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Q: For ERC projects under FP7, can the Principal Investigator sign timesheets for him/herself?
A:

A Principal Investigator should not validate his/her own timesheet because the person validating a timesheet should have an independent view of the work of the Principal Investigator within the Host Institution (e.g. the Principal Investigator's hierarchical superior).

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, does the Principal Investigator need to dedicate an equal proportion of his/her working time each year to the project?
A:

Under FP7, the Principal Investigator is not obliged to spend an equal amount of his/her working time each year on the project, as long as the distribution is in line with achieving the scientific objectives of the project. However, ERCEA encourages an even distribution throughout the duration of the project. Any special time arrangements need to be agreed with the ERCEA beforehand.Timesheets or other means of proof must reflect the actual productive hours spent on the project.

Q: Under FP7, can projects that have more than one partner institution be funded by an ERC grant?
A:

Yes, in FP7, multi-beneficiary Grant Agreements are possible.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, if the Principal Investigator goes on maternity / parental leave, does the project need to be suspended?
A:

In FP7, if the Principal Investigator is able to and wants to continue to supervise the project directly during the maternity/parental leave, they can do so, subject to the observance of applicable national law.The Principal Investigator shall inform the ERCEA when they go on maternity / parental leave and whether they intend to require a suspension of the grant for this period. The ERCEA will assess the suspension request.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, in case of a change of Host Institution, under which conditions does the Host institution have the right to terminate the Grant Agreement as well as the Supplementary Agreement?
A:

In FP7, if the Principal Investigator permanently moves to a third country which is not associated to FP7 and he/she is no longer in the position to continue leading an ERC funded research project, the Host Institution has the right to terminate the Supplementary Agreement with the  Principal Investigator.

The termination of the Supplementary Agreement compels the Host Institution to initiate the procedure of termination for the Grant Agreement.

The termination remains at the discretion of the ERCEA, following an evaluation of the situation on a case-by-case basis. Alternatives to the termination may be considered.

Q: Under FP7, on what grounds can ERCEA decide to terminate a Grant Agreement?
A:

In FP7, the cases where the ERCEA may terminate the Grant Agreement as per text law are outlined in Article II.35 (Single) and Article II.37 (Multi-Beneficiary) of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, what is the procedure if a Principal Investigator leaves (for whatever reason) the Host Institution?
A:

In FP7, if the Principal Investigator leaves the Host Institution, the participation of the Host Institution in the grant shall be terminated. Articles II.33 (Single) and II.35 (Multi-Beneficiary) of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement are applicable.The Host Institution is strongly advised to contact the ERCEA by sending a request to ERC-C2-AMENDMENTS@ec.europa.eu to receive a tailor made response and further guidance.

Q: Under FP7, what happens if team members do not move to the new Host Institution but remain part of the project team in case an ERC grant is transferred to a new Host Institution?
A:

In FP7, the initial Host Institution can be included in the grant as a second/additional beneficiary or, if the required conditions are met, as a third party carrying out part of the work (Special Clause 30, Article 7 of the ERC Grant Agreement).

In certain cases, a single-beneficiary grant would become a multi- beneficiary grant, in which the new Host Institution would be the principal beneficiary and the initial host an additional beneficiary.

Q: Under FP7, how are costs accounted for if the two Host Institutions have different depreciation practices in case of a change of Host Institution? For instance, what happens to equipment that has been partially financed by an ERC grant?
A:

In FP7, each Host Institution applies its own accounting/depreciation practice (See Part 2B, section 1 on art II.15 of ECGA, sub-section 1.(b), in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues).                                                                                                      

In case of equipment purchased for the purposes of carrying out an ERC project, its cost can be charged as a direct cost to the project, according to the beneficiary's usual accounting practice. Depreciation is charged in each relevant periodic report. (See Part 2B, section 1 on art II.15 of ECGA, sub-section 1.(b), in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues).Purchased equipment is the property of the Host Institution, irrespective if the whole piece of equipment or only part of it or was financed by the ERC grant.

If there is a change of Host Institution, the initial and the new Host Institutions will need to agree on the terms of transfer of equipment (i.e. the new Host Institution could eventually pay the book value of the equipment to the initial Host Institution).

The VAT on purchased equipment is not considered as an eligible cost for the ERC grant.

From 2012 onwards a Special Clause 40 is included in the grant agreement, in cases when equipment is charged to the ERC project budget. The principles of the Special Clause 40 are:

  • The new Host Institution is to reimburse the initial HI for the non- depreciated costs of transferred equipment.
  • This reimbursement as well as the cost of dismantling / transferring /installing the equipment can be declared by the new Host Institution under conditions of Article II.14 of the ERC GA.

