Monday, 30 November 2015

The EU fails its audit – again


This month, the Court of Auditors published the results of its audit of the EU for 2014. The audit found errors in payments made of 4.4%, compared with 4.5% in the previous two years. The target for expenditure errors is 2%, so the pressure of auditing will continue.

While the report does not include separate figures for the research programmes (FP7 and H2020) they constitute 61% of the expenditure in the budget category “Competitiveness and growth for jobs”, where errors increased from 4% in 2013 to 5.6% in 2014. The large error rate here is attributed to the use of eligible costs as the basis for grants. The Court of Auditors thinks this can be overcome by switching to “entitlement” funding, such as that used for PhD students under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie programme (MSCA), where each month they work triggers the payment of a set amount of money, without reference to the actual costs incurred.

Interestingly, MSCA grants are considered generous by many universities. So what happened to the principle of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency?

Regards


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Communication versus dissemination

One part of the proposal template which still confuses is its references to communication and dissemination. The template requires a draft plan for the dissemination and exploitation of the project's results and – separately – a description of the proposed communication measures for promoting the project and its findings.

Some believe that dissemination is one way, from the research project to anyone who cares to listen, whereas communication is two-way, involving interaction between the research project and its potential audiences. It was reported at a recent conference addressed by H2020 proposal evaluators that several units of the EC had also suggested this interpretation.

On the other hand, the EC’s own H2020 publication “Communicating EU research and innovation: guidance for project participants” includes both two-way communication (eg face-to-face conversation, group discussions, demonstrations) and one-way communication (eg newspapers, magazines, newsletters and brochures).

Maybe EC staff should read their own advice!

Regards
Singleimage - H2020 Training Workshops and Advice

Monday, 7 September 2015

#H2020 largest grants so far - And the winners are....

This table shows the higher education institutions with largest grants by value so far in H2020. Of the 30 organisations listed, 21 were in the top 30 for FP7. Of course, other organisation types also have large numbers of grants, including CNRS and CEA (France), and Fraunhofer and Max Planck (Germany). If all organisation types are taken into account, the final entry in the table, Karolinska Institute, drops to 44th place. The highest placed company in the overall list is Siemens of Germany at 53 and the highest placed public body is the Welsh Assembly Government (UK) at 127. The Finnish CSC-ICT Centre for Science, which provides IT services for research, libraries, archives and museums, is the highest placed “OTHER” at 234.


€m = EU grant; No. = number of projects
€m
No.
 
 
 
€m
No.
1
Cambridge University
UK
68.3
114
16
Southampton University
UK
24.9
34
2
University College London
UK
59.9
108
17
Leeds University
UK
24.8
43
3
Oxford University
UK
54.4
122
18
LMU Munich
DE
24.7
42
4
Imperial College London
UK
46.6
94
19
Lund University
SE
24.6
40
5
Copenhagen University
DK
43.7
102
20
Weizmann Institute
IL
24.2
29
6
Edinburgh University
UK
34.7
69
21
Glasgow University
UK
24.2
39
7
KU Leuven
BE
32.7
71
22
Milan Polytechnic
IT
24.0
51
8
Delft Tech. University
NL
31.5
55
23
Amsterdam University
NL
23.3
48
9
Bristol University
UK
27.9
47
24
TU Eindhoven
NL
23.0
42
10
Munich Technical University
DE
27.4
43
25
Warwick University
UK
22.1
37
11
Gent University
BE
27.0
48
26
Manchester University
UK
22.1
48
12
VU Amsterdam
NL
26.2
53
27
RWTH Aachen
DE
21.8
37
13
Aarhus University
DK
26.2
43
28
Utrecht University
NL
21.4
49
14
Danish Technical Univ.
DK
26.0
55
29
Radboud University
NL
20.6
38
15
KTH Royal Inst. Technology
SE
25.8
52
30
Karolinska Institute
SE
20.1
40