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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - FP7 (for still running projects)

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When patient data are in use, research on animals, stem cells, and others specified on cordis web pages in section ethical issues…

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Two options:

You use the local and actual salary rates. You can use Lump Sums for International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPC) ICPC got the option being reimbursed: the basis of eligible costs or may opt for lump sums lump sum contribution is defined per country income group in the „list of ICPC economies“:

Economy contribution (€/researcher/year) low income 8 000 €

lower middle income 9 800 €

upper middle income 20 700 €

upper funding limits have to be applied disadvantage of lump sum payment: it is deemed to cover all costs (see also: Guide to Financial Issues, p. 69 ff)

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This depends on the type of project and kind of organization ( SMEs, Universities, and/or others…) Please refer to the guidelines and Participant portal

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The magnitude of research funding is usually specified by topic. It depends on the type of projects. Large, medium/small collaborative projects are from € 3 mil up to € 12 mil , the same for NoE

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The key question is if the cost is a subcontract. If the services in question are a subcontract then the subcontract can not be taken into account when calculating overheads. The classification of the services depends on their character.

 

Some costs incurred in relation to organisation of the meeting may be considered as subcontracting (e.g. catering services provided by an external company) whereas others (renting the rooms directly in a hotel) would not fall within this category. ln this sense remember that subcontracting is a business transaction by which the subcontractor performs some work for a beneficiary.

 

Subcontracting costs are direct costs. Whether major or minor costs, they have to be identified by beneficiaries in the financial statement form (Form C, Annex VI to GA). In any case, they should be reported as subcontracting (if you are paying for a service; the difference is that the GA allows that these minor subcontracts do not previously appear in the Description of work of the project, As subcontracts, they are a cost to a beneficiary for a work/service which is performed by a third party and not by the beneficiary, and therefore indirect costs can not be charged by the beneficiary on them; in this cases, the indirect costs are already covered by the price paid by the beneficiary to the subcontractor. The same rules for subcontracting apply to all projects, including CSA.

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If you use the flat-rate, overheads do not need to be justified. If effectively money is left over after covering your overhead this can be used any way. This of course does not apply if you calculate the actual costs!

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It does not necessarily depend on the time if someone will be regarded as a subcontractor or as a real partner. It depends on the task one has in a FP7 project. Subcontracting is limited to side-tasks which are not central and crucial for development of the project.

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You only have to show the 3 offers in case of a second level audit by the Commission which can be done up to 5 years after the end of the project (good project documentation is needed!).

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In our project we need to follow the progress of patients from different wards, GPs, home nursing organisations. They need to all fill-out a questionnaire and need to have their costs covered for this. Classical sub-contracting. There will be many (up to hundreds) of different organisations. We can't have a contract with them exactly, nor can we write out a call for the sub-contracting. What do we need to watch out for to ensure we follow the EU rules for sub-contracting?

In this case there should be a detailed description of the necessity of these people working in the project under Subcontracting in Annex I GA /DoW – this should be discussed with the PO/FO in detail as well as the costs.

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Daily allowances are accepted by the commission if they are part of your normal operating accounting principles (“usual practice”).

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In principle yes, when the cost cover flights and hotel fees as well as daily allowances only. It is always recommended to get a confirmation from your SO in advance. If it will be a substantial part of the project budget you should think about subcontracting.

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Here the internal rules of your organisation apply. As the salary has to be according to the usual practice of the beneficiary it is always very problematic to get an EU-project bonus because this cannot be reimbursed in the project. If the top-up corresponds to more hours work for the beneficiary there is no problem – national labour law is the limit here.

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It is advisable to find a partner that has more experience in managing the project and making sure that the joint application succeeds. The management and training activities are funded up to 100%, but not the project preparation. You can use the FFH 2.0 matchmaking section to find partners that offer project management skills for Horizon 2020

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It takes on average one year including the evaluation phase, the negotiation phase and the signature of contracts. But these delays are now constantly reduced by a faster treatment of administrative procedures by the EC services.

