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Policy for amendments NGI Zero/NGI Assure

Version 1.0

2022/02

This document outlines the policy for stichting NLnet with regards to project amendments for projects involving an external review committee. NLnet employs professional evaluators, and ultimately bears the responsibility for the technical appraisal of the projects it supports and compliance with any formal requirements tied to specific funds– including any subsequent changes made during the practical execution of projects in its portfolio. However, since we are dealing with research and development, additional tasks and requirements may come up during execution of the project, given progressive insight or altered circumstances. The goal of this policy is to keep the amount of overhead involved with practical adjustments in a transparent way, while keeping the necessary checks and balances in place.

The external reviews serve to prevent conflict of interest situations, to validate the overall technical premises of the projects and to ensure cost-effectiveness and frugality. The review committee is meant as a high level additional safety guard, not as a alternative management layer or vetting process to approve of minor updates or modifications of the original plan due to changed circumstances, progressive insight or new opportunities.

There are two types of projects relevant to the external review commitee:

  • First time projects are granted up to 50k EUR
  • Subsequent follow-up proposals are only submitted and granted after the completion of a first time project and can potentially be larger in size – but obviously cannot exceed the pre-established maximum per entity (this is different within different programmes). If a grantee is to be awarded a follow-up grant, the outcomes of the previous phase(s) are taken into account during the evaluation.

    Such follow-up proposals can be submitted by any active project within a certain fund, even when a fund is winding up and there are no open calls active – but of course whether additional grant money can be made available depends on the availability of budget and the technical evaluation of the proposed work.

An external review board MUST review and approve of:

  • all initial grant proposals for first time projects
  • follow up proposals, taking into account the results achieved by the team in the previous stage
  • major adjustments, e.g. those above the thresholds set in this policy

An external review board DOES NOT have to review:

  • changes in the composition of the project team
  • adjustments of a project plan without budget changes
  • additional tasks within the same scope and using equivalent rates, as long as the total grant amount for a first time project stays below 60 kEUR
  • extension of follow-up proposals with the same scope and using the same rates which bring it up to no further than 40% of the amount previously reviewed and approved by the external review committee

Amendments are confirmed in writing to applicants, and signed off and archived by NLnet alongside the original memorandum of understanding.