Call for pilot actions FAQ

Are you considering applying for one of the 10 pilots to be funded in Energy, Mobility, Food, Disaster Management, and Biodiversity? Read the FAQ below!

General questions

Can organisations from countries outside EU apply?

To be eligible for this call, applicants and their project proposals must be located in one of the EU Member States and/or in one of the Third Countries Associated with the programme (corresponding to the first category listed in this document). Other third countries are not eligible.

Can local authorities apply?

Yes, local authorities are eligible to apply.

My organisation has a status similar to, but distinct from, a non-profit organisation: are we eligible for pilot actions? (e.g. Private Institution of Social Solidarity, public limited company owned by local municipalities).

Such organisations are eligible for consideration. Generally, the pilot actions aim to engage local governments and/or bottom-up initiatives with community groups. Note, however, that the organisation type criteria are quite flexible, and the evaluation will concentrate more on the content of the proposal.

Thus, it is important to describe well the project idea and the partners (if any), justifying the distribution and use of resources. In particular, it’s important to ensure that vulnerable groups and communities are involved in the implementation and that the resources are directly used for the action, as much as possible. Given the focus on empowerment and implementation, applications of a largely academic or profit-seeking nature will not be successful.

Can universities and academic/research institutions apply?

Universities and academic/research institutions are not explicitly mentioned as applicants (except in Pilot Action 2), because priority is given to community-led initiatives and vulnerable groups. However, such institutions are not excluded from submission.  
The focus of the proposals is expected to be on action (prototyping and testing) rather than on research, but research teams can apply if they can deliver what is expected by the Pilot Actions specifications.

Is it an advantage or disadvantage to present a proposal as a consortium of partners?

There is no evaluation criterium related to the number of organisations involved in one proposal.  
Unless specifically indicated in the Technical Specifications, applicants are free to participate alone or as a consortium. The evaluation will be based on the expertise and the use of resources to achieve the objectives and actions expected.

Are there any specifications/rules for the contracts with other organisations/groups as contributors or external consultants?

Details about contracts with beneficiaries and their collaborators/partners will be discussed after the selection phase. Applicants should make sure to mention the partners and consultants involved in their proposal, explaining their role in the workplan, in the expertise description and in the budget breakdown, to justify budget allocation. 

What information is needed to describe the team and their expertise?

In the application form, please provide a concise description of the applicant organization (and the partners, if any) and why their expertise aligns with the Pilot Action Specifications.  

A list of the main people involved in the proposal is really encouraged, to briefly describe their expertise and justify their roles. CVs are not necessary.  

Additional information about the roles can be incorporated in the workplan and budget breakdown. 

Cal applicants submit proposals for different Pilot Actions? If yes, is there a limit?

Applicants can submit as many proposals as they like, for all the Pilot Actions they are interested in. 
Since the Pilot Actions topics are very specific, it is recommended to read carefully the Guidelines and apply only if the applicant and the proposal fit the selection criteria.  

It is very unlikely that one applicant can win more than one Pilot Action, due to the geographical distribution criteria.

Can one proposal foresee activities in more than one eligible country?

Within the eligible countries, there is no general restriction for the location of the proposal implementation, or the origin of the applicant organisations involved.  

Different Pilot Actions might have different requirements, so please refer to the “Territorial Scope” paragraph in each Pilot Action Technical Specifications. 
In general, the implementation at local level is preferred. 

Is there flexibility regarding the scale and the territorial scope of the Pilot Actions?

The scale of each Pilot Action is described in the “Territorial Scope” paragraph of the Technical Specifications, and it depends on the Pilot Action needs. In case of no specific instructions, more flexibility is allowed, keeping in mind that the implementation at the local level is preferred.

Is there flexibility in the beginning and end dates of the Pilot Actions and their timeline?

