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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 extend an ERC Grant without receiving further funds?
A:

In the context of FP7 and in exceptional cases, the ERCEA may prolong the duration of a Project.An extension may be granted on well-justified scientific grounds and provided that a high scientific values has been demonstrated in the project implementation or if the request was caused by events that were not reasonably foreseeable at the point of signing the grant. The extension may also be granted in cases of force majeure, health reasons of the Principal Investigator (PI) and parental/maternity leave of the PI in line with the social legislation applicable in the Host country and Host Institution of the PI. 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 is accepted for one project. The ERC grant agreements may be extended by a maximum of 12 months, except for Proof of Concept grants for which the maximum is 6 months.
These conditions do not apply in the above-mentioned cases relating to maternity and parental leaves, health reasons or force majeure. 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. In principle, retro-active demands for extension will not be accepted.
To extend a project, the ERC Grant Agreement has to be amended (Articles II. 33 (Single Beneficiary) and II.35 (Multi-Beneficiary) of the General Conditions to ERC Grant Agreement).

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:
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 (exception for subcontracting of minor tasks);
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, 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: In FP7, is it possible to extend an ERC Grant without receiving further funds?
A:

In the context of FP7 and in exceptional cases, the ERCEA may prolong the duration of a Project.An extension may be granted on well-justified scientific grounds and provided that a high scientific values has been demonstrated in the project implementation or if the request was caused by events that were not reasonably foreseeable at the point of signing the grant. The extension may also be granted in cases of force majeure, health reasons of the Principal Investigator (PI) and parental/maternity leave of the PI in line with the social legislation applicable in the host country and host institution of the PI. 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 is 6 months.
These conditions do not apply in the above-mentioned cases relating to maternity and parental leaves, health reasons or force majeure.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. In principle, retro-active demands for extension will not be accepted.
To extend a project, the ERC Grant Agreement has to be amended (Articles II. 33 (Single Beneficiary) and II.35 (Multi-Beneficiary) of the General Conditions to ERC Grant Agreement).

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).