FAQ

We have collected the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) by our applicants and beneficiaries. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please contact us.

Interreg Aurora Programme

Interreg Aurora is a cross-border funding programme within the EU Cohesion Policy objective “European Territorial Cooperation” in the period 2021-27. The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Norwegian Interreg Funding (IR).

The overall goal of the Interreg Aurora programme is to encourage cross-border collaboration, thereby strengthening the programme area’s competitiveness, sustainability and attractiveness through social inclusion, digitalisation and green transition.

The County Administrative Board in Norrbotten has been assigned the task of the Managing Authority for the Programme. The Programme is co-managed with Troms fylkeskommune who is in charge of the Norwegian IR-funding.

The Interreg Aurora Programme is managed and supported by the following Programme bodies. 

The official language is English meaning all official information in this website is in English and applications for support from the programme must be submitted in English. 

Interreg Aurora has two geographical sub-areas, sub-area Aurora and sub-area Sápmi.

SUB-AREA AURORA
FINLAND
Lappi
Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Keski-Pohjanmaa
Österbotten/Pohjanmaa
Etelä-Pohjanmaa
Kainuu
Pohjois-Karjala
SWEDEN
Norrbotten
Västerbotten
Västernorrland
NORWAY
Troms
Finnmark
Nordland

SUB-AREA SÁPMI
FINLAND

Lappi
Pohjois-Pohjanmaa
Keski-Pohjanmaa
In addition to the official area of the Sámi homeland, the geographical area of the sub-area Sápmi covers the entire regions of Lappi, Pohjois-Pohjanmaa and Keski-Pohjanmaa. The Sámi homeland means the areas of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki, as well as the area of the reindeer owners association of Lappi in Sodankylä.
SWEDEN
Norrbotten
Västerbotten
Västernorrland
Jämtland
Idre Sameby in Dalarna
NORWAY
Troms
Finnmark
Nordland
Tröndelag as well as part of Innlandet
(Elgå Reinbeitedistrikt)

The programme has four priorities that are divided into one or more Specific Objectives.

When you apply for funds, you can only choose one of the priorities and within that only one of the Specific Objectives.

Read more about the different Priorities and Specific Objectives here.

No.

Projects must clearly fit under one specific objective and the results of the project must always contribute to fulfilling the indicators of that specific objective.

However, a project may still include some elements from other specific objectives, but in the application you can only choose one specific objective.

It is the Steering Committees for sub-area Aurora and sub-area Sápmi of the Interreg Aurora Programme who prioritizes among the recieved applications. The applications are assessed by the Joint secretariat before presented to the Steering Committees. The Managing authority and the Norwegian managing organization makes the formal decisions according to the prioritizations from the Steering Committees.

Plan for project

The programme offers a possibility to submit the project idea form to interregaurora@lansstyrelsen.se. This possibility is offered for ideas regarding regular projects during a certain period of time before the calls for applications closes. By submitting the early project idea to the programme, you can receive initial feedback from the programme officers at the joint secretariat.

No, but the project must have partners from at least two of the three countries included in the Aurora program. For example. Sweden – Finland, Sweden – Norway or Finland – Norway.

Project partners can also come from outside of the Programme area (but inside Sweden, Finland or Norway). However, as with other partners, their participation must be justified and relevant for the project implementation.

Partners from other countries than Sweden, Finland and Norway cannot be funded by the programme but can participate as associated partners.

Read more about Eligible partners in the programme manual.

Yes, companies can participate in projects as project partners and companies may receive EU-funding. However, the programme cannot give direct business support to single companies.

The amount of support to companies from Interreg Aurora is the same as for other organisations, up to 65% of the budget (Norway 50% for IR-funding). Prior to each call, information will be available describing whether or not there is a project budget limitation. But regardless, the project budget must be cost-effective and realistic in relation to the project’s activities, goals and expected results.

The remaining 35 % need to be funded either by the companies themselves, or by other national funding resources, or a combination of both. Due to state aid regulations, participating companies usually need to finance at least 20% of their own budget, even if they could find other external financing.

