HuMUS Open Call Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All questions and answers received from and sent to prospective participants in the Call will be made available here below.

A permanent help-desk service is available at info@humus-project.eu and will answer incoming questions and assist applicants in resolving any issues related to the use of the system that may come up during the application process.

Where can I get started?

Download the official Call text here or its attachments as separate downloadable files from this page.

What if have any doubts or concerns?

For any questions, please send an email to info@humus-project.eu – We will reply to you and publish the Q&A (anonymously) on this page.

Who are you?

ANCI Toscana is the association of Tuscan Municipalities in Italy, having its seat in Florence.

We also coordinate the HuMUS project, acting on behalf of a consortium composed by 18 partners.

HuMUS is funded by the European Union under the provisions of the Horizon Europe Framework Programme for research and innovation, for the duration of three years until 31 December 2025.

What are you looking for?

In simple terms, we are looking for 20 territorial communities, anywhere located in the EU and beyond (including non-EU countries that are associated to Horizon Europe), willing to experiment with participatory methods and tools for soil health governance within an arc of time of 12 months maximum.

Who can apply?

We welcome individual or joint candidatures of eligible entities to participate in Horizon Europe.

In either case, the single or main applicant must be a public entity or an organisation governed by public law.

Any public entity or entity governed by public law is eligible as the main applicant, e.g., municipalities, unions, associations of municipalities, public research centres, public universities, and any other local or regional public body governed by public law.

For example, if the main applicant is a public research centre, it is strongly recommended to include municipalities or local public bodies among the co-applicants, together with the other actors of the quadruple helix. Vice versa, if the main applicant is a municipality or local public body, it is strongly recommended to include for instance a research centre or university among the co-applicants together with other actors of the quadruple helix.

How can I apply?

Exclusively in electronic form, via the ANCI Toscana/GoodgrantsTM platform, available here.

Please note that the platform will open on 1 December 2023. Meanwhile, you can start filling in the courtesy application form (Annex A to the Call) that is downloadable from here.

Bear in mind that the use of the submission platform requires registration, after which you will receive an email with access to your proposal space. By logging in with your email address you can then make further changes until the Call expires. 

What documents do I need to prepare?

Apart from the application form, which must be filled in online, the following attachments must be uploaded to the ANCI Toscana/GoodgrantsTM platform:

  • An electronic copy of the single or main applicant’s statute and/or law of establishment (in the original language), accompanied by a short summary in English.
  • For the single or main applicant as well as for each of the co-applicants (if they exist), a detailed breakdown of foreseen costs, using the Excel template (Annex B to the Call) which is downloadable from here.
  • For the single or main applicant as well as for each of the co-applicants (if they exist), a signed electronic copy of the Privacy Statement (Annex E to the Call) which is downloadable from here.
  • For the single or main applicant as well as for each of the co-applicants (if they exist), a signed electronic copy of the Declaration of honour (Annex F to the Call) which is downloadable from here.

Applications that are unaccompanied by these signed documents will be rejected as ineligible for funding.

Signatures can be digital or handwritten and scanned.

Until when can I apply?

The call closes on 29 February 2024 at 17:00 CET. You won’t have access to your proposal space on the platform after that date.

Please note that you can submit your application and then continue making changes to the application form and/or the attachments until the deadline of the Call. However, we recommend you not wait until the very last minute to finalise your submission.

A good strategy can be to start preparing the full proposal draft offline first, using the courtesy Word file provided. And all the needed attachments, using the Excel and Word templates made available. These can also be modified at a later stage, until the deadline.

Can I present multiple proposals?

No, unfortunately not.

Where can I get support?

We have prepared a set of guidelines for the applicants, related to the use of the submission platform, which are downloadable from here.

For any other inquiry, email us at info@humus-project.eu

What countries are eligible for this Call? 

See the List of Participating Countries in Horizon Europe.

What is the timeline for the project?

Ҥ16. Indicative timing of the evaluation, contracting, and payment processes

16.1 The evaluation process will tentatively last for two months. Therefore, notification of acceptance will be sent by ANCI Toscana to the Winners of the Call (indicatively) by 30 April 2024.

16.2 Sub-grant agreements are expected to be signed electronically, based on the template already available as Annex D to this Call, indicatively by 31 May 2024.

16.3 Selected third parties will receive an advance payment of 50% of the Sub-grant amount until 30 June 2024.

16.4 Another 25% of the Sub-grant amount will be paid upon reception of the Territorial Management Agreement described in § 9 above and under the conditions stated therein.