The estimated starting date for all Pilot Actions is December 2023 and the duration of the Pilot can be maximum 12 months (see specifications for shorter Pilot Actions).  
Changes to the general timeframe are not encouraged and may be considered only in very exceptional cases. 

The activities timeline suggested in the guidelines is indicative and can be modified by the applicants according to the specificities of their proposal.

Is there a template for the budget breakdown? How detailed it should be?

The call doesn’t provide a specific template for budgeting, so each applicant is free to choose the methodology that best fits their proposal

Does the project cover 100% of the budget requested or is co-funding needed?

The budget assigned to each Pilot Action (max €16-32K depending on the pilot) is considered adequate and sufficient to implement the actions, so co-funding is NOT needed.   

When a proposal is approved, 100% of the budget requested will be covered by the project funds. 

Co-funding remains allowed, if the applicant has an ambitious proposal that goes beyond the Pilot Actions’ Specifications: in this case, the extra costs should not be included in the total budget requested in the application, and they must be covered by the applicant or by external funds. 

Is it allowed to combine the funds of this call with funds coming from other EU programmes?

If the project is or can be linked to another project (complementary) that already receives funding from the EC, this is in theory possible. What is forbidden is to charge the same cost twice (to two projects). The best solution would be to consider the ACCTING project as fully independent financially, with clear distinction in activities and their cost justifications. 

Is it possible to use part of the budget to pay staff involved in the Pilot Action implementation?

There is no restriction on how to use the budget: applicants can allocate it as they prefer, based on the proposal needs. The budget is intended to cover the project activities expected in the Pilot Action Specifications, as well as the staff costs needed for those activities.

Are there any cost categories that are not eligible for funding?

There are no specifications about budget allocation and distribution within the proposal. The evaluation will be based on how the use of resources is justified in the project proposal and budget breakdown, and if it meets the requirements of the Pilot Actions Specifications. 

Is it possible to include in the budget direct costs and indirect costs?

Indirect costs can be included if needed to run the project. However, these costs should be included in the total budget requested, which should not exceed the maximum stated in the call guidelines. 

Should we specify in the project proposal any type of "in-kind contribution"?

As the Pilot Actions are funded 100% there is no need to include co-financing. If a proposing organization wants to include its own financing on top of the project’s financing, either in cash or in-kind, they are free to do so. 

Should VAT be included in the costs presented in the budget breakdown? How should VAT be dealt with when working together with other partners/consortium members?

Project costs may not include VAT, unless the applicant can prove that their legal and fiscal status does not allow them to claim VAT back. 

Only the lead applicant will sign a contract with ESF, so arrangements with (potential) other partners are up to them to agree upon. 

Is a final financial report required, with supporting documents (invoices, personal payroll, etc.)?

No, a financial report will not be required at the end of the Pilot implementation. The same is valid for proofs, such as invoices and payrolls. However, it is suggested to keep track of these payments for internal purposes, or in case of an audit performed by EU bodies. 

The details about the contract and the required documents for reporting, monitoring and evaluation purposes will be discussed after the selection phase.   

What will be the language of the Pilot implementation and final outcomes?

The pilot actions themselves can be run in any language, especially if the activities and the materials produced are targeting the local communities.  

Reporting and interactions with other pilots will need to be conducted in English, and the applicant’s main contact person is required to have at least level B1 command of English. Major outcomes, that can be useful beyond the country of implementation (e.g. the Food Everywhere Toolkit), may be asked to be translated in English for dissemination purposes.

What are the vulnerabilities highlighted in the ACCTING project?

In the ACCTING project the following vulnerability conditions are highlighted: gender, gender identity, age (e.g. elderly people), disability, national minority, migrants, religion/belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and geographical (e.g. people living in isolated areas).

What is the flexibility of the timeline suggested? Is it possible to organise additional events or arrange the events and activities in a different way?

The Pilot Actions timelines are a suggestion, that can be adapted by each applicant, based on their needs and priorities. 

