FAQs on Calls

These FAQs provide guidance for applicants to EDCTP2 Calls for Proposals. More guidelines can be found on the web page Guidance for applicants.

The FAQs (currently, version 8c – June 2018) may be updated in response to questions from applicants.


Q: What type of studies are within the scope of EDCTP funding?
A: EDCTP supports all phases of clinical trials, as well as product-focused implementation research, with a focus on phase II and III clinical trials, for new or improved medical intervention against poverty-related infectious diseases, including advanced testing and field validation of new diagnostic tools.

Q: Which poverty-related infectious diseases are within the scope of EDCTP funding?
A: The EDCTP programme considers as poverty-related infectious diseases: HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected infectious diseases; diarrhoeal diseases; lower respiratory tract infections, as well as emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases of particular relevance for Africa, such as Ebola virus disease or yellow fever.

Q. Which are the included neglected infectious diseases?
The EDCTP programme considers as neglected infectious diseases:
Buruli ulcer, cysticercosis/taeniasis, chikungunya, dengue, dracunculiasis, echinococcosis, foodborne trematodiases, leprosy (Hansen disease), human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniases, lymphatic filariasis, mycetoma, onchocerciasis, rabies, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, trachoma, and yaws. 

Q: What type of grants (distinct Horizon 2020 ‘actions’) does EDCTP award?
A: EDCTP awards three kinds of grants: Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs); Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs); and Training and Mobility Actions (TMAs).
See below for more details.

Q: What are RIAs meant for?
A: RIAs are ‘actions’ primarily meant for clinical research activities and clinical trials in partnership with sub-Saharan Africa aiming to increase the number of new or improved medical interventions for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other poverty-related infectious diseases, including neglected infectious diseases, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Actions may normally include one or more clinical trials (phase I to IV) conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular phase II and/or III trials. Actions involving the conduct of phase II and III trials of drugs and vaccines shall normally include a regulatory strategy.
  • Whilst the main activity comprises clinical trial(s), the action may involve additional relevant research studies such as nested sub-studies or epidemiological studies.
  • These actions may also involve supporting activities fostering networking (within Africa and within Europe, as well as between Africa and Europe) or capacity development of researchers, institutions and sites in sub-Saharan Africa to conduct clinical trials and related research, including observational studies.

Q: What are CSAs meant for?
A: CSA ‘actions’ do not support large-scale clinical research. CSA’s primarily consist of:
i) activities to develop, strengthen and extend clinical research capacities in sub-Saharan Africa;
ii) activities to promote networking and collaboration both between European and African researchers and among African researchers, clinical research institutions and sites; and
iii) activities to foster coordination and cooperation between public and private funders.

  • Actions may involve activities of standardisation, dissemination, awareness-raising and communication, the conduct of preparatory and accompanying studies, networking, coordination or support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies.
  • Actions may also include complementary activities of strategic planning, networking and coordination between regional and national programmes.
  • Actions may also involve targeted measures to maximise the public health impact of research results stemming from EDCTP-funded activities in sub-Saharan Africa by promoting their translation and supporting their uptake in policy-making, health systems and clinical practice at local, national and/or international level.
  • In particular, CSAs will support sub-Saharan African countries in developing a robust ethical and regulatory framework for conducting clinical trials, targeting both national ethics committees (NECs) and national regulatory authorities (NRAs).
  • Furthermore, CSAs will support regional clinical research networks in sub-Saharan Africa (“EDCTP Regional Networks”) in order to build and strengthen regional, national, institutional and individual capacities to conduct clinical trials according to ICH-GCP standards.

Q: What are TMAs meant for?
A: TMAs are ‘actions’ primarily to foster the career development of individual junior and senior fellows from sub-Saharan Africa, through the support of training and mentorship of researchers and the promotion of mobility of individual researchers and research staff.


Q: Can I contact EDCTP to ensure that I understand the requirements of the Call for Proposals?
A: For specific questions related to a Call for Proposals, the contact details of a dedicated EDCTP representative for each call are listed in the call text. Please check the FAQs before emailing your question. EDCTP staff members cannot comment or offer an opinion on the specific content of your draft proposal.

Q: What are National Contact Points and can they provide guidance on applying to EDCTP?
In addition to the guidance on the EDCTP website and the Horizon 2020 participant portal, there is a network of National Contact Points (NCPs) established to provide guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020. There are National Contact Points in EU countries and in many non-EU countries. You can find more information about the NCPs and search for NCPs in your country by checking the Horizon 2020 website: National Contact Points. 

