Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Horizon 2020: proposed financial rules

The EC has released its proposals for Horizon 2020, successor to FP7. The main changes suggested to existing financial rules are:

• One set of rules will cover the successors to FP7, CIP, EIT, the JTIs, Eurostars and Ambient Assisted Living, though the last three may be able to negotiate variations.

• Percentage funding: project costs will no longer be divided into different activity types (eg research, demonstration, management, other) with different % funding rates. Each project will have a single rate: up to 100% for research projects, and up to 70% for projects involving prototyping, testing, demonstrating, experimental development, piloting and market replication.

• Overheads: will be 20% of direct costs excluding subcontracting and similar activities. (An option for not-for-profits to charge actual overheads is mentioned but no rules for this are proposed.) Combined with the funding percentages, this means little change for those using the FP7 60% overhead. For companies using calculated overheads in FP7, the reduction in eligible overheads is offset by the increase in funding percentage. Organisations specialising in project management or dissemination activities will see a reduction in funding.

• Receipts remain as FP7. However, with EU support of 100%, they will always reduce the EU funding.

• VAT might be an eligible cost. It is not listed as ineligible.

• Timesheets will be necessary to support personnel costs claimed, except for those working exclusively on the EU-funded projects. So, for example, a professor responsible for several projects will need to fill out a timesheet, but not the junior researcher working full time on one of them.

• Productive time, used to calculate hourly rate, will be set by the EC in the grant agreement.

• The guarantee fund will continue, though organisations guaranteed by their governments might be exempt from contributing. Other financial guarantees will be neither imposed nor accepted. The latter closes a loophole in the FP7 legislation, which did not prevent an organisation from “volunteering” a guarantee.

The final rules will be negotiated between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament over the next two years

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