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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: Under FP7, is it possible to reduce the duration of the project in order to allow the Principal Investigator to apply for another ERC Grant?
A:

In the context of FP7 and according to the Ideas Work Programme 2013, a Principal Investigator may hold only one frontier research grant from the ERC at any one time. In particular, a PI may not submit a proposal for another ERC frontier research grant, unless the existing project ends no more than two years after the call deadline.

A request for a reduction of the duration of the project entails the following consequences:

  • Once a project's duration was reduced, it cannot be extended afterwards (even in case of failure in the application/evaluation process), unless force majeure, maternity or parental leave;
  • A request for the reduction of the duration of a project has to be approved by the Scientific Department. It will evaluate if the goals of the project can be reached in a shorter time;
  • Shortening of the project duration might trigger a reduction of the maximum Union contribution.

Nevertheless, it is possible that an ERC grantee (Starting/Consolidator/Advanced/Synergy Grant) also holds a Proof of Concept Grant.

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 Participant 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 Participant 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: Do Principal Investigators (PIs) need to have a PhD degree to apply to an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call for proposals?
A:

The ERC Synergy Grant (SyG) funding scheme imposes very little eligibility constraints on applicants. A PhD degree is not formally required. However, please be aware that this is an extremely competitive call.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call and eligibility requirements is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: For an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG), should the core of the research be organised in the corresponding Host Institution?
A:

There are no specific constraints in this respect. The corresponding Host Institution is the one hosting the corresponding Principal Investigator (PI). As this PI is the 'primus inter pares' for the project as is the main administrative contact. The Principal Investigators are considered equal regardless of their Host Institution.

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.

Q: For an ERC Synergy Grant (ERC-2019-SyG) call for proposals, should all Host Institutions involved submit a support letter?
A:

No, only a support letter from the corresponding Host Institution (HI) is required at the time of submission, i.e. from the institution hosting the corresponding Principal Investigator (PI).

Grants are awarded to the Host Institution with the explicit commitment that this institution offers appropriate conditions for the Principal Investigator(s) to independently manage the ERC funded research.

In case of Synergy Grants, where different Principal Investigators are hosted by more than one HI, each of the HIs shall offer their support to the PIs hosted by them for at least the duration of the grant. At submission stage, however, only the corresponding HI must provide the host support letter for the corresponding Principal Investigator.

The conditions offered by the Host Institutions, including the 'portability' of the grant, are the subject of a supplementary agreement between the Principal Investigator(s) and their respective Host Institution(s).

More information about the ERC-2019-SYG Grant Call is available in the ERC Work Programme 2019 and Information for Applicants to the Synergy Grant 2019 Call.