News archive - Can institutions from not associated Western Balkan countries co-ordinate FP7 projects?

A Frequently Asked Question - A Still Confusing Answer

At the Information Office, we have received a number of questions from our readers concerning the possibility of organisations from the Western Balkan countries acting as coordinators of FP7 projects.
We forwarded this request to 'Europe Direct' via a Maibox Form ( and received the following answer (Reference Number: 3559434), which we publish here as it seems to be a question of general interest:

Dear Ms. Dall,
Neither the FP6 Rules for participation nor the FP6 model contract requires that the coordinator has to be EU-based entity. Therefore, as a general rule, there is no distinction that entities established in the MS are by definition "eligible" to be project's coordinators and entities established in other countries may do it only in certain circumstances. However taking into account nature and peculiarity of the tasks which the coordinator is responsible for, the Commission has to approve the choice of participant in this respect (i.e. the partner chosen by the consortium to act as a coordinator has to be accepted by the Commission). In the light of the above, despite there is no clear previsions restricting possibilities of entities established in the third countries as a coordinators, we cannot provide you with uniform answer to your question. The issue raised in your question, is discussed during contract’s negotiation phase and decision is taken on a case-by-case basis, taking into account e.g. financial viability check results, contractor's capacity to coordinate the project and also other aspects.
This approach is to be continued in FP7.
Best regards,

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After discussion with several experts, we see the answer as follows:
a. Theoretically partners from ICPCs (for the definition see /news/1035.html) are eligible to coordinate in all project types in the 'Cooperation' and 'Capacities' programmes.
b. BUT it is questionable if a proposal, for example, for a large Network of Excellence coordinated by a third country institution will be positively evaluated (because of evaluation criteria such as relevance to structuring the European Research Area, managerial competences etc.)
c. On the other hand, for 'Specific International Cooperation Activities' (SICAs) the participation of ICPCs is a prerequisite and of high importance, so in that case the chances of being competitive are higher.
d. The minimum requirements for participation have always to be respected. So for example, if the minimum requirement (laid down in the 'Rules for Participation') is that 'at least three legal entities must participate, each of which must be established in a Member State or Associated Country, and two of which may not be established in the same Member State or Associated Country', the ICPC partner can only be a 'fourth' institution. It can nevertheless be (theoretically, see point a.) the coordinator. For the indirect actions for specific cooperation activities dedicated to international cooperation partner countries (SICAs) different minimum conditions are specified (at least four entities, at least two established in Member State/ Associated Country, at least two from ICPCs - see details in Rules for Participation). The participating partners in a project proposal 'shall appoint one of their number to act as coordinator'.
So in fact any legal entity participating in a project, regardless of its place of establishment, may coordinate the project. Its success or not always remains a question for the evaluators!

Entry created by Elke Dall on March 5, 2007
Modified on March 6, 2007