Q: What disease areas are within the scope of the Calls for Proposals?
A: The list of diseases within the EDCTP scope can be found in these FAQs. For individual calls, there may be specific exclusions or focus on particular diseases. Please check the call text carefully before applying.

Q: How can I be sure that my proposal is within the scope of the Call for Proposals?
A: Every effort has been made to ensure that the scope is described clearly in the corresponding section of each Call for Proposals. EDCTP staff members cannot give an opinion on the specific content of your draft proposal and its eligibility or not.

Q: When are the deadlines for Calls for Proposals this year?
A: Please refer to the ‘Our Calls/Calls‘ page of the EDCTP website for the information on specific deadlines.

Q: How will the end of the EDCTP2 programme affect the duration of projects?
Our objective is to end the EDCTP2 programme activities on or before 31 December 2024. We advise applicants to take this into consideration when planning their projects. We recognise that for applicants in 2019 calls who will sign grant contracts in 2020, projects of 60 months duration would end in 2025. We think that we can deal with these projects as exceptions and we are currently in discussion about mechanisms to deal with this issue. However, applicants must have contingency plans in place. For example, applicants with proposals including co-funding should structure their projects so that EDCTP funding is spent first, with co-funding used for the latter years of the project.

Q: Where can I find information on word and page limits; budget; consortium composition; and project duration?
A: Please refer to the corresponding sections in the call text for information on budget and project duration. Detailed eligibility requirements for consortium composition are outlined in the “eligibility” section of the call text. Information on the word and page limits for each section of the application can be found within the online application form help texts in EDCTPgrants, or in the proposal templates on the EDCTP website.

Q: Some of our organisational or personal details are incorrect in EDCTPgrants. How to correct?
A: This can be updated by logging into your EDCTPgrants portal account. Please ensure that you have not created multiple accounts/profiles on EDCTPgrants as this may result in errors. You may request that multiple profiles be merged by contacting EDCTPgrants@edctp.org.

Q: Where can I upload letters of support for my application?
A: Please only upload documentation explicitly requested in the online application, and which is in keeping with word limitations (where specified). Support letters are not normally required for calls. Do not upload supplementary information that is not requested in the online application. This information may be excluded from the evaluation.

Q: Can I fill in the proposal template and submit by email in lieu of submitting a proposal via EDCTPgrants?
A: No. Only proposals submitted in EDCTPgrants by the published deadline are accepted. The template proposal is made available for information only and to assist the applicants in preparing the proposal. All proposals must be submitted through the online grant application system EDCTPgrants.

Q: How can I get help when I have questions about the online application submission?
A: For all questions and issues related to the EDCTPgrants system and the online application submission it is possible to contact EDCTP at EDCTPgrants@edctp.org. You can also contact the EDCTP Project Officer responsible for the call. Before you do so, please read all the call-related documentation in case your question is answered in the guidance notes. Please note that it may not be possible to address your question just prior to the deadline.

Q: Something went wrong during submission to EDCTPgrants and now the call deadline has passed. Can I request assistance?
A: If you think that the submission of your proposal was not entirely successful due to a technical error within EDCTPgrants, the Coordinator may lodge a complaint through EDCTPgrants (see Section 10 EDCTP2 Grants Manual). In order that a complaint would be upheld, the IT audit trail (application log files and access log files of EDCTPgrants) must show that there was indeed a technical problem within EDCTPgrants that prevented submission of the proposal. It is important that applicants allow sufficient time for proposal preparation and submission to avoid last-minute difficulties before the deadline.

Q: I forgot to add some information to my application. Can I ask EDCTP to add it to my application after the deadline?
A: No changes can be made to an application after the call deadline.

Q: Can I submit more than one application (with the same applicants/co-applicants) to the same Call for Proposals?
A: There is no rule to prevent a group of applicants submitting multiple proposals; however, please bear in mind that each proposal must be a stand-alone proposal (inter-dependent projects cannot be divided into separate proposals). If the proposals look very similar, for example, it is the same project but divided into country-specific proposals, then you may be asked to withdraw one or more proposals. Please consider submitting your best, single application as this is likely to offer the greatest chance of success rather than submitting multiple proposals to the same call. The external experts will evaluate all proposals and may recommend the withdrawal or merging of similar proposals. Applicants must declare in their application if they have submitted a similar or related proposal to EDCTP or to another funder.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of proposals that a legal entity or individual can be listed on?
A: No, there is no limit to how many proposals can be submitted however EDCTP expects individuals to commit sufficient time to the proposed research. This will be assessed under Quality and Efficiency of the Implementation.