16.5 The final balance of the 25% of the Sub-grant will be paid upon reception of the Analysis of Replication Potential and of the Short Final Report described in §§ 10-11 above and under the conditions stated therein.

16.6 The maximum duration allowed for the Pilot Projects is 9 months for the field activities and 3 months for the replication analyses. No extensions will be possible. Therefore, all the Pilot Project activities must be finalised at the latest until 30 June 2025.”

The contract will start indicatively in June 2024 and will have a duration of 12 months. 

The duration of the evaluation process depends on the number of proposals received and the time needed to analyse all the documents. 

The project seems related to soil health initiatives on urban soils. Is it expected that all projects and the related stakeholders and soil health issues must be related to urban areas?

Proposals can cover all soil types (urban, agricultural, forestry, industrial).

Does the project involve basic research? Can you provide more information on the HuMUS methodology?
​​​​​​There is an ongoing deliverable on the HuMUS methodology that will be published shortly. Announcements will be given on these pages.

Proposals can involve local stakeholders belonging to the following categories: academia, industry and associations, government, and the general public. 

According to the HuMUS methodology, the projects aim to find potential stakeholders involved in the proposed issue and potential solutions.

In this kind of project is it possible to hire people? The €30,000 budget seems tight.

This depends on your project management, the applying entity or main applicant, the internal procedures belonging to different entities in the EU member states, and the distribution of resources that each applying entity or main applicant intends to allocate to the activities and partners involved.

As an NGO, are we eligible to apply for the HuMUS Project Open Call?

NGOs can participate as co-applicants. The main applicant must be a public body or a body governed by public law with which you can co-edit the proposal. For the implementation of project activities, NGOs may receive contributions from the main applicant and the amount must be indicated in the budget (annex B)  to be attached to the submitted proposal.

Could you explain 5.4 (ii) in the Call guidelines “A proposal will only be considered eligible if: No concurrent submission is done, with similar or different contents, to the same Call that could lead to the signature of two distinct contracts with the same legal entity”.

Each organisation or person may submit only one proposal. 

Is a research institution—juridically a public body, established by the state—eligible for this call? Would municipalities be eligible too, if their status is a state-owned institution?

We confirm that any public body or body governed by public law is eligible as the main applicant (e.g. municipalities, unions/associations of municipalities, public research centres, public universities, and any other local or regional public/governed by public law body).

If the main applicant is a public research centre, it is highly recommended to include municipalities or local public bodies among the co-applicants, together with the other actors of the quadruple helix. Vice versa, if the main applicant is a municipality or local public authority, it is highly recommended to include (e.g.) a research centre/university among the co-applicants together with the other actors of the quadruple helix. 

Does the limit of one proposal per institution apply to both, the main applicant as well as for a partner or co-applicant? E.g., if a public entity is a partner in one proposal, can it still be in another proposal as the main applicant? Or is it strictly limited to one proposal per institution whether as main applicant or co-applicant?

We confirm that a public entity or an entity governed by public law can participate as the main applicant in one proposal and as a co-applicant in other proposals.

Can you clarify the meaning of the Quadruple Helix stakeholders? Do we have to group 4 different participants from each stakeholder or there is no limitation on the number of people that can be involved in this proposal?

The Quadruple Helix includes a representative of government, academia, community, and industry, separately. A deliverable will be available on our website explaining the Quadruple Helix approach and methodology. Please check the HuMUS website mid-January: https://humus-project.eu/publications/   

There is no limitation on the number of stakeholders and people that can be involved in each proposal. You can have 4 stakeholders involved, or 5, 6, 7…

For each stakeholder involved, you can have 1 participant, or 2, 3, 4, 5….

How would the personnel costs of a company and of a farmer be justified?

Regarding the personnel costs of SMEs, farmers, citizens, and volunteers, you can enter the costs in Annex B and follow the instructions available in Annex B of the proposals here: ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/common/guidance/additional-information-on-unit-costs-and-contributions_en.pdf 

What is the copy of statuses and/or law of establishment?

A copy of the juridical status of an entity (private company, public entity, etc.)

The main applicant must have the legal status of a public body or body governed by public law. Co-applicants may be SMEs, NGOs, citizens, farmers, private entities, associations, private or public research centers, etc.).

Is it admissible to attach the Statutes in the native language? Is it necessary to summarize? 

A copy of the applicant’s statute and/or law of establishment (in the original language) is admissible accompanied by a short summary in English. Only the main applicant (single or leader of a joint application) is requested to include here this documentation.

