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Applying for Funds

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APEC administers two project approval sessions per year for APEC member economies to apply for funding. Project sessions are very competitive – there are more applications than there is funding available. Members are encouraged to think deeply about their project, and consult widely with their colleagues, to ensure that they have the best possible chance of receiving funding. Funding is approved by APEC’s Budget and Management Committee (BMC). The project selection process is also explored on the APEC Project Funding Sources page in further detail and you are strongly encouraged to read the information presented there. You will also find out about the specific eligibility requirements that adhere to the various APEC project funding sources.

There are two stages to each project approval session:

  1. Concept Note Stage: The process starts with the submission of a four page Concept Note outlining the intention of the project by the dates specified below. Only approved Concept Notes proceed to the next stage.
  2. Project Proposal Stage: This stage only applies for approved Concept Notes. A Concept Note is developed into a longer and more detailed Project Proposal that specifies precisely how the project will work. Project Proposals must be submitted by the advertised Submission Deadline.

Please give careful thought to the timing of your Concept Note submission. The development of your Project Proposal may take time as it is undergoes the Secretariat quality assessment process. If you are planning events for SOM3, you are strongly encouraged to apply in Project Session 2 of the preceding year, especially when pre-event activities like surveys and research are planned. First-time POs should always consult with their Program Director or PMU before applying, to ensure their proposed project time-line is realistic.

The APEC Project Concept Note template is was updated in January 2023. It is available here and on the Project Overseer Toolkit webpage.

The dates for the two 2023 Project Sessions are provided below. 

Dates for Project Session 1, 2023

1. Concept Note StageSubmission Date Notification Date of BMC Decision

Internal Submission Deadline

Project Overseer to submit Concept Note to Program Director

Thursday 9 March


Final Submission Deadline

Program Directors submit endorsed Concept Notes to Project Management Unit

Thursday 30 March

Monday 15 May

What does this mean?

By the Internal Submission Deadline, submit your Concept Note to your group through your Program Director, so that it can be:

  • endorsed by your forum
  • checked for compliance with the Guidebook on APEC Projects

All Concept Notes must have the minimum co-sponsors agreed by the Internal Submission Deadline.

All Concept Notes must be endorsed by the Final Submission Deadline. Program Directors will submit endorsed Concept Notes to the APEC Secretariat’s Project Management Unit by the Final Submission Deadline.

2. Project Proposal StageSubmission Date to APEC SecretariatNotification Date of BMC final approval

Submission Deadline

Project Overseer to submit Project Proposal to Program Director

Thursday 15 June


What does this mean?

You must submit your Project Proposal to your Program Director by the single Submission Deadline advertised above, so that it can circulated within the proposing forum for endorsement, and reviewed against the Quality Criteria for Assessing APEC Projects (see Project Proposal Development, below).

*Project Proposals which require a BMC decision before the date advertised here should be submitted to the Secretariat prior the Submission Deadline where possible. PMU will seek earlier BMC decisions where required by project timelines, but Project Proposals must be endorsed by the proposing forum, and must achieve a satisfactory rating across the Quality Criteria for Assessing APEC Projects, before they will be submitted by PMU to BMC for earlier approval.

Any Project Proposal submitted more than a week after the Submission Deadline will be considered withdrawn and BMC in-principle approval revoked.


Dates for Project Session 2, 2023 ***Note that submission will be online via the APEC Project Administration System (APAS)***

1. Concept Note StageSubmission Date Notification Date of BMC Decision

Internal Submission Deadline

Project Overseer to submit Concept Note to Program Director via email

Monday 19 June


Final Submission Deadline (Program Directors submit endorsed Concept Notes to PMU via APAS)

Thursday 18 July

Monday 4 September
2. Project Proposal StageSubmission Date Notification Date of BMC final approval

Submission Deadline

Project Overseer to submit Project Proposal via APAS

Wednesday 20 September

October -November


Concept Note Development

A project originates from an economy or economies, and is considered and delivered through an APEC forum (such as working group or a committee, etc.). Individuals affiliated with APEC fora are eligible to apply for APEC funding, provided their Concept Note and Project Proposal are endorsed by their forum. This individual, called a ‘Project Overseer’ (PO), will lead the design and delivery of the project on behalf of their economy.

The PO must prepare a four-page Concept Note describing the project’s objectives, relevance, methodology and alignment to APEC’s goals. POs must also clearly identify the specific funding source to which they are applying – see APEC Project Funding Sources. The project must secure the requisite number of co-sponsors (check with the Program Director for your forum for the required number). Concept Notes then need endorsement by the forum.

Some funding sources require that Concept Notes be endorsed by a specific forum other than your own. Your Program Director will assist where such co-endorsement is required. The Concept Note must be submitted to the APEC Secretariat Project Management Unit (PMU) by the Final Submission Deadline, for the next stage in project selection.

Concept Note Approval

PMU sorts all Concept Notes according to the project funding source nominated by the PO. Each project funding source has been assigned to a specified fora for the purposes of Concept Note eligibility assessment and scoring. In some cases, such as SOM, CTI and SCE, more than one funding source has been assigned to a responsible APEC forum. PMU will send Concept Notes to the responsible APEC fora, who will assess whether the Concept Note meets the eligibility criteria for the funding source in question, and will also score the Concept Note against pre-determined scoring criteria. All economies participate in the eligibility and scoring process. PMU then processes the results and will make a funding recommendation to BMC, based on eligibility outcomes and the scores of each Concept Note. BMC will then make an in-principal funding decision.

Project Proposal Development

Once Concept Notes are approved by BMC, the Secretariat will notify POs of the outcomes. Successful POs will be invited to expand their Concept Note into a full Project Proposal. As with the original Concept Notes, the proposal must be endorsed by the relevant forum. The PO must then submit the proposal and peer review to the APEC Secretariat. PMU also assesses project proposals according to the Quality Criteria for Assessing APEC Projects: relevance, impact, effectiveness, sustainability and efficiency. The Secretariat provides advice and assistance, as needed, until the proposal meets satisfactory quality on all criteria.

Final approval

Once proposals have reached satisfactory quality, the Secretariat recommends them to BMC for approval. Proposals that are over $200,000 in value are also approved by SOM. If the proposal is approved, the project moves to the implementation stage. 

For further information on specific projects and the process for applying for APEC funds, please review the Guidebook on APEC Projects or contact the relevant APEC Secretariat Program Directors.