C.1 Composition of the project partnership

C.1.1 Project partners, lead partners and associated organisations

In simple terms, a project partnership has to include a lead partner and several project partners. It can also involve associated organisations.

The Programme is based on the lead partner principle¹. This means that one project partner has to act as the lead partner. The lead partner takes the overall responsibility for development and implementation of the project. Chapter C.3.1 lists the responsibilities of the lead partner.

¹REGULATION (EU) 2021/1059, Article 23(5)

Project partners have a budget and a defined role in the project’s implementation. Chapter C.3.2 lists the responsibilities of project partners.

Associated organisations support the project implementation but do not have a budget. They will finance project related activities from their own resources. At the same time, they do not take up responsibility for major tasks of the project, but have a supportive role. For example, a national ministry providing strategic advice or being a target group of the project.

C.1.2 Geographical composition

Core projects, small projects and platforms have to involve at least three project partners from three different countries of the Programme area: a lead partner and at least two project partners. Strategy governance projects have to involve at least two partners from two different countries.

Lead partners must be legally registered in the territory of a Member State or Norway covered by the Programme area. Where a legal entity is located in Germany or Norway (in the sense of legal registration) but outside the Programme area, it can become a lead partner if it:


    is competent in its scope of action for a particular part of the eligible area, e.g. federal ministry, federal agency, national research body which is registered outside the Programme area etc.,


    fulfils the basic requirements for a lead partner specified in the next chapter, and


    carries out activities which are for the benefit of the regions in the Programme area.

    In total, at least two of the project partners in core projects, small projects and platforms have to be located in the territory of two EU Member States in the Programme area.

    Chapter B.6 includes a definition of the Programme area.