The amount of own funding from the participating companies therefore depends on how the project is structured, i.e., the project’s content, objectives, and the role of the companies in the projects. Generally, a separate effort from the companies is positive, but the size can vary. This is a signal that the need comes from the business community and that the project idea is anchored. If the company is a project partner or active recipient of the project results, private co-financing may be required based on the regulations.

It is recommended to contact the Joint Secretariat in an early stage of the application process to discuss the different opportunities and restrictions. You can also read more about state aid in the program manual for Aurora. During the assessment of an application, the Programme officers might ask for additional information concerning funding from companies.

The Lead partner has the overall responsibility for the project implementation and reporting. The project partner is a co-applicant in the project.

If Norwegian partners participate in the application, one of the Norwegian applicants must have the role of lead partner. The Norwegian lead partner is responsible for the Norwegian IR-funding.

You can apply Finnish co-funding at Regional Council of Lapland. More information including the application form you can find on the webpages https://www.lapinliitto.fi/rahoitus/2021-2027interreg-vastinrahoitus-ja-valvonta/

When can I apply for Finnish co-financing?
You can apply for Finnish co-funding only after your project has received a positive EU-decision.  The co-funding application has to be submitted within 4-months of the EU-decision.

How much is the Finnish co-financing?
The Finnish co-financing can cover up to 70 % of the Finnish project partners own financing portion (non-EU funding part of the budget).

Are there any budget limits in Finnish co-financing?
Yes. The financing will not be granted for less than 4 900 euro per project and no more than 200 000 euro per project.

If the EU-funding is granted on the basis of the state aid rules, does this affect the Finnish co-financing amount?
Yes. If the EU-funding is granted on the basis of the state aid rules, then the Finnish national co-financing will be based on GBER rules. The combined EU-fund and national co-financing cannot exceed the 80 % of budget.

Do all Finnish partners send their own applications for the Finnish co-financing?
No. If there are more than one Finnish partner, the Finnish lead partner applies for the national co-financing on behalf of everybody.

Norwegian regional co-funding can be applied from Troms fylkeskommune via regionalforvaltning.no at the same time as the application of funding from the Aurora programme is submitted in Min ansökan.

Applicants are to provide the planned amount of co-financing from Norwegian regional budget in the application form for Aurora. 

The funding from Norwegian regional co-financing can be no more than 20% of the total Norwegian budget. If, for some reason, Troms fylkeskommune cannot approve the applied amount of Norwegian regional co-funding, the partners must cover the lack of external funds with own financing or other funding.

Beneficiaries can usually find external co-financing from the different regions, municipalities or other organisations having sources to finance Interreg projects.

In Sweden there is no ear-marked co-financing for Interreg programmes.

Beneficiaries can usually find external co-financing from the different regions, municipalities or other organisations having sources to finance Interreg projects.

Every financier have their own rules and deadlines for applying for funds. You need to check these rules with respective financier.

No. All co-financing must be cash funding no matter whether it is own financing or external financing. Own financing is calculated as a percentage of total costs, no matter whether these costs are staff costs or any other cost category.

Apply for project

Anyone who has access can share access to other users directly from the Project Area in Min Ansökan. The one you share access with needs to have an account in Min ansökan. You can find more information on this page.

Usually it is the Lead partner who submits the joint application in Min ansökan. But, the system allows anyone who works with the application and has a user account in Min Ansökan to submit the application.

The signing document for the application must, however, be signed by an authorized signatory at the Lead partner organization.

In Min ansökan, it is one joint application on behalf of all project partners.

Applying for co-financing from external financiers is the responsibility of each project partner.

All Swedish organisations should already be available in the register, please check that you have the right information regarding name and organisation number as you cannot add new Swedish organisations. For Swedish organisations all existing work places should already be available in the register, please check that you have the right information regarding the work place.

If it regards a Norwegian or Finnish organisation you can register a new organisation and it’s work places directly in Min Ansökan. If you can find the right organisation but your specific work place seems to be missing, please contact interregaurora@lansstyrelsen.se.

 “Yes” means that you can recover the VAT nationally (via your VAT report to the tax authority). In that case, VAT is not a cost for the project and shall therefore not be included in the budget in the application.  

