This section of these General Guidance notes sets out key information that is relevant to all potential applicants to the Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24. All potential applicants should read this section in full before starting their application.
- you cannot apply for funding for a project that has already started, is part-way through, or has completed.
- projects should only begin after the applicant has received an email confirmation from us that we have received the application to the Marine Fund Scotland for funding for the project. However, please note that any costs incurred between receiving a confirmation from us that we have received the application and (if an application is successful) receiving a formal grant offer letter are incurred at an applicant's (or their organisation's) own risk. This is because applying to the Marine Fund Scotland does not guarantee approval of funding even if the project may meet the Fund's eligibility criteria and outcomes. While costs incurred by an applicant (or their organisation) during this period are potentially eligible for funding if an application is successful, the eligibility of such costs is not guaranteed. The decision on the eligibility of such costs is entirely at our discretion.
- you can employ an agent or consultant to help you complete your application but you must sign the application. You will be responsible for ensuring that all of the terms and conditions of grant are fulfilled. Responsibility for the content of the application and any supporting information and documentation rests with you and cannot be transferred to your agents or consultants. In particular, this means that you will be expected to retain ownership of the project which is being grant funded.
- if your application is successful, you will receive a grant offer letter which will set out the conditions attached to your grant offer, a schedule for claims, and other relevant information. You will not receive the funding at that stage. You must actively submit a claim(s) to us for the grant funds after you have incurred the expenditure.
- grant funds are paid in arrears, on receipt of a completed claim for grant. This means that you/your project will only be able to claim for, and be paid, the grant funding after you have received and paid for the item or service, etc., for which you have applied for the grant.
This means grant payments cannot be made in advance of expenditure. However, you can submit multiple claims throughout your project in phases, as your project progresses. For example, you could submit a claim for the first half of your grant funding a quarter of the way through your project if you have incurred the expenditure for half of your total eligible costs at that stage. We encourage claims to be made in this way if possible (i.e. grant claims for payments of grant in instalments), instead of projects submitting one single claim at the end of the project or the financial year for the full grant amount. This can improve your cashflow but also makes it easier for us to manage the volume of claims throughout the year and also means we have a better idea of how projects are progressing.
- all grant-funded work and all expenditure relating to the grant-funded work must be completed in line with the agreed dates set out in the grant offer letter. If you do not submit your claim(s) within the timeframes within the grant offer letter, then Scottish Ministers will be under no obligation to pay unclaimed grant amounts to a grant recipient, unless this has otherwise been agreed in writing by the Scottish Ministers. If you think you may be in exceptional circumstances that would affect your ability to submit your claims in full within the timescales in your grant offer letter, you must contact us at MFS@gov.scot as soon as you find out, and at least before the date the claim is scheduled to be made in terms of the grant offer letter.
- all projects applying to the Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24, where relevant, are expected to include information in their application that shows they understand the impact of their project on biodiversity and/or natural capital, and are taking appropriate steps to monitor, and reduce, mitigate or eliminate any negative impacts and enhance any positive impacts relative to their current position.
This reflects the requirement to meet the current and expected new targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity, which include eliminating incentives harmful for biodiversity, in a just and equitable way, ensuring that public and private economic and regulatory incentives are positive for biodiversity.
- if you are offered grant funding, then submitting any required progress and end of project reports and complying with any required post-project monitoring requirements will be formal contractual conditions of your grant and will be set out in your grant offer letter. It will be your responsibility as a grant recipient to ensure that the reporting and monitoring requirements for your project are met. More information on this is provided in the 'Monitoring and reporting' section of these Guidance notes.
- failure to meet any of the grant conditions in the grant offer letter could lead to Scottish Ministers taking action under the contractual grant Agreement, which could include (but is not limited to) varying the amount of grant offered, making a deduction from the amount of grant offered, withholding any unclaimed grant amount, or requiring immediate repayment of all or part of the grant.
- if your project is seeking to invest in natural capital, you should show in your application that you are aligned to the Interim Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital – as far as possible, as some of the interim principles are currently focused on land use.
- tackling child poverty is a key national mission for the Scottish Government and for Scotland. Applicants to the Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24 are encouraged to consider including in their application information on how their project can support or align to the mission in the Scottish Government's Best Start, Bright Futures: tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022 to 2026 which is: "to create a fairer, more equal country where all children and families are supported to flourish".
- as will be set out in the grant offer letter, all Intellectual Property (IP) Rights (whether or not registered) in any materials or works in whatever form which are created, produced or generated as part of a grant-funded project by or on behalf of a recipient of Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24 grant funding will be assigned to and shall vest in the Crown or its assignees.
- projects that are awarded a grant from the Marine Fund Scotland 2023-24 may be asked to sign up to pilots or studies as a condition of their grant. These will be detailed after the grant application is received and assessed, but before a grant offer letter containing the contractual conditions of the grant is issued. Depending on pilot and study dates over the course of the year, different pilots or studies may be relevant to applications made at different times of the year or to projects which are carried out at different times of the year.
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