Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement: The entrepreneur and the LEAR

An entrepreneur (Mr Hare), enthused by the prospect of a multi-million euro grant to support his ambitious plans for his company to innovate and grow, submitted a proposal under the EU’s SME instrument (phase 2). The proposal was successful. Now, he thought, all I have to do is sign the grant agreement and we can get working. But instructions from the EC said he could not sign the grant agreement, even though he owned the majority of the shares in his company and was its chief executive. First he had to appoint a LEAR (Legal Entity Appointed Representative).

“How do I do this?” he asked his friend, Mr Tortoise, who explained the process of submitting paper documents including copies of identity cards or passports. “So if I appoint one of my colleagues as LEAR, then she can sign the grant agreement?” “Ah no” said Mr Tortoise, “Your LEAR must next appoint someone who can sign EC grant agreements, known as a Legal Signatory – LSIGN”. “And the LSIGN can sign the grant agreement?” asked Mr Hare, hopefully. “Not so fast, dear friend. First, the participant contact named in the proposal must select the LSIGN so they can become the PLSIGN for the project, who can sign the grant agreement”. “Who is the participant contact?” asked Mr Hare, who by now was feeling a little bit tired. “If you put your name in the proposal forms, that will be you” came the reply. So they checked the forms, and sure enough Mr Hare was named as the contact.

“That’s a relief” said Mr Hare. “Is dealing with the EC always this slow?” “Slow?” asked Mr Tortoise. “That’s not slow. Wait until you ask for a progress payment, then you will know what slow means!”