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Demonstration activities are closer to the product than research activities. Demonstration activities include e.g. prototype development, surveys, and up-scaling activities.

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<p><strong>For clarity: dissemination includes everything from attending conferences to talk about results of the project to personnel costs for writing scientific papers about the project results to establishing and maintaining the project website. Is this correct?</strong></p>
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Dissemination is everything you do to get the results / outcome of the project to the right target group(s)

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The advice is to include an AB already in the project governance structure of the project at the first stage. It may help to convince the evaluators.

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I would recommend integrating a Gantt or Pert Chart in first stage proposals only when you stick to the page limit. The Guide for Applicants does not foresee to have a Gantt or Pert Chart at stage one.

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Our centre is a national consortium composed of research groups from different hospitals, universities, etc. If a research group applies for funds as part of the consortium, how do we reflect their belonging to other institutions?
 
Here it depends if your centre is a legal entity or not. If it is, then the Centre can apply for funding. If not, the hospitals, universities etc. should apply as partners.
If the centre is a partner and people doing the research work are not “directly hired” by the centre but have a working contract at a hospital, university which is member of the centre, then the costs of the personnel might only be eligible if the hospital, university is as a “third party linked to the beneficiary” with special clause 10 in the Grant Agreement working in the project.

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When a hospital is a service provider who will not need to get access to other parties of the project it is a typical sub-contractor. On the other hand if a clinic is affiliated to one of the partners and likes to get access to the results and perhaps IPR then it should be involved as a third party linked to the beneficiary with special clause 10 (means: the partner is responsible for the reporting, the budget and the scientific quality and is steering the hospital as an affiliated partner/(third party).

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After every reporting period there has to be a periodic report for the period (as well as a financial report Form C) – there also has to be a periodic report for the last period. After the last period a final report has to be handed in additionally. Reporting is done on-line via the Participant Portal.

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It depends on the legal structure of the hospital. If the pharmacy is within the legal structure (is the same legal entity as the hospital), it is a part of the partner of the consortium and therefore “the partner”. If the pharmacy is a legal entity on its own, then it can be regarded as a third party linked to the beneficiary with special clause 10, when there is a link between the hospital and the pharmacy (holding structure, mother, daughter etc.). For the work in the project an agreement between the pharmacy and the hospital has to be set up.

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Management depends on the complexity of the project.
Management can be much more detailed in difficult phases of a project. As a co-ordinator one of your tasks is to follow the progress of your project to avoid undue delays. Especially in the first phase of the project you need to monitor the people if they are on the right track. Delays in critical tasks will trickle down and have an effect of the entire project. The focus of all partners in a project has to be on agreeing on objectives.
As a co-ordinator you have to pay attention that the partners deliver their reports in time. Delays in reporting leads to a delay of the interim payments for the whole project.

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Not necessarily. When you have a consistent, high-quality documentation system you can convince your auditor to take this instead of time-sheets.
But time sheets are default for most of the organisations, because they are easy to handle. The time recording needs to be signed and countersigned by either the project leader or the hierarchical supervisor. If the time recording system of your organisation is able to do this (e.g. by electronic signatures) then there are no time sheets needed. As the most organisations do not have such a system it is best to print out and sign and have counter-signed the time sheets on paper.

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Each partner is responsible for the costs in the Form C and has to keep the documentation in its organisation (including the co-ordinator). But if a partner exceeds the amount of money he is allowed to spend it is the responsibility of the co-ordinator and the management board to monitor that. The co-ordinator is responsible for a good conduction of the project as well as for all the payments to the partners.

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No, that is the responsibility of each partner (Annex II of the Grant Agreement). The partners have to be able to justify the costs of their Form C themselves until 5 years after the end of the project.

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In FP7 the Commission usually audits 3 projects at a partner's place at once (for large organisations). A Commission' audit is always based on the organisational rules and the systems used in EU-projects. However, the EU COM audit unit has the power and the possibility to involve all other EU projects when they find a logical / consistent error that seems to be “systematic”. Then an extrapolation of the audit findings on all other projects is possible and all other projects may be recalculated.