The following criteria should be met in order to include Special Clause 40 in the Grant Agreement:

  • transportability of the equipment;
  • exclusive use for the ERC project;
  • at least one piece of equipment has a significant value/importance.
Q: For ERC projects under FP7, how are the funds transferred if a project is transferred to a new Host Institution and how is the budget determined for the new Host Institution?
A:

In FP7, the initial Host Institution submits a periodic financial report covering the period from the last report prepared for the

The initial Host Institution calculates and, where necessary, estimates the costs incurred until the date of transfer. The remaining funding is distributed between the remaining reporting periods, according to the project needs and taking into account the Description of Work and the usual accounting and management principles of the new Host Institution.

The ERCEA will reimburse the eligible costs of the initial Host Institution as follows:- If the limit of 90% of the maximum Union contribution to the Grant Agreement has not been reached: The full eligible amount will be reimbursed to the initial Host Institution. At the same time the Host Institution is requested to transfer the full amount of the pre-financing received (pre-financing minus the amount transferred to the guarantee fund) to the new Host Institution.- If the limit of 90% of the maximum Union contribution to the Grant Agreement has been reached: Only the costs up to 90% of the maximum Union contribution to the Grant Agreement can be reimbursed to the initial Host Institution. The initial Host Institution has to transfer the remaining balance to the new Host Institution (as per Article II.6.2 of the General Conditions tothe ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary). 

The remaining amount/balance is transferred by the initial Host Institution after the financial report has been assessed by the ERCEA. The initial Host Institution has 30 days from the date of the assessment confirmation/ balance payment by the ERCEA to transfer the EUR amount due to the new Host Institution.

The new Host Institution can claim the costs as of the effective transfer date indicated in the amendment to the Grant Agreement.

Q: Under FP7, if the Principal Investigator's salary was not included in the budget funded by the ERC grant, can it be included at a later stage if the project will be transferred to another Host Institution during its implementation?
A:

Yes, in FP7, the Principal Investigator's salary can be included in the budget of an ERC grant at a later stage. However, the maximum Union financial contribution cannot be increased and a new budget breakdown will be requested during the amendment of change of Host Institution.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, is there a template for the private law agreement between the Host Institutions if an ERC grant is transferred to a different Host Institution?
A:

In FP7, there is no template provided. It is up to the Host Institutions to agree on appropriate private law arrangements. However, the ERCEA will give advice based on its experience with other cases if requested.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, what is meant by 'portability' of a grant?
A:

In FP7, portability means the transfer of the entire project or part of it to a new beneficiary. Like the initial Host Institution, the new Host Institution must comply with the requirements of the Rules for participation and be established under national law in an EU Member State or Associated Country. Exceptions from the establishment requirement apply for the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, for International European interest organisations and for entities created under EU law.

A transfer of the project may happen before signature of the grant agreement or during the implementation of the project.

  • For a transfer of the project proposal before signature of the grant agreement:

The project officer should be informed as indicated in the invitation letter. The change of Host Institution must be formally accepted by the ERCEA.

  • For a transfer of the project during the implementation of the project:

The new and the initial Host Institution will need to agree on the transfer of the project and all the related aspects so that the project can be pursued. The total Union contribution will not be adjusted.The Principal Investigator has to explain the nature and reasons for the move of the project to another institution, as well as the added value of the move to the scientific output of the project or their career.

The initial Host Institution must introduce the request for the amendment of the Grant Agreement by the ERCEA (Articles II.2.d).vii) and II.34.3 (Single Beneficiary) and II.2.3.vii) and II.36.3 (Multi-Beneficiary) of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement).

Once the amendment has been approved, the initial Host Institution must transfer documentation/ foreground and the part of the pre-financing received for the grant, depending on the case, to the new beneficiary.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, is an amendment needed if the contribution/ time commitment of the Principal Investigator changes during the implementation?
A:

In FP7, the need for an amendment of the Grant Agreement is assessed by the ERCEA on a case-by-case basis.

All changes of the Principal Investigator time commitment on the project or/and in total working time spent in an EU Member State or Associated country have to be previously agreed with the ERC Executive Agency. Otherwise there may be a risk for some costs to be declared ineligible or even the grant to be terminated.

For instance, for Synergy Grants from the Ideas Work Programme 2012 onwards:

Principal Investigators should devote at least 30% of their working time to the ERC-funded project, while spending at least 50% of their total working time in an EU Member State or Associated Country. 

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, is it possible to change the authorised representative for several projects with one request?
A:

In FP7 ERC projects, the request can be grouped per grant type, but only if the former authorised representative, the new authorised representative and the contact person are the same in all the projects of the amendment request.

Further advice can be provided via the ERCEA amendments functional mailbox (ERC-C2-AMENDMENTS@ec.europa.eu ).

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, if for any substantive and justified reason the effective start date of the project is delayed from the start date specified in the grant agreement, does it require an amendment?
A:

In FP7, unless a fixed start date is indicated in the grant agreement, ERC frontier research grants are required to start on the first day of the month following the signature of the grant agreement by the ERCEA.