Q: How do I prepare a stage 2 proposal?
A: Applicants who have been successful at the first stage will be sent instructions on how to complete the second stage proposal through the online system EDCTPgrants. The general proposal template is available on the EDCTP website for information.

Q: If I am successful at stage 1, can I make changes to my proposal before submitting the full version to stage 2?
A: Second stage proposals should not differ significantly from first stage proposals. To uphold the principle of equal treatment, proposals at the second stage of evaluation may be excluded if they deviate substantially from the corresponding first stage proposal. Furthermore, second stage applicants will be asked to declare that their proposal is consistent with their first stage submission.

Rules for participation and funding

Q: What are the minimum eligibility requirements for participation in an EDCTP2 action
A: This depends on the type of funding:

  • Calls for Proposals based on a Research and Innovation Action (RIA) require the consortium to comprise at least three different legal entities. Two of the legal entities shall be established in two different European Participating States (see EDCTP website) and at least one of the legal entities must be established in a sub-Saharan African country. All three legal entities shall be independent of each other.
  • For Calls for Proposals based on a Coordination & Support Action (CSA) or a Training & Mobility Action (TMA), the requirement is at least one legal entity established in a European Participating State or a sub-Saharan African country, unless otherwise specified in the call text.

Q: Which countries in Europe are EDCTP Participating States?
A: The following European countries are EDCTP Participating States: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom (UK).

Q: How does Brexit affect UK applicants to Horizon 2020 and EDCTP?
A: The Withdrawal Agreement as agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom
 entered into force on 1 February 2020. In overall terms, on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK-based legal entities will continue to be fully eligible to participate and receive funding in the current 2014-2020 EU programmes, including Horizon 2020 and EDCTP, as if the UK were a European member state until the closure of these programmes unless security considerations apply. This means that UK beneficiaries can continue – without interruption – to receive grants awarded under the current and previous EDCTP work plans until their end dates, even if these are after 2020.

Q: Which sub-Saharan African countries are eligible to receive EDCTP funding?**
A: The following countries are eligible: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Democratic People’s Republic), Congo (Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Q: Can Swiss legal entities (public or private) participate in EDCTP-funded projects and receive funding?
A: As from 1 January 2017 Switzerland is associated to the entire Horizon 2020 programme. This means that for all EDCTP projects for which the grant agreement is signed as from 1 January 2017 the Swiss participants are automatically eligible for funding. The status of Swiss legal entities in all ongoing EDCTP projects for which the grant agreements have already been signed before 1 January 2017 remains unchanged.
The status of Switzerland as an Associated Country means that Swiss entities are eligible for participation and funding in EDCTP2. Please note that Switzerland (and other Associated Countries) do not count towards the eligibility criteria of EDCTP calls which require a minimum of two European Participating States.

Q: Can participants that are located in the European Union or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020, but not in an EDCTP Participating State (for example, Belgium) receive EDCTP funds? How do these legal entities contribute to the eligibility requirement?
A: For a complete listing of the EDCTP European Participating States, please refer to the EDCTP website. Legal entities that are located within the European Union or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020, but are not in an EDCTP European Participating State, can receive EDCTP funds, but these legal entities do not contribute to the EDCTP eligibility requirement for two European Participating States in case of RIA-based calls. Two independent legal entities located in two European EDCTP Participating States are required for eligibility for the RIAs.

Q: Can legal entities established outside a sub-Saharan African country, a European Union Member State or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 participate in EDCTP projects and receive funding?
A: Researchers from anywhere in the world can participate in EDCTP proposals, working with European and sub-Saharan African partners to jointly develop knowledge, research data, and leading scientific teams and networks. However, participants from outside sub-Saharan Africa, the European Union or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 are not automatically eligible for funding and should fund their own participation in the project. This funding can be from any source. Potential participants from these countries are therefore encouraged to contact research and innovation funding organisations in their own country to seek support for their participation in EDCTP Calls for Proposals.

Q: Can legal entities established outside a sub-Saharan African country, a European Union Member State or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 coordinate an EDCTP-funded project?
A: Yes, in principle, such legal entities can be the coordinator. However, given that such legal entities do not normally receive EDCTP funding, it may be impractical for them to bear the costs of coordinating the project. Legal entities established outside a sub-Saharan African country, a European Union Member State or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 can more easily be involved as a participant, rather than as the coordinator.

