- The Initiation Phase strictly lasts 6 months.
- The Initiation Phase is disconnected from the Implementation phase. That means it is conducted for 6 months prior the official start of the project implementation and is exclusively dedicated to the setup of the project management and administrative prerequisites. No implementation activity can be initiated nor delivered in parallel during this period.
- The Initiation Phase is covered by EUR 75 000 (corresponding to EUR 60 000 ERDF and being a part of a EUR 100 000 lump sum for the “Project Preparation and Initiation Phase”).
- An initiation meeting (via teleconference) enables project managers and the Permanent Secretariat to discuss the overall Initiation Phase process, steps and calendar, and notably the recommendations stemming from the Selection Committee, as well as the project readiness check.
- A compulsory EUI-IA training seminar for the project managers is organised to discuss all there is to know on project and financial management, reporting, monitoring, control, deviations, changes and communication.
- If necessary, an updated Application Form, reflecting the Selection Committee recommendations, ex-ante audit or project readiness check findings, required Result Indicators corrections, etc. must be submitted by the project following the initiation meeting and validated by the Permanent Secretariat (see Application Form for an indicative timeline).
- A Monitoring Plan must be drafted and jointly agreed by the project and responsible the Permanent Secretariat Lead Officer. This Monitoring Plan is the basis for the ongoing monitoring throughout project implementation.
- The validation of the Initiation Phase is conditioned by the completion of the following mandatory steps within the 6 months’ dedicated timeframe:
- If necessary, a revised Application Form jointly agreed with the Permanent Secretariat.
- Positive outcome of the ex-ante audit and readiness check of the project, jointly carried out by the FLC and by the Permanent Secretariat.
- Information on the composition and contact details of the project management team and bank account details filled on the EEP system.
- Signed Partnership Agreement with all Delivery Partners.
- Letters of intent or signed Partnership Agreement for all Transfer Partners.
- Signed Subsidy Contract: the Subsidy Contract is issued by the Entrusted Entity and sent to the MUA to be signed at the beginning of the Initiation Phase.
- If the Initiation Phase is successfully completed at the end of the 6-month timeframe (i.e., all above-mentioned steps finalised and no major lacuna or irregularity detected in the ex-ante audit and/ or the readiness check), the 50% advance payment is made within 90 days from the successful completion of the Initiation Phase. The first advance payment includes the payment of the two lump sums for Project Preparation and Initiation Phase.
Even if all the steps of the Initiation Phase are completed before the 6-month timeframe, project implementation activities cannot be initiated before the official completion date of the Initiation Phase (corresponding to the official start date of the project). Otherwise, the costs for implementation activities incurred during the Initiation Phase will be deemed ineligible.
If the Initiation Phase is not successfully completed within the proposed timeframe of 6 months (any of the above-mentioned steps not finalized, or negative outcome of the ex-ante audit and/or readiness check), the EUI Authorities have the right to terminate the project (considering the concept is not ready enough to be operationalized) and remove it from the list of the EUI-IA approved projects. In that case, only the two lump sums for Project Preparation and Initiation Phase are paid to the project.
If the Initiation Phase is interrupted before being completed (e.g., the project drops out), only the lump sum foreseen for Project Preparation costs will be released to the MUA.
In exceptional and duly justified cases, the Permanent Secretariat and Entrusted Entity can decide to extend the Initiation Phase based on an exception plan jointly agreed with concrete actions and a deadline. Please note that extension of the Initiation Phase might accordingly reduce time for the Implementation phase for the project. Moreover, in case of major irregularities spotted during the ex-ante audit, a second audit could be requested to further verify how they were addressed by the project.
A successfully completed Initiation Phase is the sine qua non condition for receiving the ERDF funding for implementation and start of the project Implementation phase.