Managing the effects of the coronavirus: Q&A

Keeping projects informed and up to date

The coronavirus is affecting all of us at the moment and this has led to numerous cancellations of events and meetings all over Europe and globally.

This, in turn, has led to a number of questions from North Sea Region projects asking for clarification about how to proceed in specific cases. As many of the same questions are being asked, we will use this page to publish these questions and our responses. 

This page will also be used by the secretariat if further information or updates about the coronavirus are published, which impact upon North Sea Region Programme projects.

How to submit a question?

Q&A's from projects about the situation will be posted in the field below. If you have a questions that is not answered here please send an e-mail with your question to info@northsearegion.eu or contact your desk advisor at the secretariat. We will do our utmost to respond to your questions as quickly as we can.  

Questions and answers about the effects of the coronavirus for projects

Question 1
Where can I find general information about the cancellation of events and meetings?
A1: You can read more about this here.

Question 2
If our project needs to shift activities that we would have been undertaken in person (such as meetings, conferences, and other events) to an online/virtual platform, can we shift budget from travel and accommodation to, for example, to external expertise and services in order to pay for an online service, hire an external expert to run such an event, etc.? Should we also change the description of the activities?

A2: Yes, it is fine to make these shifts to your budget, keeping in mind that the total project budget must remain the same. Please summarise and explain in the reason for change field (in the minor change request) which budget shifts you are making and to which activities they correspond, as well as why you are doing this (because of delays, cancellations, travel restrictions, etc. due to coronavirus). If you are only changing a final conference from 'live' to 'online', for example, you do not necessarily have to change the activity description in the change request. However, in the report covering that activity, please explain such a change in the work package section of the report. If you are in doubt about what to include in the change request, please consult your project advisor.

Question 3
Has the AS designation procedure changed as a result of the situation?

A3: Yes, the sending via postal mail part has been adjusted. Please see the revised steps below:

  • The AS and the person appointing the AS print out their own versions of the AS designation document.
  • Both sign their own versions.
  • Both scan their version.  It is also fine to take a picture of the documents if no scanner is available.
  • The two versions are merged in one file.
  • The file is uploaded by the AS in the OMS.
  • The AS e-mails their desk officer and Anja Dalgaard to inform them that they have uploaded the documents and that they are waiting to receive the PIN via message in the OMS.
  • Once it is possible, the partner should send the two documents to the secretariat in original format in one envelope via postal mail.
  • Your desk officer will be responsible for keeping track of the process and registering your documents when they finally arrive via postal mail.

Question 4
My project is nearing completion and running out of time to complete its activities. Is there any additional support for this?

A4: You can read more about this here.

Question 5
What scope is there for extending the project lifetime? Due to the rules on social-distancing, there are project activities that have had to be halted. Due to the seasonal nature of our work in our project, these cannot be restarted until next year, which originally was the final full year of project delivery. Is it possible to extend the project into 2022, beyond the original final closure date of February 2022?

A5: If your project is not nearing the end of the project lifetime and has not already received an extension you may qualify for a six-month technical extension. You will need to provide a reason and justification for why your activities cannot be carried out as planned, mentioning, of course, the coronavirus crisis in the 'reason for change' text field of change request. Please contact your project advisor about how to go about this in order to ensure efficient assessment of your request.

Question 6
One of our project partners has told us that they cannot report expenditure for travel and accommodation during this reporting round because their receipts are in the office, which they cannot access at this time. Can they report these expenses in the next round?

A6: If any receipts, invoices, timesheets, or other paper copies of paperwork needed to submit your report are inaccessible due to the coronavirus crisis, you may wait to report on the respective budget lines. If this means you cannot submit a report at all during this round, please submit a 'zero claim' with this report. In either case (partial claim or zero claim), please explain in the text box below the expenditure table ('Explanation for no reported expenditure') that this is due to the crisis.

Question 7
We can see that several of our project activities will be affected by coronavirus. Some activities are currently delayed or completely stopped, especially with regard to the pilots. It is difficult to say at this stage to what extent we will be affected. May we monitor the situation for the next couple of weeks and months and adapt accordingly? In some cases we might be able to continue as planned, in other cases we might need more time or even budget.

A7: It is a good idea to monitor the situation carefully, especially since the situation caused by the coronavirus crisis is changing constantly. Please keep in close contact with your project advisor about the situation and provide updates along the way. If a project lifetime extension is necessary and agreed on by the partners, it will be granted as long as you can provide sound reasoning and justification for it. While we cannot grant projects additional funds at this time, we are striving to be as supportive and flexible as we can. You could apply, for example, to shift budget between beneficiaries in order to continue with or finish certain activities. The bottom line? Please keep your project advisor in the loop about the difficulties you are facing with regard to coronavirus crisis. 

Question 8
Are additional funds available to projects that need to stretch their activities over a longer time period due to the coronavirus crisis?

A8: At the moment there is no additional funding available. However, there are other options for dealing with delayed or cancelled project activities. Please see above, and stay in contact with your project advisor about any adjustments you would like to make to your project's implementation.