Exceptionally, for duly justified reasons and with the acceptance of the ERCEA, the project start date can be delayed (see the FP7 Guide for Amendments and the ERC Guidance Notes for preparing the Grant Agreement).  Such a delay might require an amendment.

If a delay in the start date is accepted without an amendment, such delay is expected to be caught up during the implementation of the project (no automatic extension).

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, are changes/amendments possible and how can they be implemented in the Grant Agreement?
A:

In FP7, changes in an ERC project can be requested via direct communication with the Project Officer or sending an email to ERC-C2@ec.europa.eu

For questions related specifically to amendments, you can use: erc-c2-amendments@ec.europa.eu. An amendment officer will be attributed to your request and you will receive a template for the request letter and a list of supporting documents that are needed.Changes to the original proposal can be introduced both:

1/ during the preparation phase of the Grant Agreement; and2/ during the implementation of the action.

Both types of changes require the ERC Scientific Department's approval.If the change comes after the signature of the grant agreement, usually an amendment is required (cases of amendments are listed in the FP7 Guide for Amendments).

An amendment of the Description of Work (Annex I) is always needed for:

  1. A change in the scientific work or a change in the project's objectives;
  2. The removal/addition of tasks, or substantial changes in the distribution of the work between beneficiaries (in case of multi-beneficiary grants);
  3. The introduction/ removal of third parties and/or subcontractor (exception for subcontracting of minor tasks);
  4. The addition or removal of a beneficiary (including change of host institution).

Other changes require only an information letter, such as requests for sabbatical leaves or a change of authorised representative of the Host Institution. With regard to this last case, a change in the Portal (NEF) is no longer required from the beneficiary; this is done directly by the ERC Amendment Officer. The specimen signature of the new authorised representatives will be included in the template for the request.

Other changes do not require any amendment, such as changes in budget breakdown in between costs categories or in between reporting periods, etc. The Project Officer should be informed.

When in doubt whether an amendment is needed, beneficiaries are encouraged to contact the ERCEA via the amendments functional mailbox: ERC-C2-AMENDMENTS@ec.europa.eu.  

General information about amendments can be found in the Amendment Guide for FP7 Grant Agreements and in the Guide for ERC Grant Holders.    

Q: Under FP7, in the ERC financial reporting, what are "receipts" in Point 2 of the Financial Statement (Form C)?
A:

There are three kind of receipts in the ERC financial reporting under FP7 (Article II.17 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary) and Part 2B, section 1 on Art II.17 of ECGA, in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues):

  • Financial transfers or their equivalent from third parties to the beneficiary;

  • Contributions in kind, free of charge from third parties, if they are specifically to be used for this ERC-project only;

  • Income generated by the project, excluding the cases when it was generated from the use of foreground.

Receipts are to be taken into account at the moment of the final payment (see Part 2B, section 1, on Article II.17 of ECGA (specific mention of Article II.18.3), in the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues).

Beneficiaries must take into account and declare receipts which are established (revenue that has been collected and entered in the accounts), generated or confirmed (revenue that has not yet been collected, but which has been generated or for which the beneficiary has a commitment or written confirmation) at the time of the submission of the last financial statement.

 

Q: Under FP7, what are the financial reporting requirements for an ERC grant and how are they submitted?
A:

In FP7, the financial reports shall be submitted by the Host Institution in consultation with the Principal Investigator. (See the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement, Article II.3.1.b for Single, or Article II.3.bis.1.b for Multi-Beneficiary Grant Agreements.)The financial reports provide the following parts:

- a declaration of honour;

- a description to which extent the objectives have been reached;

- information about how the project has been managed during the reporting period; and

- a chapter on the description of the scientific implementation of the project.

 

The financial reports also contain several annexes:

- Financial Statements;

- a breakdown of direct costs table; and

- a Budget follow-up table.

 

Depending on the amount of the costs claimed (cumulated amounts equal or superior to €375.000) the report also includes a Certificate on Financial Statements.In Proof of Concept Grants, given the shorter length, the project's reports will normally be required only once, at the end of the project. This report will combine the technical and financial aspects in one single document.

Article 4 of the ERC Grant Agreement defines the reporting periods and the language that has to be used for the reports.For submission of the Financial Statements (Form C) of the financial report, it must be distinguished whether grants that do have electronic submission and those that do not have electronic submission:- Grants with electronic submission (those signed from 01/01/2013 onwards plus those which were signed before and that opted-in through an amendment): the Financial Statements need to be introduced via the FORCE application only.- Grants without electronic submission: the Financial Statements need to be introduced via the FORCE application in addition to the paper file that has to be provided to the ERCEA.

