INTERREG EUROPE is the new Interreg IVC programme from 2014 to 2020. More than 800 people met last week (2nd and 3rd December 2014) in Bologna (Italy) for the launch of the new programme. See

With a total budget of €359 million and 4 priority themes (Research and Innovation / SME competitiveness / Low carbon economy / Environment and resource efficiency), Interreg Europe is dedicated to improving public policies. It will support the design of strategies for influencing policy making in regional priority areas.

Here are 10 key points to take into account for developing a project:

  1. At least 3 countries (of which 2 EU member states at least)
  2. Preferably 5 to 10 partners maximum per project (financial beneficiaries).
  3. Maximum project duration: 5 years (4 years minimum).
  4. Between €1 to €2 million of ERDF per project (75% co financing rate for non-profit private sector / 85% co financing rate for public bodies).
  5. Policy makers, such as Local authorities, are key project partners and they need to be directly involved in the projects.
  6. The Lead partner can only be a public body.
  7. The project governance structure is extremely important: a Regional partnership board has to be set up. It will be composed of the competent organisations in the field tackled by the project. This group will need to be informed about the project development and to be brought into peer review visits, workshops, events, etc.-
  8. 5 budget lines: staff costs, administrative costs, travel & accommodation costs, studies, small equipment (office equipment).
  9. 15% of the envelope will support the administrative costs of the project. A €15,000 lump sum will be provided for the preparation cost. Both won’t need any proof or evidence to be claimed.
  10. The first call for proposals will open in April 2015, and will close in Sept 2015. No geographical criteria, no thematic criteria.

Follow the latest developments on

The external projects team is populating a database with all the contacts made at the launch of Interreg Europe. This list will be made available on the CRM system, and it will also be emailed to the Faculties. Alternatively, please contact the external project team to find out more (Marie Pandolfo).

How to strengthen the quality of your bids?


The development of a robust full application is an important element of any project, essential for the approval of funding and as an evolving tool to measure, control and evaluate delivery.

A quality bid is one of the outputs of a strategic approach to project development – the strategy and budget plan underpinning the project are one of the key elements of a successful bid.

Step 1: To build up a strong efficient environment as a background for quality projects.

  • Network to create long-lasting links and to promote the University externally : Make yourself known regionally, nationally and at a European level or more: Network with lobbying organisations, potential partners and funding authorities. Target national or international events and trainings.
  • Understand and target the University and Faculty’s priorities and plans for future: make sure the project you are developing fits the overall plan, as you will need to demonstrate it in your bid.
  • Identify and communicate with key members of staff who will be involved in your projects. Training on funding opportunities might be an option to be considered.
  • Learn lessons from rejected bids: have and ask for feedback from funding contacts about the reasons for their rejection.


Step 2: Identification and development of the project

  • Assess the demand for the project and collect evidence to demonstrate this demand (from a beneficiary point of view as well). Depending on the size of the project, this could take the form of a report from a third party – either an independent study, or a verification of in-house findings.
  • Give evidence of market failure, and explain why the project should be funded by the public sector in general. What is preventing the private sector from solving this problem or exploiting this opportunity?
  • Build up the right team* for the project to be developed and implemented. Make up your team strategically: gathering the right people is vital for creative ideas to construct the content of the project and to share the administrative tasks.

*TIP: Aspects of the team to consider: Interdisciplinary (cross departmental?), collaborative (scholars from other Universities?), other groups external to Higher Education (such as museum, schools, community groups, public policy bodies?). Note that external groups will bring expertise, resources and sometimes financial aid.


Step 3: Identifying the right fund and developing the bid

  • Contact the external project team: Once you have defined your project [it is your project that determinates the fund you will apply for, not the other way around], choosing the right funding programme that fits the project specifications is not an easy task. The External Project Team is your key contact within this step, and will conduct the funding search for you, as well as the bid writing if needed. Please note that bids above £100,000 need the Executives approval. Some online process needs the EPT approval (i.e. Je-S British Academy, Wellcome Trust).
  • Inform the team on the fund modalities. The external project team will also support you in this step. Make sure the persons involved in the project/bid development are aware deadlines, modalities, requirements and criteria of the fund. As well as the audit requirements and reporting requirements if the bid is successful.
  • Create convenient ways of working in order to move the project forward: One or two key people are needed at this stage, to drive the project forward. Develop an agreed timetable with all academics/partners involved for the bid development, with key milestones and clear deadlines for matching the submission deadline. The external project team will help you in defining a time scale for submitting the grant application for concrete to be achieved.
  • Sort out the bid budget: contact your faculties finance staff early to sort out the budget and benefit from their understanding of University’s approach to Full Economic Costing (FEC). Identify the match funding available, which can be from other national or local public funders and private match funders. it can also be in-kind (staff time).
  • Bid writing: the External Project Team can support you. Give enough time to write the bid (drafting and rewriting), make sure the project is compliant with any criteria specified in the relevant grant/call template, and describe how the project supports any relevant internal, regional, national and European plans/strategies/projects.

*TIP: Write a first draft of the whole bid in “bullet point” format, and circulate it to colleagues and collaborators for comments, then collect any additions and changes. Contact the funding body/main contact for a first submission of the draft to get their advice (when permitted).

Don’t forget to identify key milestones, to avoid any delays or key elements:

  • Funding Approval
  • Contract Signature (if applicable)
  • Key deliverable milestones
  • Completion of deliverables
  • Completion of benefits monitoring
  • Payments Complete (note possible retentions for capital projects)
  • Project Close
  • Independent project audit and evaluation
  • Please ensure that both capital and revenue milestones are included.


