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 of the EU Cohesion Policy objective “European Territorial Cooperation” in the period 2021-27. Funds come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Norwegian Interreg Funding (IR).

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
SWEDEN
Norrbotten
Västerbotten
Västernorrland
NORWAY
Troms og 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 og Finnmark, Nordland and Tröndelag as well as part of Innlandet
(Elgå Reinbeitedistrikt)

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

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

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

Project 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.

The programme has approximately 87,7 MEUR from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and approx 6,4 MEUR from Norwegian IR-funding to allocate to projects.

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

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 Managing Authority offers the possibilty to start by filling in the project idea form that can be found from the project website, and sending it to interregaurora@lansstyrelsen.se. This way you can receive initial feedback and you can agree on a consultation.

No, the funding decisions are taken by the Steering Committés for sub-area Aurora and sub-area Sápmi of the Interreg Aurora Programme.

Project partners can also come from outside of the Programme area. However, as with other partners, their participation must be justified and relevant for the project implementation.

Plan for project

The Managing Authority offers the possibility to start by filling in the project idea form that can be found from the project website, and sending it to interregaurora@lansstyrelsen.se. This way you can receive initial feedback and you can agree on a consultation.

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.

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

Yes, a Norwegian applicant 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 or no more than 200 000 euro per project.

If the EU-funding is granted on the basis of the state aid rules, do this affects the Finnis co-financing amount?
Yes. If the EU-funding is granted on the basis of the state aid rules, then the Finnis 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 then one Finnish partner, then the Finnish lead partner applies for the national co-financing on behalf of everybody.

Norwegian regional co-funding can be applied from Troms og Finnmarks 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 og Finnmarks 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.

Yes, companies can participate in the projects as project partners and receive EU-funding. 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. A common occurrence is that participating companies usually need to finance at least 20% of their own budget, even if they could find other external financing. This due to the EU-regulations of permitted state aid. 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.

It 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.

Programme officers might ask for additional information concerning funding from companies.

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

Yes, if you already have an existing account in Min ansökan you can use the same account for an Interreg Aurora application.

The project application can be submitted by anyone who works with the application and has a user account in Min Ansökan. The signing document for the application must, however, be signed by an authorized signatory.

The Lead Partner submits one joint application to Interreg Aurora on behalf of all project partners. Applying for co-financing 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. If it regards a Norwegian or Finnish organisation you can register a new organisation and it’s work places directly in Min Ansökan.

No, unfortunately not. 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. For Norwegian and Finnish organisations that already exists in the register of Min ansökan you need to contact the Managing authority who can add a missing work place to the register.

The amount of support from Interreg Aurora is 65% of the budget. Please see respective call announcement to check if there are limits in the euro-amount.

There is no project budget limitation in the Aurora programme. 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.

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. A common occurrence is that participating companies usually need to finance at least 20% of their own budget, even if they could find other external financing. This due to the EU-regulations of permitted state aid. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

No, indicators that are not relevant for the project do not need to be filled in. However, the indicators must have a value, ie. applicants must fill in “0” on the indicators that are not relevant to the project.

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. Co-financing certificates does not need to be submitted to Interreg Aurora.

No. In the application phase it is only the Lead Partner that can access the application in the system. It is possible to download a pdf-version of the application. However, it is very important that the application is prepared in cooperation between all partners involved in the project.

If the Joint Secretariat asks for completions, you can send completions by uploading documents in the Min Ansökan system

No, the signing document can be submitted later.

The signing document shall be submitted via the function for completions in Min ansökan.

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

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.

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.

No, you shall send documentation of your project 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.

No, you shall send documentation of your project 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.

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.

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.

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