Must all co-applicants be governed by Public Law?

No, only the main applicant must be a public law entity or an entity governed by public law.

Does the maximum budget of €30,000 have to be divided between applicants and co-applicants, or does each one have a maximum of €30,000?

The maximum budget of €30,000 has to be divided between applicants and co-applicants

Can the main applicant subcontract services to co-applicants such as companies or universities?

This depends on your proposal. You can find details in the call and the annexes (especially A, B, G, and H).

The pilot proposal to be presented must be related to new activities to be implemented once the proposal is awarded, or can proposals on activities already in the process of implementation at the municipal level be eligible?

Proposals to be submitted may concern newly born, growing but not yet mature projects that need input to stay alive, or proposals to be co-constructed after the signing of the contract with the HuMUS project.

Since we are an SME and the beneficiary shall be a public entity, we planned to elaborate a proposal as co-applicants with a public entity. 

That is the right way!

Is the total budget shared by the applicant to the co-applicant because it is the entity that is in charge of the implementation of all the activities? If we apply as co-applicants next to the public organisation as the main applicant, the total budget is shared between the two participants equally? Or is shared regarding who is in charge of developing the activities?

We will sign the contract and transfer the budget to the main applicant who can transfer part of the available resources to the co-applicants. There is no fixed percentage, so the main applicant will define together with co-applicants the distribution of the budget, according to the activities to be carried out. The requested budget and the budget distribution will be indicated in the form to be filled out online and in Annex B to be uploaded to the platform.

Inside the Annex B. Detailed breakdown of planned costs, what do you mean by A.4 SME owners and natural person beneficiaries?

The main applicant may also transfer funds to those categories: SMEs or private citizens. Of course, if the main applicant and co-applicants consider this aspect to be necessary to achieve the main objective and results of the project.

Will the subgrant of max €30,000 be paid out to the main applicant or the co-applicants? 

The requested amount will be transferred exclusively to the main applicant who can allocate (or not) a part of the budget to co-applicants. 

If we, as a university apply e.g., with our local municipality as a co-applicant, we can get a grant of a maximum of € 30,000 to be used for setting up a local HuMUS partner community?

That’s correct. We specify that the main applicant (a public body or public law body, so in your case you must be a public university) can transfer funds to other partners if it considers this necessary and useful to achieve the expected results of the project. 

The community should have 13 partners who sign the Territorial Management Agreement?

Not necessarily. The number is indicative. What is important is that the participatory process involves the actors of the quadruple helix and that the territorial management agreement is signed also by a municipality, a region, or any territorial entity (public) directly involved in the project and other actors of the quadruple helix (for example, associations, SME, farmers or citizens). 

Do we have to participate in international meetings? It would be nice to meet the consortium.

Call winners will be invited to HuMUS and EU Mission Soil online events (e.g., webinars, workshops). Call winners will also be informed about in-person initiatives of both the HuMUS project and the EU Mission Soil. However, if call winners want to participate in person in one or more events, the travel and subsistence costs will be fully covered by the main applicant and/or co-applicants of each winner project.

​​​​​​Applicants​ may include travel and subsistence costs in the project proposal (Annex B). The number of in-person events will be about two.

Do you have a model contract for a Territorial Management Agreement?

We do not have a Territorial Management Agreement model to share at this stage. However, the Call winners will be supported by the HuMUS consortium in the development of output n.1.

It is mentioned that candidates must be “organisations governed by public law”. We are non-profit associations, are we eligible?

As a non-profit association, you can be eligible as a co-applicant. The main applicant must be a public entity or an entity governed by public law. The main applicant will receive the entire funds and may transfer part of the budget to the co-applicants.

Can you also explain what is expected from the “Territorial management agreement”? Is it something declarative as a good conduct chart or is it a legally binding document that will engage its signatories?

The TMA will define the roles, responsibilities, rights, and obligations of each party, as well as the actions, indicators, and monitoring mechanisms to achieve the desired outcomes.

The project lasts only 12 months but, according to the call text, it seems that it requires along with the mobilisation of actors, experimental activities and soil analysis. Is that correct? It is difficult for any action to generate a relevant difference in the characteristics of the soil in a few months.

Through the HuMUS call, the results described in paragraphs 9, 10, and 11 of the call text are expected: 

9. Output #1: Territorial Management Agreement  

10. Output #2: Analysis of Replication Potential 

11. Output #3: Short Final Report

If you consider it appropriate and useful, you may include in your proposal the possibility of carrying out experiments or soil analyses to assess the current state of soil. In any case, it is not part of any expected outcome of the project to produce actions to improve the state of soil quality or soil health in 12 months, but territorial management agreements can improve soil health in the future.

