Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Simple for SMEs in H2020?

The EC has made significant efforts to make its new SME “instrument” easy to use. So have others designing different parts of H2020. But the result is that there are at least four different sets of financial rules which SMEs might need to follow, depending on which part of H2020 suits their needs.

• The new SME instrument will use “lump sum” funding. This means that payment is made according to the work delivered, with no checking or audit of actual costs incurred and no constraints on subcontracting.

• The designers of Eurostars, for research intensive SMEs, and Active and Assisted Living, which funds many SMEs, decided it would be helpful if national funding rules were used, because the SMEs were likely to be familiar with them. Their cost claims can be audited by the EC.

• But if an SME wishes to work on consortium projects with universities, institutes and large companies in the areas of Societal Challenges and Enabling and Industrial Technologies, they must use the EC’s standard rules on eligible costs, including those for subcontracting, with potential checks and audits of actual costs incurred.

• And finally, there is the possibility of staff exchange projects under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie scheme. Here grants are not based on costs, but determined by the level of experience of the staff, the country they visit for the exchange, and their family responsibilities.

It will be interesting to hear how the EC handles these variations in its upcoming information days dedicated to H2020 opportunities specifically for SMEs.

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