Frequently Asked Questions
and Helpful Answers
The questions and answers are divided into the following categories :
I have an old Esprit Information Package (dated 1996 or earlier). Is this or any part of it still valid?
No. The Information Package has been totally revised. If you are going to prepare any type of proposal, we strongly recommend that you obtain the
new Information Package
(edition 1997, updated 1998). The changes that have been made are substantial, particularly with regard to specific information documents for Industrial RTD Projects. You should ensure that all the documents you are using to prepare proposals have an ' updated 1998' date stamp. The new informatin package has been designed to reflect fully the recently
updated Work Programme
What type of organisations can bid for funding?
The programme is designed to be as open as possible so all types of organisations can apply. This includes companies of all sizes, universities and research organisations from within the European Union. There are also opportunities for non-EU-based organisations to apply and you should check the section in this booklet which covers this point.
I would like to put together a proposal. Can you put me in touch with suitable partners?
CORDIS provides a dedicated
Partners Search Service
which is designed to help organisations with project proposals find collaborators and also for potential collaborators looking for projects to join. Data may be entered on this service either electronically via the
CORDIS World Wide Web server
The deadline for the proposal I am preparing is 16 June 1998 at 17.00. Does this mean that the proposal should be postmarked 16/06/98 at the latest or that it should have arrived at the Commission by 17.00 on 16/06/98?
- If the proposal is sent by mail then it must have a postmark of 17h00 (local time) on 16/06/98. If the proposal is hand delivered it must be received by 17h00 on 16/6/98 either by the IT Programme Office, Boulevard du Souverain 191-197, B-1160 Brussels, Belgium or by one of the European Commission offices within the European Community. If you hand deliver your proposal you should request a receipt showing the date and time of delivery.
I still haven't received the acknowledgement of receipt for the proposal I submitted 2 weeks ago. What has happened?
- If you have sent a proposal for a task with a fixed submission date you should receive your acknowledgement within 2 weeks of this deadline. This means that for proposals due on 16 June 1998, you should have got your acknowledgement by the 28 June 199. This is the case even if you sent your proposal in on the 1 June for example.
- If you have not received your acknowledgement within the specified timescale you should send a fax to the IT Programme office (, indicating the acronym, title, domain, type of action and name of coordinator. You will receive an answer by fax within one week. You are strongly advised to retain proof of dispatch if the proposal is mailed or sent by courier.
I have expertise and would like to take part in a project. Can you please recommend me to one of your projects?
We are not able to recommend anyone. You should take advantage of the
CORDIS Partners Search Service
which allows potential collaborators to register their details. Data may be entered on this service electronically via the
CORDIS World Wide Web server
Another option is using
(our consortium of National Contact Points)
I am submitting a proposal in response to your call. Who should sign the proposal and where should it be signed?
- The proposal itself does not need to be signed. The administrative forms should, preferably, be completed in electronic format on the diskette provided or using downloadable software from the Esprit Web pages, and therefore cannot be signed. You should, however, include with the proposal an original signed letter from each and all of the partners (including the coordinator) authorising their participation in the proposal.
Can I discuss our proposal with information technology programme staff ?
The IT Programme staff are willing within the limit of their resources to discuss policy and programme implementation issues but are not staffed to provide a general pre-screening service. We have established a special enquiry service - the Esprit Information Desk. This service will answer queries on a range of topics concerning Esprit and the procedure for submitting proposals. The Information Desk can be contacted on fax: or E-mail:
When can we apply ?
The dates for submission occur regularly with some tasks open for continuous submission. There is some variation between different parts of the Programme so you need to check the details in the
Call for Proposals
document and the information provided in the
Specific Information booklets
. If after having consulted these documents, you still have a query the
will be able to help.
How much funding can we bid for ?
This depends on the type of action or the results anticipated. You need to check the information in the
Call for Proposals
Specific Information booklet
relating to your area of interest. As a general principle, you should then try to match the funding as accurately as possible to the work required to meet the project's goal.
Call for Proposals
document gives the budget for each domain and this gives a broad indication of the scale of Programme funding.
What does the programme call an SME?
For the purposes of the Information Technology Programme an SME is defined as an enterprise with:
- less than 500 employees
- an annual turnover of less than 50 Million ECU
- not more than one third of equity owned by an organisation which does not satisfy the first two criteria unless it is bank or venture capital provider.
What is the ideal size for a project or action?
- There are no set rules on the size of a project or action. The duration, amount of work involved, the number of partners and the budget will depend on several factors. You should consider the nature of the tasks proposed and the speed of action required to meet market needs. You will also need to decide how to ensure a European dimension to the work and assess the requirements of this part of the IT programme.
What level of detail is required in the proposal?
The information package
contains details of how to submit a proposal and gives an indication of the format and length required. However you should bear in mind that the evaluators will need sufficient detail to support both the rationale for the project and the methods and funding you propose. Try to write as succinctly as possible, concerntrating on providing the information which will give an evaluator an accurate but rapid insight into your project.