Q: Can an EDCTP-funded consortium subcontract and, in such a way, fund legal entities established outside a sub-Saharan African country, a European Union Member State or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020?
A: Yes, a project can, in principle, sub-contract legal entities established outside a sub-Saharan African country, a European Union Member State or one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020 to carry out a specific task or service defined in the proposal. Subcontracting of tasks is allowed if it is necessary for the project, justified and described in the proposal, quantified in the budget and represents the best value for money. Subcontracting may only cover part of the project activities; it is not possible to subcontract the essential tasks of the project.

Q: Can international organisations, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO), participate in EDCTP-funded projects and receive funding?
A: International organisations, including WHO, can participate in all consortia that apply for funding through Calls for Proposals launched by EDCTP. However, international organisations are not normally eligible for EDCTP funding, unless this is identified in advance in the EDCTP work plans and specified in the Call for Proposals, and/or where their input is deemed essential to the implementation of the project.

Q: Can a private company, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), participate in EDCTP-funded projects and receive funding?
A: Yes, any private company can be a participant in an application for EDCTP funding through a Call for Proposals. It is eligible for funding provided that it is a legal entity established in either a sub-Saharan African country, a European Union Member State or in one of the Countries Associated to Horizon 2020. Companies based elsewhere can also participate but would not be eligible to receive funds.

Q: Are US legal entities eligible to receive funding from EDCTP on the basis of the bilateral agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?
A: Although EDCTP is co-funded under the Horizon 2020 framework, EDCTP operates as an independent legal entity and is therefore not part of the bilateral agreement between NIH and EC. This means that US legal entities can participate in all EDCTP-funded projects, but they are not eligible to receive funding from EDCTP.

Q: My organisation does not have a PIC number. Can I still submit an application?
A: Yes, Organisations without a validated Participant Identification Code (PIC) for Horizon 2020 can submit applications and receive funding. During the grant preparation stage, organisations without a PIC will be required to provide EDCTP with official documents to verify their legal and financial status.


Q: Do I have to secure cofunding from other sources in order to be eligible for EDCTP-funding? 
A: Applicants are not required to secure cofunding unless this is specified in the Call text.

Q: Can proposed cofunding come from non-EU sources, either public or private?
A: Yes, cofunding can be provided by either public or private legal entities from across the world.

Q: Can manufacturing costs of a product be accounted for in the budget?
A: Subject to accounting conditions of recognising expenditures, the cost associated with manufacturing a product that is necessary for a clinical trial can be accounted for in the budget plan, but the process of manufacturing and scaling up of the product should be clearly laid out in the project work plan.

Q: My institution’s overhead is 7%, but the system automatically adds 25% overheads. Can I change the overheads?
A: The overhead of 25% is a fixed indirect cost that is applied to the eligible costs of the grant. The European Commission sets the overhead percentage and it is not varied per institution regardless of whether the institution has a different overhead charging system. It is therefore not possible to vary the 25% overheads. Please ensure that once overheads are calculated that the budget request for your application does not exceed the maximum grant request and that annual limits on the budget, where applicable, are also respected. Please refer to the Call text for the funding maximum per grant.


Q: How are proposals evaluated?
A: EDCTP relies on independent experts to evaluate proposals. Experts are external to EDCTP and, in performing their evaluation(s), are working in a personal capacity rather than as a representative of any organisation or scientific community. Experts are selected from the EDCTP database of experts, which comprises experts from across the globe. Full details of the evaluation procedure are described in the Calls for Proposals in the ‘’Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds’’ section and in the EDCTP2 grants manual. Individuals can apply to be expert reviewers via the EDCTP website. A list of experts used in the evaluation is published annually.

Q: How can I be sure that my understanding of the expected impact and other specific terms used in the Call text is the same as that of the expert reviewers?
A: Unless an explicit definition of a term is given in the Call text, you may assume that the expert reviewers’ understanding of the meaning of terms is in keeping with the general consensus of experts working in that domain at the time. Likewise, experts will evaluate proposals on the basis of the expected impact statements (amongst other criteria). Applicants are therefore advised to read the ‘expected impact’ statements closely in order to determine whether or not their interpretation of the term ‘expected impact’ is more or less likely to convince reviewers that the expected impact will be achieved.

Q: Is it of added value at the evaluation stage if the coordinator of the project is a sub-Saharan African legal entity?
A: Only the evaluation criteria outlined in the Calls for Proposals will be used to evaluate proposals. Applicants should ensure, therefore, that the coordinator (legal entity) has the necessary operational capacity to assume the role of coordinator.

