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The term “Calls for Proposals” refers to the mechanism whereby a selection process is launched to choose candidates on a competitive basis.

In practice, non-state actors are invited (or 'called' upon), at regular intervals, to submit project proposals. Calls for proposals are publicly announced (e.g. in the major newspapers of ACP countries). Information is provided on the type of projects that will be considered for funding and on specific conditions to be met in each Call for Proposals. Only part of the proposed projects will pass the selection test.

Calls for proposals are the primary means through which Grants are awarded by the EC.

Search tool for Call for Proposals

Restricted and open

There are two types of procedures for calls for proposals, restricted and open.

  • The restricted procedure splits the evaluation process into two phases, the first phase requiring the submission of only a Concept note. Applicants whose concept notes are shortlisted are then invited to submit a Full application in the second phase.
  • The open procedure requires the submission of a concept note and full application form at the outset of the application process. The choice of procedure will depend on the technical nature of the field, the budget available or the expected number of proposals.

One can also distinguish between global calls launched by headquarters and local calls launched by EU Delegations.

Grants may be awarded without a call for proposals only for the purposes of humanitarian aid and in other exceptional and duly substantiated cases of urgency; where the grant is awarded to a body with a de jure or de facto monopoly; for actions with specific characteristics that require a particular type of body on account of its technical competence; in the case of grants of low amount; etc.

Concept note and full applications

In the realm of the EU external cooperation, in a restricted call for proposals, the Guidelines for Applicants invite applicants to first submit a concept note only. The number of concept notes that can be preselected depends on the sum of the grant amounts requested by the highest ranking proposals, which cannot be foreseen in advance. (Guidelines stipulate: "the list of concept notes will be reduced in accordance with the ranking to those whose sum of requested contributions amounts to at least twice the available budget for the call".)

The shortlisted applicants are then invited in writing to submit a full application form. The minimum period between the date of notification of applicants whose concept notes were successful and the deadline to submit the full application form is 45 days.

Practical Guide

  • Practical guide to contract procedures for EU external actions (updated version after Lisbon Treaty).

Ongoing, forescast and statistics