 

 

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, how does the verification of the scientific reports take place and what are the possible consequences?
A:

In FP7, the scientific reports are analysed by the ERC scientific department, while the financial reports are analysed by the ERC grant management department, in collaboration with the scientific department.The PI receives an advance notice letter at the end of the reporting period to upload the scientific report and publications with links to the Funding & Tenders Portal; a visual guide on how to create and submit scientific report; and the open access policy.There are four possible consequences resulting from the verification of the mid-term scientific reports by the ERCEA:(i) If the scientific report has been approved without conditions:At the end of the next financial reporting period, the payment will not need any additional scientific requirements (unless new scientific issues arise in the meantime).(ii) If the scientific report has been approved under certain conditions:At the end of the next financial reporting period, the payment will be subject to the fulfilment of the suggested scientific recommendations.(iii) If the scientific report has been rejected (e.g. because of missing publications, or inconsistencies with the current Description of Work) and a revised version of the report had been requested:The payment will be suspended at the forthcoming reporting period, until a satisfactory revised scientific report is submitted and approved by the scientific department.

(iv) If the scientific report has been rejected:The ERCEA may start the procedure for termination of the Grant Agreement. Final reports submitted within the framework of the termination will be due 45 days after the decision on termination became effective.

When evaluating the scientific reports, the ERCEA Scientific Department may require a review by additional experts. In these cases, the time to evaluate the reports and disburse payments can be suspended till the review is satisfactory.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7, in the cases where the Host Institution has given a large contribution without cost charged to the project (lab or equipment), does this need to be documented and reported on?
A:

In FP7, the "Description of Work" should mention that the project team will use the respective facility without claiming any costs.

Q: Under FP7, what is the best practice for communication between the Host Institution, the Principal Investigator and the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA)?
A:

In the context of FP7, all official letters have to be sent to the address defined in Article 8 of the Grant Agreement.During the project implementation phase, the ERCEA can be contacted for any kind of questions related to the project through the functional mailbox ERC-C2@ec.europa.eu , as mentioned in Article 8 of the Grant Agreement.

For financial reports, in case the host institution does not have electronic signature agreement, the financial statement (form C) and the Certificate on Financial Statements (CFS) should be also submitted in paper version.

For questions relating to possible changes to the ERC Grant Agreement or amendments, please contact the ERCEA amendments functional mailbox:ERC-C2-AMENDMENTS@ec.europa.eu

For communicating EU Research & Innovation, a guide for project participants is destined to FP7 funded projects to help to better communicate your projects and results.

For any other questions, the beneficiaries can also contact the ERCEA directly by email through the functional mailbox, in particular for questions related to the management of the grants.

A specific helpdesk exists for question from PIs only:ERCEA-C2-PI-HELPDESK@ec.europa.eu

Q: For FP7 ERC Project what does a Principal Investigator (PI) need to indicate in the publications section in the scientific report?
A:

The box "Open access has been or will be provided?" should be ticked if: 

  • The publisher has provided immediate open access, possibly after payment of an article processing charge (APC); or
  • The publication has been deposited in a repository for scientific publications and open access has been or will be provided through this repository either immediately or after the elapse of an embargo period.

If the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC, then in principle the box should be ticked for all publications related to foreground from the project. In this case, if for some reason open access has not been provided to a publication related to foreground from the project and will not be provided within six months from publication, a justification must be included in the report, explaining the best efforts that have been made to provide open access to the publication, in line with the details explained in section 7.3 of the Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects.

Q: Are changes to ERC projects possible? How are these changes implemented in the Grant Agreement?
A:

Changes to the original proposal can be introduced during the preparation phase of the Grant Agreement and during the implementation of the action. Both types of changes require the ERC Scientific Department's approval. If the change intervenes after the signature of the grant agreement usually an amendment is required (cases of amendments are listed in the FP7 Guide for Amendments).

An amendment of the Description of Work (Annex I) is always needed for: a change in the scientific work or a change in the project's objectives; the removal/addition of tasks or substantial changes in the distribution of the work between beneficiaries (in case of multi-beneficiary grants); the introduction/removal of third parties and/or subcontractor (except for subcontracting of minor tasks); and the addition or removal of a beneficiary (including change of host institution).

Other changes require only an information letter, such as requests for sabbatical leaves and a change of authorised representative of the Host Institution.

Some changes do not require any amendment, such as changes in budget breakdown in between costs categories or in between reporting periods, etc. In this case the Project Officer should be informed.

When in doubt whether an amendment is needed, beneficiaries are encouraged to contact the ERCEA via the amendments functional mailbox: ERC-C2-AMENDMENTS@ec.europa.eu.

Q: Is it possible to extend an ERC Grant under FP7 without receiving further funds?
A:

In exceptional cases, the ERCEA may prolong the duration of a project. An extension may be granted in the following situations:

(1) on well-justified scientific grounds and provided that a high scientific value has been demonstrated in the project implementation;

(2) if the request was caused by events that were not reasonably foreseeable at the point of signing the grant;

(3) in cases of force majeure;

(4) for health reasons of the principal investigator (PI);

(5) in case of parental/maternity leave of the PI in line with the social legislation applicable in the Host country and Host Institution of the PI.