“No” means that you cannot recover the VAT nationally (via your VAT report to the tax authority). VAT is in that case a final cost for the project and may be included in the budget in the application.    

The co-financing rate for EU-funding for Finnish and Swedish partners is 65% of the costs whereas Norwegian partners can receive 50% of the costs from the IR-funding.

There is no project budget limitation in the Aurora programme for regular projects. Please see respective call announcement for regular projects to check if there are limits in the euro-amount.  It is mainly the project content that determines what is realistic to apply for. As an applicant, you must keep in mind that your project budget must be cost-effective and realistic in relation to the project’s activities, goals and expected results.

Small-scale projects has a budget limitation with a maximum total project budget of 20 000 euro per participating country (40 000 if two countries participate and 60 000 if all three countries participate). 

Projects need to have own financing or apply for external co-financing from other sources corresponding to 35% of the EU-budget and 50% of the Norwegian budget. Funding from other external sources (public and/or private funding) must be applied directly from the intended co-financier. 

The amount of support to companies from Interreg Aurora is the same as for other organisations, up to 65% of the budget (Norway 50% for IR-funding). The remaining 35 % need to be funded either by the companies themselves, or by other national funding resources, or a combination of both. Due to state aid regulations a company usually need to finance at least 20% of their own budget, even if they could find other external financing. Contact the Joint Secretariat in an early stage of the application process to discuss the different opportunities and restrictions.

You can also read more about state aid in the program manual for Aurora.

No, letters of support are not mandatory. It is expected that the project application has a clear description on how companies will be involved. Keep in mind that the applied support can be considered as state aid depending on the activities and involvement of companies. Programme officers might ask for additional information due to weak descriptions in the application.

No, this is not possible. When the Joint Secretariat is assessing a phase 2-application they must know the results from phase 1, what have the project achieved and what is left to do.

36 months is normally the maximum project duration. If there are very specific circumstances it might be possible to have a longer project duration. For example, projects that are dependent on seasonal activities.

One simplified cost option is the lump sum method for small-scale projects where the project will be paid a lump sum if the final report is approved and does not need to report costs at all. Another simplified cost option is the 40%-method where the project only needs to report staff costs and will receive a 40% flat rate on top of the approved staff costs.

Yes
• Small scale projects (budget max 20 000 EUR per particpating country) will be granted a lump sum based on a draft budget.
• Projects with a budget above the small scale limit but not more than 200 000 EUR for the whole project needs to use the 40%-method (Staff + 40%).
• Projects with a budget above 200 000 EUR can choose the 40%-method (staff + 40%) or reporting on all cost types.

A small-scale project will, if approved, be granted a lump sum of EU-support and IR-funding based on a draft budget. The draft budget must be specified clearly in the application. The lump sum of EU-support and IR-funding will be paid if the final report is approved and the project does not need to report costs at all.

The budget shall be specified on partner level as well as under each cost category depending on the reporting method. 

Staff costs shall be specified with role, salary, social fees, the level of assignment in the project (full time or part time %) and for how many months the person will work in the project. Add one line each, both per role and per partner.

  • When using the 40%-method, only the cost category of staff costs shall be specified. The flat rate of 40% will be automatically added in the system.
  • When using the method of “all cost categories”, only the cost categories reported as real costs shall be specified (staff, external expertise, equipment and costs for infrastructure and works”. The categories were flat rates are used (Office and administrative expenditures and Travel and accommodation costs will be added automatically in the Min Ansökan system.

Regular projects must provide indicators in the application. Indicators should be based on realistic projections of what your project will achieve. Indicators that are not relevant for the project do not need to strive for a value above 0. However, you need fill in “0” (zero) on the indicators that are not relevant to the project.

Small-scale projects do not need to provide, measure or report any indicators. 

Read more about which indicators are relevant for each specific objective in the Programme manual.

Co-financing certificates does not need to be submitted to Interreg Aurora meaning no co-financing documents are needed for the application in Min ansökan. You shall add in the financing table the co-financing amounts applied and from whom.

It is the partners own responsibility to ensure that sufficient co-financing is secured. When Lead Partner signs the signing document (after submitting the application), the Lead Partner ensures that co-financing is secured for the whole project.

