priorities set for this call?
In current call, priority is given to applications addressing the following challenges in the Baltic region:
– Public health; translational medicine; health technologies
– Migration; social inclusion
– Regional cyber security; public security
– Environmentally friendly solutions
– Regional economic development; employment; labour market regulations and social policy
– More effective use of resources

Is there any elaboration of thematic priorities available?
There is not any specific description about the challenges available in the call documents. Thus, they cover a wide range of topics by enabling the applicants to use their own approach and interpretation. The proposals’ relevance to the challenges as well as the potential added value for Baltic region should be considered carefully when working on the application, as these aspects will be later evaluated by the international experts and the Programme Committee.

Who can be the Project Promoter?
In this call, eligible Project Promoters are positively evaluated research institutions established in Estonia. List of these institutions is provided here https://www.etis.ee/Portal/Institutions/Index?lang=ENG.

Who can be the Project Partner?
Project Partners coming from Latvia and/or Lithuania and from Norway and/or Iceland and/ or Liechtenstein have to be research organisations, as defined in the EU Framework for State aid for research and development and innovation (2014/C 198/01).
Additional partners from Estonia have to be positively evaluated research institutions.

What types of organisations are approved as research organisations by the Research Council of Norway?
• Universities, specialised university colleges and university colleges accredited at the institution level by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT);
• Health trusts/hospitals with legally mandated research and development tasks, and private, non-profit hospitals that are that are encompassed by the national system for measuring research activity under the Ministry of Health and Care Services;
• Research organisations encompassed by the Norwegian guidelines for public basic funding of research organisations;
• Other organisations that have research as an objective and have been assessed and approved in accordance with the definition of research organisation in the state aid rules and an overall assessment carried out by the Research Council.

Is there any list of verified Norwegian research institutions available?
List of Norwegian research organisations approved by the Research Council of Norway can be viewed here (p. 3-7):
Organisations that are not included in this list must apply to the Research Council of Norway for an assessment to determine whether they fulfil the criteria for qualification as a research organisation.

Can the partners from third countries participate in the programme?
Yes, the research entities established in countries outside the Baltic States, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein (third countries) can participate as additional project partners, but no other costs than travel costs can be funded from the project grant.

What is the expected duration of project?
Minimum eligible duration of the projects is 36 months. Maximum eligible duration of the projects is 48 months. The end of the programme period of eligibility of expenditures is 30 April 2024.

What can be minimum and maximum amount of project grant?
Minimum amount of project grant can be 300 000 EUR and maximum whether 800 000 EUR (involving a Project Partner only from one Baltic State) or 1 000 000 EUR (involving a Project Partner from both Latvia and Lithuania).

What about the distribution of budget between the partners? Is there any limit?
There is not any specific limit set for the budget – distribution of budget should be adapted to the project activities and ensure that all partners will be actively involved in the project tasks. However, as one important aim of the Baltic Research Programme is the regional value, it includes a balanced participation of the partners. The programme is supposed to strengthen the research capacity in the Baltic States.

What are the eligible costs covered by the programme?
Eligible costs are personnel costs (the cost of staff assigned to the project), travel and subsistence allowances for staff taking part in the project, subcontracting (no more than 15% of total budget project), other costs (consumables) and institutional overhead (flat rate of 25% of total direct eligible costs, excluding direct eligible costs for subcontracting). Costs are eligible if they are justified, necessary and appropriate, and directly related to the project. For project promoter and each project partner a separate budget should be planned and prepared in accordance with their accounting principles and usual internal rules. Costs should be stated in EUR. Non-recoverable VAT (value added tax) is an eligible project cost.

How do the Norwegian partners calculate the indirect costs?
When calculating the indirect costs (overhead), the same principles apply to the Norwegian research entities as to other project partners. However, Norwegian research institutes may calculate the payroll and indirect costs together, as hourly rates for the staff participating in a project. In that case, indirect costs may not be claimed as a separate category. Norwegian research institutes should then use the same calculation as they do when reporting to the Research Council of Norway per 2019, including personnel costs and indirect costs. Other direct costs (e.g. travel costs) are budgeted separately. Accordingly, other Norwegian partners (like universities, university colleagues, etc.) cannot apply for this rule (use unit costs) and when calculating the personnel costs, the hourly rates should be given without the indirect costs (same principle like in the Horizon 2020). 

What kind of confirmation letter is needed from the partner?
Each Project Partner has to provide a Letter of Confirmation confirming their willingness and readiness to participate in this project under the conditions agreed with the Project Promoter.

How to apply?
Application is submitted electronically via the Estonian Research Information System (ETIS) by the Estonian Project Promoter. The proposal must be written in English (summary and title also in Estonian). Project Partners from Baltic and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein can view the Application Form available in pdf format at the homepage of ETAG. The Project Promoter must be registered as a user of the system and follow the instructions given in the ETIS. The deadline of submitting the grant applications for projects is 31.01.2019 at 16.00 (EET). The application shall be deemed submitted, if it is approved by the Institution.

Should the decision of the ethics committee be enclosed to the application before submission of proposal?
Preferably yes, but if the applicant obtains the permit after the submission deadline, it can be submitted to the ETAG afterwards, but still before the project starts.

How long (how many pages) can be the scientific rational?
Scientific rational forms a part of the electronic application form. Maximum length of scientific rational is 25 000 characters, incl. spaces.

Can Principal Investigator submit more than one proposal?
Principal Investigator (Project Promoter) can submit only one proposal. Principal Investigator of Project Partner (listed up in the BRP Application Form) can be partner in more than one proposal.

Who will evaluate the proposals?
Each proposal will be evaluated by three international experts. Based on individual evaluations, a consensus report will be formulated. Based on consensus reports, a ranking list of proposals passing threshold will be presented to the Programme Committee. The Programme Committee may give additional points based on certain aspects (further evaluation details see below). Final decision on funding will be made by the Programme Operator.

What are the main evaluation criteria for evaluators?
There are three core evaluation criteria: scientific and/or technical excellence; quality and efficiency of the implementation and the management, incl. added value from the international cooperation; and potential impact through the development, dissemination and use of project results.

What are the aspects which will result in the additional points given by the Programme Committee?
The Programme Committee may give additional points according to the proposals’ contribution to the achievement of policy objectives and challenges specified in the call (0.5 points) and potential added value from the perspective of the Baltic regional cooperation and bilateral cooperation with Norway, and/ or Iceland and/ or Liechtenstein (0.5 points).

What is the scoring scale used by the evaluators?
Evaluators will award scores according to the scoring scale (0-5) for each of three criteria. Half point scores may be given; no weightings will apply. Total maximum score can be 15.

Is there any threshold?
Each criterion has a threshold – respectively 3.5, 4 and 3.5. If proposal fails one or more thresholds in the consensus report, it will be removed from further proceeding.

Will there be another open call?
There will be two other open calls, one in Lithuania and one in Latvia. The Project Promoters have to come respectively from Lithuania or Latvia, and the Estonian research organisations are invited to participate as Project Partners along with the partners from Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.