However, late starts or delays of administrative nature (e.g. purchase of equipment, recruitment of staff) are expected to be caught up during the life time of the project.

Only one extension may be accepted for one project. The ERC grant agreements may be extended by a maximum of 12 months, except for 'Proof of Concept' (PoC) grants for which the maximum extension is 6 months. These time limits do not apply in the above-mentioned cases relating to force majeure, health reasons and parental/maternity leave.

A request for extension can be submitted to the ERCEA only after the approval of the mid-term scientific report and no later than 6 months before the end of the project. Retro-active demands for extension will not be accepted. To extend a project, the ERC Grant Agreement has to be amended.

See Article II. 33 and II.35 of the General Conditions to FP7 ERC Grant Agreement.

Q: For ERC projects, are open access fees for monographs eligible costs?
A:

Yes, these costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: For ERC projects, in which cases the question box in the scientific report, with refers to whether a publication has been or will be made open access, should be ticked?
A:

The box "Open access has been or will be provided?" should be ticked if: (1) the publisher has provided immediate open access, possibly after payment of an author publication charge (APC); or (2) the publication has been deposited in a repository for scientific publications and open access has been or will be provided through this repository either immediately or after the elapse of an embargo period.

If the Grant Agreement contains a Special Clause 39 ERC, then in principle the box should be ticked for all publications related to foreground from the project. In this case, if for some reason open access has not been provided to a publication related to foreground from the project and will not be provided within six months from publication, a justification must be included in the report, explaining the best efforts that have been made to provide open access to the publication, in line with the details explained in section 7.3 of the Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects.

Q: For ERC projects, what do the terms 'green open access' and 'gold open access' mean in the context of research publications?
A:

For ERC projects, there are two main routes towards open access to publications, both equally valid:

(1) Self-archiving (also referred to as 'green open access') means that the published article, monograph, book chapter etc. or the final peer-reviewed manuscript is archived (deposited) by the author - or a representative - in an online repository before, alongside or after its publication. Repository software usually allows authors to delay access to the article (embargo period);

(2) Open access publishing (also referred to as 'gold open access') means that open access to an article, monograph, book chapter etc. is provided by the publisher immediately upon publication. This route towards open access often (but not always) requires the payment of an open access fee to the publisher to compensate for lost income from subscriptions or from the purchase of the monograph/book. In the case of journal articles, these fees are usually called APCs (article processing charges).

Q: In order to provide open access to the publications of ERC-funded researchers, is it enough to post them on the project's webpage or on the department's website?
A:

If the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC, posting the publications on the project's webpage or the departments' website is not enough. The Special Clause clearly states that publications must be immediately deposited in a repository for scientific publications and that best efforts must be made to provide open access through this repository. The ERC Open Access Guidelines also state that publications should be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication, with open access being provided as soon as possible.

Q: Are reviews covered by Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access? Are they covered by the ERC Open Access Guidelines?
A:

Special Clause 39 ERC refers to scientific publications related to foreground from the project. Reviews typically provide an overview of developments in a specific area, but do not present the author's own new research results that have not been published elsewhere already. Therefore, reviews will typically not be covered by the Special Clause. However, ERC grantees are encouraged to provide open access also to any reviews that they may publish.

Q: Are monographs, books, book chapters, etc. also covered by Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access? Are they covered by the ERC Open Access Guidelines?
A:

This is explained in detail in section 7.3 of the Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects (e.g. obtaining information about the journal policy on open access, informing the publisher about EU Commission policy on open access; requesting an amending clause to contracts to include open access, consider submitting to another journal, etc.). If it is not possible to deposit the publication in a repository and give it open access within six months, due to longer embargo periods imposed by the publisher, but it is possible to provide immediate open access by paying an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher, grantees are strongly encouraged to choose this second option.

Q: What does the term 'best effort' in Special Clause 39 ERC on Open Access mean?
A:

This is explained in detail in section 7.3 of the Guide to Intellectual Property Rules for FP7 projects (e.g. obtaining information about the journal policy on open access, informing the publisher about EU Commission policy on open access; requesting an amending clause to contracts to include open access, consider submitting to another journal, etc.). If it is not possible to deposit the publication in a repository and give it open access within six months, due to longer embargo periods imposed by the publisher, but it is possible to provide immediate open access by paying an article processing charge (APC) to the publisher, grantees are strongly encouraged to choose this second option.

Q: For ERC projects, is it necessary to provide open access to publications even for the non-main/corresponding author?
A:

If the Grant Agreement contains Special Clause 39 ERC, its provisions apply to all scientific publications related to foreground of the project, regardless whether the ERC funded author (PI or team member) is the main/corresponding author or not. If the Grant Agreement does not contain Special Clause 39 ERC, grantees should nevertheless consider providing open access to all publications resulting from the project on a voluntary basis, regardless whether the ERC funded author (PI or team member) is the main/corresponding author or not, as recommended in the ERC Open Access Guidelines.