And, in case of changes during the assessment period or even after a positive decision, as soon as you know any changes, please notify the programme so the financing plan can be changed according to new circumstances.

Yes, you can send completions by uploading documents in the Min Ansökan system.

To upload completions: Log in to Min Ansökan and go to My page – Project funding. Here you can see your submitted application – press the button “manage” to the right of the project name and then choose “additional information”.

The signing document shall be submitted via the function for completions in Min ansökan. The signing document will be able to download and print only after the application is submitted in the system. If there are two Lead Partners (EU and Norway) it may be two signing documents. 

How to upload completions: Log in to Min Ansökan and go to My page – Project funding. Here you can see your submitted application – press the button “manage” to the right of the project name and then choose “additional information”.

It is ok if the signing document is submitted after the stop date of a specific call period but please submit it as soon as possible when you have the necessary signature (-s) in place. The Joint Secretariat cannot start the assessment procedure before the application is completed with the signing document.

Here you can read more about the signing document

Implement your project

If you need to update the contact information in an approved project, you need to contact the programme via interregaurora@lansstyrelsen.se to add/change contact person./persons.

Reporting periods will be flexible based on the need of the project, normally 2-3 times a year (ie 4-6 months periods) in agreement with the JS. The periods will be set out in the grant decision but can be changed in agreement with the Joint Secretariat.

The Lead partner EU is the one who is responsible of submitting the payment application in Min ansökan regarding the EU-funding for the whole project. If you are a project partner, you shall send documentation of your costs to the Lead partner EU who submits the payment application regarding EU-funding for the whole project. The Lead partner will receive the EU-funding and pay your share to you.

The Lead partner Norway is the one who is responsible of submitting the payment application in Regionalforvaltning regarding the IR-funding for the whole project. If you are a project partner, you shall send documentation of your costs to the Lead partner Norway who submits the payment application regarding IR-funding for the whole project. The Lead partner will receive the IR-funding and pay your share to you.

Yes, you can start and save a payment application and continue to work with it later and submit it once everything is in order. You cannot start a payment application regarding a period if the application for the former period is still not paid.

If you cannot submit the payment application in due time (no later than two months after the end of a reporting period) you need to ask for permission to submit it later.

You do this by sending an email to interregaurora@lansstyrelsen.se containing a request to submit the payment application later and why this is necessary.

Please note that you need to be clear if this request concerns both EU and Norway as in those cases the payment applications are made in two different systems (Min Ansökan and RF respectively).

Please also note that the joint progress report are a part of both payment applications (EU and Norway).

The managing authority and the Norwegian managing organisation will get back to you as soon as possible with an answer.

Finnish partners costs will be checked by Finnish Controllers and Swedish partners costs will be checked by Swedish Controllers once the payment application has been submitted in Min ansökan.

Norwegian partners costs will be checked by Norwegian Controllers once the payment application has been submitted in Regionalforvaltning.

If the teachers belong to the target group for taking part in the project’s results (take part of a training/education/course), they are not participants in the project and the project cannot cover their staff costs. But if they are involved in producing the project’s results (e.g. in a reference group), then they are seen as participants in the project and provided that they are employed by one of the partner organisations (beneficiaries) in the project, their working time is staff cost for the beneficiary. However, it is never possible to include the costs of the substitute teachers in the project accounts.

It is possible to some extent. It is important that the students research gives a clear contribution to the result of the project. If you are planning to hire students, please be in contact with the Joint Secretariat to discuss the details in your specific case.

Specific note, applicable from call 3: If you are planning to hire PhD students for the project you must clearly describe the role and relevance of the PhD student in the project. The programme will accept a maximum of 50 % as the fixed percentage for a PhD student. No educational/ teaching- activities will be financed. The same rules apply to partners in Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Yes, holiday fees that are registered in the project ledger and paid within deadlines for reporting are eligible. The amount of holiday fees shall correspond to the valid task assignment regarding the percentage of allocation to the project.

You don’t have to report the actual hours spent in the project. However, you shall report staff costs according to the task assignments issued beforehand and the amount you report shall be supported with documents showing the salary and social fees. The amount must as well be posted in the financial records for the project.

