The EUSBSR Seed Money facility was launched by Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein (IB.SH) in spring 2013. Its purpose is to fund the preparation of international project applications which contribute to one of the priority areas or horizontal actions of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Since then, 69 projects were granted seed money. What is the status today?
Ilze Ciganska: This year, we see the first promising results of seed money. Some 50 seed money projects are finalised. We see that almost all seed money projects are resulting in one major application to a funding programme. Some seed money partnerships develop even several applications.
To which Programmes do the seed money partnerships submit their project applications?
Many partnerships favour Interreg Baltic Sea Region. More than 40 concept notes in the Programme’s first call came from seed money partnerships. Five partnerships targeted Life+, another ten targeted Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, DG Mare or Interreg South Baltic. Several applications were submitted to Interreg Central Baltic, and at least three of them passed the first application step.
Did any seed money projects not result in applications?
Ilze Ciganska: We know that one seed money project decided not to submit an application as there seemed to be no need among the project’s target group. Instead of a project application, this partnership established a new stakeholder cluster in its field. So seed money actually gave the partnership the chance to verify if their project idea makes sense. It is much more efficient to take a step back at this early point in project development rather than putting a lot of effort into developing a proposal that no one needs.
How did you make sure that seed money projects actually link to the EUSBSR Strategy?
Ilze Ciganska: On the one hand, we as the secretariat cooperated closely with the EUSBSR Priority Area Coordinators and Horizontal Action Leaders. They received all seed money applications and selected those that actually address a major challenge identified in the EUSBSR Action Plan. On the other hand, we encourage seed money project partners to build up a close cooperation with their responsible coordinators. By now many coordinators invite seed money project partners to their steering group meetings.
So, what is the future of EUSBSR seed money?
Ilze Ciganska: 17 seed money projects are still running. And another call for applications is coming up - again funded from the European Commission’s technical assistance budget for the EUSBSR. Once the seed money projects are over, we will assess in how far the tool has been successful and what needs to be adapted. From 2017 on, Interreg Baltic Sea Region will provide seed money for EUSBSR projects.