Q: For FP7 ERC projects, is it necessary to provide open access to publications that appear after the end of the project?
A:

If the Grant Agreement contains a Special Clause 39 ERC, then its provisions apply also to publications published after the end of the project (without time limitation). If the Grant Agreement does not contain a Special Clause 39 ERC, then grantees should nevertheless consider providing open access to the publications resulting from the project (even after the end of the project) on a voluntary basis, as recommended in the ERC Open Access Guidelines.

Q: Is open access to publications mandatory for all ERC grants in FP7?
A:

For FP7 grants resulting from calls in the Work Programmes 2007-2011, there is no formal obligation to provide open access to publications. However, all grantees are strongly encouraged to comply with the ERC Open Access Guidelines. ERC grants resulting from calls in the 2012 and 2013 Work Programmes will normally contain a Special Clause 39 ERC which requires the immediate deposit of all publications related to foreground from the project in a repository for scientific publications. Best efforts must be made to ensure open access to the publication through this repository within six months from publication (and immediately if the publication has been published "open access", i.e. if it is also available free of charge via the publisher.

Q: If a researcher working for a third party to an ERC project publishes an article based on results of the project, do the open access provisions of Special Clause 39 ERC also apply in this case?
A:

For ERC projects, the Special Clause 39 ERC refers to scientific publications related to foreground from the project (where 'scientific' includes publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities). Whether the researcher who has published the article works directly for the beneficiary or for a third party is irrelevant.

Q: Are costs related to running an institutional open access repository for publications, which will also be used by ERC grantees for the publications from their project, eligible costs (on a pro-rata basis)?
A:

For ERC projects, such costs will normally not be directly attributable to the project and can thus not be claimed as direct costs. However, they may be considered eligible under indirect costs. For more details, please, consult the section on 'Indirect costs' of the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues (Part 2B, section 1 on article II.15 ECGA, sub-section 2).

Q: Concerning research data that have been generated or collected as part of the ERC project, are costs for their deposit in an open access data repository (run by an external organization) eligible?
A:

Yes, these costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project, and provided that they are in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: A former team member of an ERC project has published an article based on their work related to the project and wants to provide immediate open access to it by paying an article processing charge to the publisher. Is this an eligible cost?
A:

Yes, these costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: An ERC funded researcher publishes a paper with a society publisher that offers large discounts on Open Access fees to its members. Are these membership fees eligible costs?
A:

Yes, if the net effect of taking out a membership in the society is a reduction in the cost of the article processing charges (APCs) that is higher than the cost of the membership fee, then the membership fee (for the year concerned) is an eligible cost, provided that it is in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: An ERC researcher wants to publish in a journal which allows 'green open access' with a six months embargo period. In case the researcher chooses instead 'gold open access' resulting in an article processing charge (APC), will this be an eligible cost?
A:

There is no requirement to use 'green open access' rather than 'gold open access'. If an ERC funded researcher opts for 'gold open access' although 'green open access' would be possible within the maximum acceptable delay of six months, costs related to APCs are still eligible, provided that they have been incurred during the lifetime of the project and that they are in line with the general rules for eligibility of direct costs as described in the Grant Agreement (see Article II.14.1.d of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement, Single and Multi-Beneficiary). If 'gold open access' is chosen, the publication must still be deposited in a repository for scientific publications and open access must be provided immediately to that deposited version (no embargo period).

Q: For ERC projects, are costs charged by journal publishers for the provision of immediate open access to publications (article processing charges, APCs) eligible costs?
A:

Yes, these costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the requirements for direct costs as listed in Article II.14 of the General Conditions of the ERC Grant Agreement Single and Multi-Beneficiary.

Q: For ERC projects, if a grant is transferred from one host to another, which organisation is responsible for ensuring open access to publications based on work carried out at the first host institution?
A:

If the Grant Agreement contains a Special Clause 39 ERC, then the initial host institution is responsible for providing open access to those publications that have been published while it was the beneficiary. For any publication after the transfer of host institution, the new host institution is responsible as far as the deposit in a repository and the provision of open access is concerned, irrespective whether the publication is based on work carried out at the old or the new host institution.

Q: For ERC projects, why are the reporting periods for financial (every 18 months) and scientific (every 30 months) reports different and how are they linked?
A:

One of the specificities of the ERC Grant Agreement is the split of the reporting into two distinct sets of reporting periods, in order to diminish the administrative burden on the researchers:

-Scientific reports, usually after half of the project (30 months) and at the end of the project in Starting and Advanced Grants and two intermediate reports (usually every 24 months) and one at the end of the project in Synergy Grants. Scientific reports are submitted by the Principal Investigator on behalf of the Host Institution/beneficiary;

- Financial reports, usually every 18 months and at the end of the project. Financial reports are submitted by the Host Institution with a contribution from the Principal Investigator, as per General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement, Article II.3.1.b for Single or Article II.3.bis.1.b for Multi-beneficiary Grant Agreements.