Who should manage the project?
- Project management is a decision for the whole project partnership. It is important that the organisation who acts as project manager has a substantial stake in and commitment to the completion of the project. They should possess a sufficient range of skill and resources to manage a major project and most importantly should have the confidence and support of the other partners. For major projects you will need to consider past experience of transnational working and options for devolving some management tasks amongst partners whilst retaining effective controls and lines of responsibility.
Who should be an associate partner?
- A partner will normally choose to be an Associate Partner if its share in the work is limited in resources and/or in scope and if it is only interested in results directly related to this restricted work.
What are the rules about using sub-contractors?
- Sub-contractors are organisations which provide commercial services for one or more of the participants. The results are owned by the purchasing participant(s) - the Partner(s). The contract which Esprit uses for funding requires approval of sub-contracts in some specific situations.
Can I send the same or closely related proposals to other programmes?
only be submitted once
and proposals which are essentially the same should not be sent to different domains of the IT Programme or different programmes. However where the proposal is related to other existing or proposed work in other domains or programmes you should indicate this in the proposal itself or in an attached covering letter.
If in other programmes different advice is given, you should always indicate clearly to which programmes your proposal is sent.
My organisation is not established in any of the member states of the European Union. Am I allowed to submit a proposal?
Participation in this programme, with a financial contribution form the EU, is open to any legal entity established in a third country associated with and contribution financially to the implementation of this programme.
Organisations established in countries other than those specified above can also submit a proposal for this programme but their participation is subject to a certain number of regulations.
Details of all the possibilities are included in the specific documents which have been updated to reflect the latest information concerning the status of third countries.
I have applied for an SME exploratory award. When will I hear if my application has been successful?
- The evaluation of SME exploratory awards takes approximately 2 months. At the end of the evaluation you will receive a letter stating whether your application is being considered for funding or has been rejected.
How long will it take before I get the results of the evaluation of my proposal?
- The results of the evaluations are generally available 8 to 10 weeks after the closing date for submission. At this point you will receive a letter containing the results of the evaluation on a single sheet of paper. The result will either be that your proposal is considered for funding or that it is rejected. Being considered for funding does not necessarily mean that it will be funded; it simply means that the result of the first independent evaluation is positive. After this it will be considered in the light of the Esprit Programme's strategic objectives and potentially selected for contract negotiations, which may lead to funding being awarded.
Can you tell me how the evaluation of my proposal is going?
- We are not able to give any information or indications during the evaluation period.
What happens if our proposal is not recommended for funding?
- In this case, a definite decision has been made that funding will not be considered. However, proposers can reconsider the proposal taking into account the evaluation results. You may then decide to re-submit a revised proposal for another call for the relevant Work Programme Task.
If it is decided that the proposal receives funding, what is the next step?
- The next step is that a Commission official will contact the coordinator for negotiation and eventual contracting. This negotiation is based on the evaluators recommendations and the budget allocation.
Can I have a copy of the standard contracts which I will be expected to sign if my proposal is successful?
Do you have a standard associated partner contract?
- There is no standard contract for associated partner agreements. It is the responsibility of the consortium to establish its own agreements as and when required.
How can I get hold of the synopsis of a particular project?
Esprit publishes the synopses of all of its projects. For the new Esprit IV projects a series of booklets has been produced, one booklet per domain. These are
or in printed form. For the printed version, please send a request to the Esprit Information Desk (fax +32 / 2-296-8388, E-mail
). The synopses of Esprit III projects are now out of print and are only
How can I get hold of the most up-to-date information about a particular Esprit project?
check in the synopses
for the project contact details and get in touch directly with the contact person. If you have difficulties reaching this person or if the information is out of date, please contact the
How can I find out if a particular project is still running?
The synopses give the start date and duration of the project. If you are in doubt concerning the accuracy of the information contained in the synopses, please
to the Esprit Information Desk.
What is the IT Programme Office, and why do I have to contact them for some things and the Esprit Information Desk for others?
Given the volume of requests for information packages, the Commission has an office dedicated to the management of these documents which is in a different building from the Esprit Information Desk. You should contact the IT Programme Office directly by fax on +32 / 2-663-7200 if all you want is an information package. The Esprit Information Desk answers questions about a range of topics connected with Esprit and you should continue to contact us if you have general or specific questions: fax +32 / 2-296-8388; E-mail
Can you put me on your mailing list to receive information about Esprit in the future?
If you have requested an information package from the IT Programme since December 1994 you should already be on our mailing list. If not, please send your request with your contact details (name and mailing address) to the
Can I use the Esprit logo on a brochure I am creating?
Before authorising use of the Esprit logo on any external documents, we have to be sure that the publication fits within our branding policy. For this reason we ask anyone wanting to use our logo to contact us and discuss their plans with us. You can contact us by E-mail
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and was last updated on 15 May 1998. It is maintained by