Can the main applicant be a group of Local Authorities interested in co-leading a proposed action pertaining to their municipal territories? 

The main applicant can be a group of local authorities with the legal status of a public body or a body governed by public law. If not in possession of the requested legal status, these types of actors may participate as co-applicants and receive the funds established with the main applicant and to be included in Annex B.

Are there any parameters required for local authorities as main applicants? 

None other than those specified in the call text.

Do the members of the team have to be equally represented across the partnership?

Not necessarily. You only have to respect what is specified within the text of the call.

Please advise more precisely on Human Resources eligible costs. 

To the question of whether all the professionals involved (technical and non-technical) must be internal to the main applicant and co-applicants, we answer that any collaborator/external experts working with the co-applicants may also be included. With regard to the main applicant, internal staff is highly recommended.

How many TMA signatures are needed? Are there any limits or is there a suggested number of TMA’s?

Each successful proposal has to produce one territorial management agreement, co-created and signed together with the applicants (main applicant and co-applicants). More info in paragraphs 9, 10, and 11 of the call text. 

Are equipment costs, such as farming tools and seeds (used for educational purposes), and soil testing covered by the project funds?

Yes, if useful for the implementation of the activities and the achievement of the project objectives. Costs for soil sampling and analysis are eligible as long as they are useful for achieving the project’s objectives and outputs.

These costs may be included in the budget lines below, depending on the service provider:

  • if the activities are carried out by an external body, these costs must be entered in line C Other goods, works and services – Sub-category: Other
  • if the activities are carried out internally by the main applicant or co-applicants laboratories/services, these costs must be entered in line D Internally invoiced goods and services

Are soil physical analyses eligible as costs?

Yes, you can include them in direct costs – C.3 Other goods, works, and services. Or in D.2 Internally invoiced goods and services, if soil analyses are carried out in-house in your laboratories.

Does the main applicant need to have expertise within the area of Soil Science or what type of expertise is needed in order to fulfil the requirements?

The HuMUS evaluation committee will evaluate the proposals and not the expertise of the applicants. ​​​​No special expertise is required. Both experts and non-experts on soil science or participatory methods can apply. The expertise of the main applicant and co-applicants is not part of the criteria that will be used to evaluate the proposals. More details are in sections 4, 5, and 17.3 of the call text.

Can I submit multiple proposals?

No.

This answer is valid at the institutional level, or more than one proposal is admitted by the same public entity, e.g., different Departments of the same entity?

Your entity can only submit one proposal unless another Department interested in applying has a different VAT number and/or ID code.

An entity may present only one proposal as the main applicant, but more than one proposal as a co-applicant.

Can associated partners be included in the proposal? 

Associated partners may be included in the proposal as co-applicants, or if they do not wish to be part of the co-applicants, you may clearly specify the involvement of associated partners within your project proposal.

Can the lump sum applied for include/cover overall costs (indirect costs)?

Indirect costs (25%) must be calculated and indicated in Annex B. Using the Excel file “Annex B” available on our website, they will be calculated automatically. 

The municipality where we want to implement our pilot will be involved as an external actor, not as a co-applicant. Can we upload a signed Letter of Support to the application as evidence of the Municipality’s support?

The main applicant of the proposal must have the following legal status: a public entity or entity governed by public law.

We invite you to be sure that your organisation has the main requirement to participate in the call. If you do not have these types of juridical status, your organisation can participate as co-applicants.

Co-applicants can complete the fields available to them within the online platform and co-design the project proposal together with the main applicant. Co-applicants may receive a part of the budget (to be indicated in Annex B) in agreement with the main applicant and any other co-applicants.

Therefore, the Municipality you mentioned can choose between three possibilities:

  1. participate as the main applicant
  2. participate as co-applicant (provided that another public entity or public law entity participates as the main applicant)
  3. participate through a letter of support (provided that another public entity or public law entity participates as the main applicant)

Can either a university or a municipality submit the proposal as the main applicant?

Yes, only one of the two entities may submit the proposal as the main applicant, the other may be a co-applicant. Please note that the main applicant must fulfill this requirement: have the legal status of a public entity or entity governed by public law.

If your university is public, it can participate as the main applicant, in that case, the Municipality can be a co-applicant. Whereas if the Municipality participates as main applicant, your University may be part of the co-applicants of the proposal.