Two different departments/units in the ERCEA follow the (two) separate reporting streams to independently ensure appropriate work progress, follow-up and monitoring of the project. The templates are sent via advance notice letter 15 days before the end of the reporting period (in order to ensure that the beneficiary uses the latest version available).

If the scientific report has been approved without conditions, the payment will be performed at the end of the next financial reporting period without the need of any additional scientific requirements (if no new scientific issues arise meanwhile). If the scientific report has been approved conditionally, at the end of the next financial reporting period, the payment will be subject to verification that the suggested scientific recommendations have been properly fulfilled in the meantime. If the scientific report has been rejected and a revised version of the report was requested, the payment at the forthcoming financial reporting period will be suspended, until a satisfactory revised scientific report is submitted and approved by the scientific department. If the scientific report has been rejected, the ERCEA may start the procedure for termination of the Grant Agreement.

Final reports submitted within the framework of the termination will be due 45 days after the decision on termination became definitive.

In the evaluation of scientific reports, the ERCEA Scientific Department may require sometimes additional experts review. In these cases the time to evaluate the reports and disburse payments can be suspended till the review is satisfactory.

Q: For ERC projects, how does the Guarantee Fund works?
A:

At the beginning of a ERC projects, 5% of the maximum contribution will be offset from the pre-financing and transferred to the Guarantee Fund as a financial contribution from the beneficiary. The Guarantee fund aims at covering financial risks and specifically non-reimbursement of amounts due by a beneficiary. At the end of a project, the beneficiary usually recovers its full contribution to the Guarantee Fund.

Q: For ERC projects under FP7: Does the open access obligation concern only Principal Investigators or all the participants working on the grant's research?
A:

For ERC projects under FP7, the open access obligation involves all results of the project. Therefore, it also affects all team members working on the project, regardless whether the ERC funded author (Principal Investigator or team member) is the main/corresponding author or not.

Q: For ERC projects (STG-COG-ADG-SYG) granted under FP7, what is the best practice for communication between the Host Institution, the Principal Investigator from an ERC Grant and the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA)?
A:

For ERC projects granted under FP7, communication between the ERCEA and the beneficiary is formalised as follows:

  • Official communication paper letters: have to be sent to the address defined in Article 8 of the Grant Agreement.
  • Projects reports (financial and scientific): have to be sent electronically, via the Funding & Tenders Portal (Articles 4 of the ERC Grant Agreement and II.4 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary).In case your organisation did not opt for the electronic signature of financial statements, the financial statements (signed on paper) must to be sent by post to the address defined in Article 8 of the Grant Agreement.
  • Questions on grant preparation:  can be sent directly to the ERCEA by email through the specific functional mailbox for Starting / Consolidator / Advanced or Synergy Grants.
  • Questions on ERC Grant Agreements or amendments: can be sent through the ERCEA amendments functional mailbox.
  • Other questions on ERC grants (throughout the lifetime of the project): can be sent to the ERCEA PI helpdesk: erc-c2-pi-helpdesk@ec.europa.eu (phone + 32 2 2992465).
  • General questions on FP7: can be sent to the Research Enquiry Service at http://ec.europa.eu/research/enquiries
Q: For European Research Council (ERC) projects -Starting (STG), Consolidator (COG), Advanced (ADG), or Synergy (SYG)- granted under FP7, what are the reporting requirements for an ERC grant?
A:

The ERC Grant Agreement foresees two different reporting streams to cover the financial aspects on the one hand and the scientific aspects of the grant on the other hand. This approach distinguishes ERC projects from standard FP7 projects and intends to make reporting most notably for the Principal Investigator lighter and simpler (Article II.4 of the General Conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi Beneficiary)). Scientific reports are the sole responsibility of the Principal Investigator and are submitted via the Host Institution usually only twice during the lifetime of a project (at mid-term and at the end). Scientific reporting is done via SESAM, which is accessible through the EU Login Funding & Tenders Portal. The financial reports are to be prepared by the Host Institution in consultation with the Principal Investigator. They provide a declaration of honour to which extent the objectives have been reached, information about how the project has been managed during the reporting period, a chapter on the description of the scientific implementation of the project and the following annexes: Financial Statements and breakdown of direct costs. Depending on the amount of the costs claimed (cumulated amounts equal or superior to €375.000) the report also includes a Certificate on Financial Statements.Article 4 of the ERC Grant Agreement defines the reporting periods and the language that has to be used for the reports. One part of the report, the  Financial Statements (Form C), needs to be introduced via the FORCE application in addition to the paper file that has to be provided to the ERCEA. FORCE is accessible through the Funding & Tenders portal. A practical user guide on FORCE can be found here.