And don’t give up if the bid is not approved. Get feedback from the funding body and rewrite/rethink your project to be ready to the next call for proposal.  You will be known then and expected to bid again, with a better quality bid.

Supreme Court decision in ‘FHR European Ventures v Cedar Capital Partners’ – bribes and secret commissions accepted by an agent (as a fiduciary) are held on trust for the principal – an important clarification

This case was the subject of a previous Blog; the hearing of the appeal being heard 17 to 19 June 2014, which was available for viewing on the live feed of the UK Supreme Court.

In the above decision, Lord Neuberger has confirmed at paragraph 7 (page 4 of the judgment) that a principal has a right to an account and equitable compensation for a bribe or secret commission. It was also recognised that where an agent acquires a benefit in breach of fiduciary duty, the relief is primarily restitutionary or restorative, rather than compensatory. As previously explored, restitutionary responses (as here) involve the agent giving back the enrichment received at the expense of the principal, as opposed to merely confining the principal to a claim for compensation for loss – probably by way of the personal claim only. This decision is much more expansive remedially.

The basic rule, according to FHR European Ventures’ should now be that an agent who obtains a benefit in breach of his fiduciary duty to his principal holds that benefit on trust for his principal. Equity for the present day (common law and equity having been fused since the Judicature Act 1873) has recognised the existence of a new proprietary right against agents in receipt of bribes or secret commissions.

At paragraph 7 of the Judgment it was further emphasised that the agent’s duty to account for the bribe or secret commission was a personal remedy in favour of the principal, against the agent.
The second important clarification made at paragraph 7 concerned the ‘equitable Rule’, which was stated to be that where a benefit is acquired by the agent as a result of his fiduciary position:
‘…the equitable rule is that he is to be treated as having acquired the benefit on behalf of his principal, so that it is beneficially owned by the principal. In such cases, the principal has a proprietary remedy in addition to his personal remedy against the agent and the principal can elect between the two remedies.’ (end of paragraph 7).

What are the practical implications? The practical implications for Universities
The Judgment covers much more of interest than what follows of course, however some of the general commentators have drawn out the following significant practical implications:

Firstly, the rule is not confined to agents and principals per se. The net is cast over other recognisable fiduciary relationships – employer-employee, company director, and persons acting in an official capacity, and of trustees acting under a formal trust. Universities are not uniquely affected by this change, but should audit transactions that involve potential conflicts of interest including any parties in transactions receiving commissions.

Secondly, full blown proprietary claims, coupled with the process of tracing (tracing as the process identifying the enrichment, which is now proprietary, and following substitutions of the property, in whatever form that substitution might take) can be made in the usual way, including tracing into the hands of third parties; subject to the usual defences for recipients of bona fide purchase. The proof of the existence of a proprietary base, following an agent’s receipt of a secret commission, would include the concurrent liability of the agent to a personal claim. Claimants could opt for making either a personal or a proprietary claim, depending upon the particular facts of the case.

All the usual remedies will remain, including Freezing orders, but would now be used in tandem with remedies for preserving proprietary interests.

Finally, agents in light of the confirmation that there is a proprietary base (inferred from the agent’s fiduciary status) in bribes and commissions, will need to inquire thoroughly into conflicts of interest that could arise from payments, or where possible, seek formal consent from principals to the receipt of any commissions. This is not a change unique to Universities, but highlights the need for parties to make detailed enquiries as to potential conflicts, and whether consents have been granted regarding commission payments. This would include enquiries from parties along the line of any transaction in which a University is involved where there is likelihood of commission payments. Once tracing has done its work, a Claimant wronged party can now hook the property or its value back from any party in the chain or into whose hands the property or its value has been traceably and survivably received – subject to defences.

The concern (‘traceable’ all the way back to Lister v Stubbs and further) that a proprietary claim against an agent was wrong and was never part of the law, for it would mean that unsecured creditors claims against an insolvent agent would be trumped by the proprietary claim of the principal; has been rejected. Lister v Stubbs, for good or ill, has been overruled.

FHR European Ventures Press Summary:

Click to access UKSC_2013_0049_PressSummary.pdf

FHR European Ventures v Cedar Capital: Judgment

Click to access UKSC_2013_0049_Judgment.pdf

Pioneers into Practice – funding available


The Climate KIC programme is going from strength to strength. It is now Europe’s biggest trans-national project focused on climate change with a budget in 2014 of €76 million.

One big part of the activities is Pioneers into Practice, the unique professional development programme open to practitioners of all ages and backgrounds which provides two one month placement opportunities, three workshops with Dutch specialists in transitions thinking and a place at the annual Innovation Festival, this year in Valencia. With all the costs up to €8,000 covered.

The call for people to both participate in this year’s programme and to be a host is now open. Forms can be obtained from the link below.

This is a great opportunity


Lebanese learn about H2020…..


The External Projects Team have supported the EU funded Business School project IDEAL (The Innovation and Development of Academic-Industry Partnerships through Efficient Research Administration in Lebanon). Emma and Jose filmed a 90 minute training video on the latest EU Research Funding Programme Horizon 2020. This film covers a number of key areas, including the policy framework for Horizon 2020 and detailed description of the funding mechanisms and opportunities for engagement.

The IDEAL programme, launched in early December 2012, it is helping to forge links between local researchers and their international counterparts, while working with industry to identify research priorities and commercialize any innovative ideas.  The project is coordinated by the Office of Grants and Contracts at the American University of Beirut and Staffordshire University are one of the partners.

Pictured are from left to right: Emma Davies, Tom Ward, Jose Beech and Ian Jackson.

For more information on H2020 and the latest calls for proposals please get in touch with

For more information on IDEAL please follow the Link