It is strongly recommended that, if possible, the fixed percentage for a person is used for an automatic posting of the correct share of the staff cost on the project code in the financial records. Automatic triggers in the financial records reduces the risk of errors. If it is not possible to handle it with automatic triggers in the financial records it would be preferable if you report the amount of hours that correspond to the percentage according to the person’s task assignment.

For example, if person A is assigned to work 20% in the project, you register the hours corresponding to this share. You never need to submit time sheets.

You don’t have to fill in or send in anything for that specific partner, you just leave them out and write a comment about that in the progress report.

The user who created the application for support and/or created an application for payment in the case have full access to the case and can as well see the events. It seems like other users don’t have full access to their cases before they have been entering the section payments. To solve this issue, go to Manage and then Payments where one can see earlier made payments to the project (if any have been made) and then go directly back to My page – Project funding (without creating a payment application). After a few seconds, the button Events should appear and the user should now have full access to the case.

Yes,  1-2 glasses per person can be eligible depending on the purpose of the dinner and who is attending (internal or external participants). The Controllers have to see a clear connection to the project of the cost, hence you should be able to provide an explanation .

If the project uses the 40% method guidelines should still be followed. However these kind of costs will not be checked as only staff costs are checked in those projects.

Some examples that clarifies the difference:

  • A person may be employed for a 100% position (full time employment) but works 50% for the project (50% out of 100%) and the other half with other duties in the organisation.
  • A person is employed for a 100% position and works only for the project (100% out of 100%).
  • A person is employed for a 80% position (part time employment) but out of that time works 30% for the project and 70% with other duties in the organisation.

There is no difference between renting and leasing when it comes to the eligibility rules. You should always choose the most cost-efficient option for the organization/project. As an example, if you find out that leasing is a better alternative (cheaper) than renting, you can choose to lease instead of rent (even if renting is mentioned in the approved project budget). The cost must be project related and in line with the decision and the activity plan. It is also important that applicants follow their own rules regarding any procurements/purchases. The applicants must have all the needed supporting documents at hand if/when Controllers ask for them.

Finish your project

Project documents and project accounts with supporting documentation should be kept available for a period of seven years following the end of the calendar year when the project was formally closed by the Managing Authority, or longer if it is stipulated in other rules applicable to the project partner.

Small-scale projects

You can find the call dates for small-scale project applications and the terms for each specific call for applications on this webpage. Please read the terms for detailed and essential information regarding open Priorites and Specific Objectives for each specific call.

You can find all the information about how to apply in the Interreg Aurora Programme manual

Small-scale projects has a budget limitation with a maximum total project budget of 20 000 euro per participating country (40 000 if two countries participate and 60 000 if all three countries participate). 

Please see respective call announcement to check if there are limits in the euro-amount. 

The Norwegian funding for small-scale projects is limited during 2024. The total amount of Norwegian IR-funding possible to allocate to small-scale projects applied is 50 000 EUR. (500 000 NOK). The maximum amount of IR-funding for one project is up to 10 000 euro and shall be based on a specified draft budget in the application.

Small-scale projects do not need to provide, measure or report any indicators. 

All small-scale project must use the lump sum method. The project will be granted a lump sum of EU-support based on a draft budget. The lump sum will be paid if the final report is approved and the project does not need to report costs at all.

If you intend to apply for co-financing from Lapin liitto for a small-scale project, the project budget for the Finnish partners needs to be at least 20 000 euro to reach the minimum level of co-financing possible to apply, which is 4 900 euros. The national Finnish co-financing is limited to 70% of total Finnish co-financing, meaning that the total Finnish co-financing hence need to be at least 7 000 euros to make it possible to apply for the minimum amount of 4 900 euros from Regional Council of Lapland. The amount of 7 000 euros corresponds to 35% of 20 000, hence this is the total needed co-financing when applying for 65% from the EU-funding for the Finnish partners. 

Read more on this webpage.

No, advance payments is not possible for small-scale projects.

Small-scale projects do not need to send in task assignment templates for the project staff.

Small-scale projects do not need to report expenditures when submitting the payment application, just upload the joint progress report as an attachment to the payment application.

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