Q: Is it of added value at the evaluation stage if the consortium includes a large number of partners? 
A: The consortium should be organised in such a way that it can achieve the objectives of the proposal optimally and efficiently. It is not an advantage in itself to have a large consortium unless it is required to achieve the objectives of the project. All participants (legal entities) included in the proposal should have an essential role in the project. You should only include those participants whose organisations (legal entities) have confirmed their participation in the project and their commitment to sign the ‘accession forms’ to the grant agreement making them jointly and severally liable for the technical implementation of the action (see Article 41.1 of the general EDCTP2 multi-beneficiary grant agreement). The composition of the consortium cannot normally be changed during the grant preparation phase, and therefore participants must be committed from the point of submission of the proposal. Please include only one individual per organisation in the proposal. Other individuals may be mentioned in the proposal.

Q: As EDCTP2 is running under the Horizon 2020 framework, does EDCTP encourage consortia to include SMEs and will the involvement of an SME be advantageous to an application?
A: SMEs are certainly welcome to be involved, but SMEs will not have a particular advantage over another type of organisation. The proposal will be evaluated according to the published criteria.

Q: Would my application be ranked higher if co-funding is secured?
A: Applicants are not required to provide co-funding for their proposals unless this is indicated in the Call for Proposals. Proposals are evaluated according to the published evaluation criteria. In specific Calls for Proposals that request co-funding, such as ‘Strategic projects with major co-funding’, provision of co-funding is considered as part of the evaluation criteria.

Q: For two-stage calls, are the expert reviewers used at stage 1 identical to those used at stage 2?
A: EDCTP selects the most appropriate experts to evaluate applications. It is likely that some of the experts used at the first stage of evaluation will participate in the evaluation procedure in the second stage. Nevertheless, the exact composition of the group of experts may be different at each stage.

Q: My proposal includes a patent-pending technology. How can I ensure that this information remains strictly confidential when scrutinised by external peers during the review process?
A: All reviewers have to sign a declaration of confidentiality and non-disclosure based on Horizon 2020 rules. Your institution’s legal services are encouraged to scrutinise this document to judge whether this is sufficient for ensuring the confidentiality of a pending patent application.

Q: Is it possible to have my rejected proposal reconsidered because the reviewers missed the point?
A: EDCTP chooses independent reviewers with a high level of scientific and technical expertise in the areas appropriate to the call. The majority of EDCTP calls include a rebuttal procedure at the full application stage. The rebuttal procedure is intended to allow the applicants to identify and comment on possible factual errors or misunderstandings that may have been made by the expert reviewers. Once the evaluation has been undertaken, it is not possible to have your application reconsidered by different reviewers. You may lodge an appeal (see the EDCTP2 grants manual) if you consider that your application was not evaluated by EDCTP according to the published procedure.

Proposal outcomes and feedback, grant awarding and preparation

Q: What sort of feedback can I expect during the course of my application?
A: After the stage 1 evaluation, applicants receive the decision outcome and common feedback. There is no rebuttal procedure at stage 1 and the individual evaluation reports are not provided to applicants. At stage 2, applicants receive the individual evaluation reports or extracts of them for rebuttal. The individual evaluation reports and the submitted rebuttal will be considered during the consensus meeting and/or panel meeting. Following approval of decisions by the EDCTP Board, applicants to stage 2 and applicants to single stage calls receive outcome letters, together with the consensus evaluation summary and consensus scores for the application.

Q: What is the expected success rate for applications to a Call for Proposals?
A: This depends on several factors: the call budget, the maximum funding per proposal and the number of proposals submitted. Please check the summary information on applications and awards in the EDCTP annual report.

Q: When will the outcome of my application be known?
A: Details on when applicants receive the outcomes are indicated in the call text. Please note that changes may be made at EDCTP’s discretion. Any changes will be reflected on the EDCTP website.

Q: What happens if my application is successful?
A: All applicants will receive an outcome letter. If your application is selected for funding, you will receive an invitation to grant preparation. This starts the grant preparation phase, which includes an ethics evaluation of your proposal, where applicable. The maximum period for grant preparation is three months. EDCTP staff members will guide you through the steps to the grant agreement signature.

Q. When should the ‘consortium agreement’ be in place?
A: Participants must sign the consortium agreement prior to the signature of the EDCTP2 grant agreement.

Q: What are the terms and conditions of an EDCTP grant?
A: There are three EDCTP Model Grant Agreements: multi-beneficiary, mono-beneficiary and mono beneficiary with options for fellowships. The Model Grant Agreements are based on Horizon 2020 documents.

EDCTP Model Grant Agreements: multi-beneficiarymono-beneficiary and mono beneficiary with options for fellowships. The Model Grant Agreements are based on Horizon 2020 documents.

Version 8c – June 2018