A different timeline and events arrangements are possible, if your team believes that this would bring more value to the project and the participants involved, provided that the expected activities are implemented, and the objectives are achieved. Please, make sure to justify in the proposal the changes in the timeline and their related costs, explaining how you can still ensure the achievement of the expected actions and objectives. 

Questions specific to Pilot Action 1. Next time better and more inclusive

Are earthquakes included in the list of disasters addressed by this Pilot Action?

As there is a double ambition (preparedness and reducing the risk), the action idea can be used for disasters that are the effects of climate change (e.g. heatwaves, fires, floods) and not for other natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes).

Is the budget intended for “capacity and cooperation” or for real investment?

The proposed Pilot Action does not intend to support infrastructure investment.

Questions specific to Pilot Action 3. Awards for inclusive energy communities

Is it possible to organise an in-person or hybrid event instead of (or in addition to) the online forum?

In person events can be very effective. However, they usually require more effort and budget to be implemented: that’s one of the reasons why the guidelines suggest an online event. 

With that said, an in-person or hybrid event is possible if the applicant believes that this would bring more value to the project and the energy communities involved. 

Please review the budget specifications for Pilot Action 3 (Guidelines – page 31): the proposal expenses and activities (including the potential in-person event) should be covered by the given budget, unless applicants can ensure additional funding on their own. 

Always make sure to justify the different activities and related costs in the proposal. 

Questions specific to Pilot Action 7. Green to school: sustainable commutes

Is a letter of intent an absolute prerequisite?

A letter of intent is not an absolute prerequisite. Proposals that define the school(s) but could not produce a letter of intent (i.e. because of summer break) may be asked to supply it after the submission of the proposal.  

How strict is the proposed timing? Is there flexibility in the beginning and end dates?

The estimated starting date for all Pilot Actions is December 2023 and the duration of the Pilot can be maximum 12 months.  

The timing of the activities suggested is indicative and can be modified by the applicants according to the specificities of their proposal and their availability: school breaks should be considered in the workplan of the proposal.
Changes to the general timeframe are not encouraged and may be considered only in very exceptional cases. 

Questions specific to Pilot Action 9. Series V – kickstarting volunteerism

What is the level of involvement expected from the applicant, after the creation of the platform and collection of projects?

The level of involvement expected from the applicant after the creation of the platform and collection of projects is a crucial aspect for ensuring the sustainability of the services beyond the ACCTING funding period. At a minimum, the applicant is expected to take on the responsibility of hosting and maintaining the platform beyond the scope of the funding period. Measures to ensure sustainability after the end of this pilot phase of the “Series V” activities can be outlined by the applicant organisations. The applicant has flexibility in proposing approaches that align with their profile and capabilities. Ultimately, the goal is to establish a self-sustaining platform that can continue operating even after the end of the ACCTING funding.

Should the applicant find volunteers, or are the selected projects in charge of it?

The selected projects will be responsible for finding volunteers.

Can the applicant support financially some selected projects?

No financial benefits are offered to the supported initiatives, under this call.

Is there a minimum percentage of budget allocation to the platform development?

No, there is no specification about the allocation and distribution of budget for different cost categories.

Questions specific to Pilot Action 10. Cultivating Changemakers

What is the flexibility of the requirements in terms of number of hours and timeframe for the internships?

The specifications for Pilot Action 10 clearly state that the internship / volunteering activity duration should be set at a minimum of 20 hours. This is considered the bare minimum to allow students to adequately immerse themselves in the activities and routines of the chosen NGO. Of course, internships with higher number of hours are possible. The suggested implementation period is between the conclusion of final exams and the end of the academic year, however the guidelines don’t specify an exact timeframe or hour-perweek ratio, so this is up to the applicants and the partners/schools involved, provided that the minimum number of hours is ensured.

If you have other questions, please contact us at or join us for the Pilot Actions Q&A webinars on 31 July or 28 August!


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