Who will sign the following documents from the applicant’s side: the declaration of honour (Annex F), the signed data protection statement (Annex E), and the copy of the applicant’s statutes and/or articles of association (in the original language) accompanied by a short summary in English? Should we attach as many statutes and Annexes B-E-F as there are co-applicants?

ANCI Toscana will sign the contract and will transfer the entire requested budget exclusively to the main applicant. ​​​​​​​The main applicant can transfer part of the call funds to the co-applicants, indicating the breakdown of amounts within Annex B.

  • Annex B: Detailed Breakdown of planned costs
    • Only the main applicant (single or leader of a joint application) is requested to upload the Detailed Costs Breakdown including the costs of all the co-applicants.
  • Annex E: Signed Privacy Statement
    • Single applicants are requested to upload the Signed Privacy Statement signed by the legal representative. The main applicant of a joint proposal is requested to also upload the Signed Privacy Statements of each co-applicant.
  • Annex F: Declaration of Honour
    • Single applicants are requested to upload the Declaration of Honour signed by the legal representative. The main applicant of a joint proposal is requested to also upload the Declarations of Honour of each co-applicant.
  • A copy of the applicant’s statute and/or law of establishment (in the original language), accompanied by a short summary in English.
    • Only the main applicant (single or leader of a joint application) is requested to include here the mentioned documentation.

Can we apply with a budget higher than €30,000? The difference between the funding and the rest of the budget would be assumed by us with internal resources. In that case, do we have to indicate in the proposal which part of the budget would be covered by the Call Funding and which part by our own resources or is that not necessary?

Yes, you can specify the amount covered by your institution within the ANCI Toscana grants platform, more info is in Annex A – 5.4 Financial Sustainability and SWOT – Financial Requirements.

Is there a subcontracting maximum percentage? 

No, applicants will be able to allocate funds as they wish to ensure the achievement of project objectives and outputs.

What kind of information is required under “Team member data and experience in participatory methods and tools”?

In the section “Team member data and experience in participatory methods and tools” you can introduce a short description of each stakeholder participating in the proposal, so of the main applicant and co-applicants.

Are intergovernmental organisations or International European research organisations eligible?

As a general rule, all legal entities may participate in open calls for third parties and be a recipient of FSTP, provided that the FSTP scheme, and in particular the persons or categories of persons that may receive financial support, comply with the conditions and specific rules enacted in the particular Work Programme, in the call for proposals, and that it is not aimed at circumventing Horizon Europe funding rules.

The call conditions of HuMUS project under the Work Programme 2021-2022 (and more specifically HORIZON-MISS-2021-SOIL-02-06: Engage with and activate municipalities and regions to protect and restore soil health (CSA)) does not state any specific call conditions regarding the participation of International Organizations. Hence, the general eligibility conditions part of the General Annex B of the WP apply:

“International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’ actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions”.

The same principles will apply to FSTP recipients. It is first key to identity if the entity concerned, qualifies as International European research organisation or “simple” International organisation:

International European research organisations are defined as international organisations, the majority of whose members are EU Member States or associated countries, and whose principal objective is to promote scientific and technological cooperation in Europe.

Under the Funding and Tenders Portal glossary, an “international organization” is defined as an intergovernmental organisation with legal personality under international public law, or any specialised agency set up by such an international organisation. Examples of international organisations are UN organisations and their specialised agencies (e.g. WHO, UNHCR, UNEP, UNESCO, etc.). Moreover, under Article 156(2) and (3) of the EU Financial Regulation, an organization may be assimilated to an international organization if it meets specific conditions (e.g. the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies).

In case a) an International European research organisation is automatically eligible to receive funding from Horizon Europe. 

In case b), an International organization can in principle participate under HE grants only as an associated partner, without receiving EU funding.

However, an international organization may exceptionally receive funding only if (see Programme HE Guide, section 8):

It is identified in the relevant Horizon Europe work programme as being eligible for funding or the Granting Authority considers that their participation is deemed essential for implementing the action, for example in view of their:

  • outstanding competence/expertise
  • access to particular research infrastructures
  • access to particular geographical environments
  • access to particular data.

Therefore, if the entity is an international organisation, it could be nonetheless recipient of FSTP if its participation is considered by the beneficiaries responsible for the call essential for implementing the action, and could be justified (for instance due to outstanding expertise, access to unique know-how, access to research infrastructure, access to particular geographical environments, possibility to involve key partners in emerging markets, access to data, etc.).

According to the definition under point a) and b) you should indicate whether your entity falls within one or another case and provide documents or specific information/evidence to justify your application.

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