Q: What are the reporting requirements for an European Research Council (ERC) Proof of Concept (PoC) grant under FP7?
A:

In the ERC Proof of Concept Grants, given the shorter length, the project report will normally be required only once, at the end of the project. This report will combine the technical and financial aspects in one single document. Article 4 of the ERC Grant Agreement defines the reporting periods and the language that has to be used for the reports. One part of the report, the Financial Statements (Form C), needs to be introduced via the FORCE application in addition to the paper file that has to be provided to the ERCEA. FORCE is accessible through the portal. A practical user guide on FORCE can be found here.

Q: I am preparing communication activities in the sense of Article 38.1.1 of the Grant Agreement: who I need to inform in the European Research Council (ERC) and when?
A:
Before engaging in communication activities expected to have a major media impact, European Research Council (ERC) grantees (beneficiaries/participants) must inform the ERC Executive Agency via their project officers or via the mailbox ERC-PRESS@ec.europa.eu.
Q: Where can I find the European Research Council (ERC) logo and when can I use it?
A:
The European Research Council (ERC) logo and European emblem can be downloaded from the ERC website logos and banners page. The ERC logo can be used by beneficiaries of ERC funding support for the sole purpose of acknowledging that suppport. No explicit permission is necessary to use the ERC logo in this case.
Q: How do the European Research Council (ERC) principal investigator and beneficiaries acknowledge the research funding received from the European Union and the European Research Council (ERC)?
A:

The European Research Council (ERC) Grant agreement provides guidance for grant holders on how to acknowledge ERC funding.In any communication activity, the European Union emblem/flag and ERC logo should be displayed and EU/ERC funding acknowledged.

For projects funded by Horizon 2020:

Three different model statements to acknowledge ERC funding and support are provided in the Model Grant Agreement. In particular, for scientific publications and dissemination activities, including open access, Article 29.4 provides the following text:"This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n° xxxx/".For more information please see Articles 27.3, 28.2, 29.4, 38.1.2 of the ERC Model Grant Agreement for Starting Grants, Consolidator Grants, Advanced Grants (Multi- and Mono-Beneficiary) and for Proof-of-concept (Multi- and Mono-Beneficiary).

For projects funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7):

Two model statements to acknowledge ERC funding and support are provided in the Model Grant Agreement. In particular, a model statement to acknowledge ERC funding in scientific publication and dissemination activities (including open access) is provided in Article II.30:

"The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ ERC gran agreement n° xxxx".

For more information, please see Articles II.3.1.e) and II.3.bis).1.e) respectively, II.12, II.28, II.30 of the General conditions to the ERC Grant Agreement (Single and Multi-Beneficiary) and Articles II.12, II.28 and II.30 of the General Conditions to the ERC CSA Grant Agreement.

 

Q: Are the open access related rules that apply to ERC grantees any different from those that apply to researchers funded under the rest of Horizon 2020?
A:

Indeed, although most of the rules applicable to other researchers funded under Horizon 2020 also apply in the same way to researchers funded by the ERC, there are a number of differences. In particular, in the case of the ERC the open access obligations described in Article 29.2 of the Model Grant Agreement apply not only to articles in scientific journals, but also to long-text publications such as monographs, edited volumes, or book chapters.

An overview of the open access related rules for ERC funded researchers can be found on the ERC website. Note that Article 29.2 of the ERC Model Grant Agreement is slightly different from the corresponding article in the general Horizon 2020 Model Grant Agreement. Details on the application of the article to ERC grants can be found in the ERC specific part of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement.

Q: What are the reporting requirements for ERC research frontier projects granted under H2020 Programme [Starting Grant (StG)/Consolidator Grant (CoG)/Advanced Grant (AdG)/Synergy Grant (SyG)]?
A:

The reporting requirements for an ERC research frontier projects granted under H2020 Programme (Starting Grant / Consolidator Grant / Advanced Grant or Synergy Grant) foresee two different reporting streams to cover the financial aspects, on the one hand, and the scientific aspects of the grant, on the other hand, as described in Article 20 of the ERC Model Grant Agreement. Scientific reports are the sole responsibility of the Principal Investigator and are submitted via the Host Institution usually twice during the lifetime of a project (at mid-term and at the end). The financial reports are prepared by the Host Institution in consultation with the Principal Investigator and must usually be submitted every 18 months; this report must include information on the use of resources and the general implementation of the project (see Article 20.3 of ERC Model Grant Agreement). At the end of a project, the Host Institution will also have to submit a Certificate on Financial Statements for each beneficiary (and linked third party) depending on the amount of the costs claimed (if the entity requests a total contribution of €325 000 or more). Both types of reports (scientific and financial) are prepared and submitted online via the Funding & Tenders Portal.