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Can you please tell me what the situation is with reporting in FP7? One of our deliverables should already be completed by Month 5 which has just passed. I have the information for the report. Should this be uploaded and submitted online now or can we wait for the reports of the 1st reporting period, after 18 months?

 

If you have arranged Month 5 for this deliverable in your Annex 1, this should be uploaded now. Here are some references from the relevant documents:

Guidance notes for reporting: 2.1 During the course of the project, to be submitted:

1. The deliverables identified in Annex I to the Grant Agreement, according to the timetable specified in the Deliverables list.

Guide for Applicants Health Theme: Please note that each deliverable will have to be submitted as a distinct document/report. In order to keep your deliverables manageable, small related deliverables should be grouped as specified parts (equivalent to 'subdeliverables') of a single more substantial deliverable. Progress towards achievement of the full deliverable can then be demonstrated in the periodic reports by reference to the smaller parts. The full deliverable will only be submitted when all parts have been -completed. Ideally this will be at the same date as a periodic report.

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One single pre-financing payment
Received by the coordinator within 45 days of entry into force of GA, to ensure positive cash-flow during project. The pre-financing equals 160% of average EU funding per period for projects with more than 2 reporting periods, or it equals 60-80% of total EU contribution for projects with 1 or 2 reporting periods. The pre-financing remains the property of the EC until the final payment. Form the amount of pre-financing which depends on the project length, 5% of the total EU funding is transferred to the Guarantee Fund. During project implementation the amount reported in the Form C are paid by the EC (ownership of this money is transferred) – but only up to a limit of 90% of the total EU funding. (10% retention is kept until the final payment – with the final payment the Commission pays 10% as well as 5% are coming from the Guarantee Fund.

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in FP7, every partner who receives more than 375.000 EUR or exactly 375.000 EUR funding has to give a certificate on financial statement (CFS). Together with the financial statement (Form C) which reaches the threshold of 375.000 EUR, the CFS has to be submitted. E.g. in the first period you receive 200.000 EUR funding – you need no CFS. In the second period you receive another 200.000 EUR funding – now you reached the threshold (as 400.000 EUR is more than 375.000 EUR), therefore you have to bring in a CFS. In the next (last) period you receive another 200.000 EUR funding – you don’t need a CFS as you don’t reach the threshold anymore. If you receive less than 375.000 EUR funding in a project, you don’t have to bring in a CFS at all. In projects with less than 2 years if you receive more than/or exactly 375.000 EUR funding, you only have to hand in a CFS at the end of the project. (The same is valid for organisations with a valid Certificate of Methodology, they don’t need a CFS for interim payments, just one at the final payment if they get >= 375.000 EUR funding). Costs for CFS can be reimbursed under Management – Subcontracting.

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My question is in relation to direct and indirect cost in FP7. If we allocate some of the time of the Director of the Research Centre, where do we allocate this cost? As direct costs or personnel costs?

 

Here it depends if the Director receives a salary or not. If the Director does not receive any salary the Marie Curie rates can possibly be taken. Otherwise there has to be made the distinction if his salary is completely in the overhead costs (indirect costs). If so and he wants to get reimbursed hours in the project, these hours have to be taken out of the indirect costs and booked under the direct costs – only then these costs can be reimbursed under personnel costs. I just add here that a complete time recording for the Director is needed too.

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If it is a project management or a project board meeting and if the dinner is necessary for networking among the consortium partners andis necessary to conduct the project, yes, it is possible to claim it on the project. But it needs to be justified for networking issues. Best advice is to ask the Project Officer in advance if the costs for a common dinner will be covered by the project. It is always good to have an agenda so you really can show that the dinner was a working dinner and not for entertainment. As it is with all costs, the dinner has to fulfil all the eligibility criteria and have to fall under the usual practice of the partner who wants it reimbursed in the Form C (e.g. the organisation only allows the cheapest caterer, then a 5-star expensive catering can never be reimbursed).

faq

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Yes, it is forbidden. Only complementary financing is allowed.