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Generally, 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). Costs must be actual, incurred by the beneficiary and according to the usual accounting and management principles and practices of the beneficiary. They must also be identifiable and verifiable.
For more information, see also the rules of the FP7 Guide to Financial Issues.
In FP7 ERC grants, the following costs are eligible under certain conditions:
- Travel and subsistence allowances:Should the Host Institution use flat rates for the daily subsistence costs, in accordance with the above mentioned rules and if allowed in the respective Work Programme, this should be mentioned in the Description of Work to be considered eligible.
- Meals (lunch/evening) during travels:
If the team member already received a daily allowance for travel expenses from the Host Institution, meals are considered to be covered by this allowance; hence they are not considered eligible.However, if the general practice of the Host Institution is to reimburse costs separately, upon presentation of a receipt, and if costs do not constitute reckless or excessive spending, they can be claimed as direct costs.
- Recruitment of a replacement for a team member on parental leave:
While recruitment costs would generally be covered by the overheads, in the light of ERC's specificity some recruitment costs may be accepted as direct eligible costs if they are: justified, part of the general practice of the Host Institution, clearly attributable to the project, and in line with the general requirements.
- Maintenance and repair of equipment, of failures due to the general usage of the equipment:
Any services or other costs related to certain equipment, such as delivery, handling, installation, maintenance or repair of items that are not covered by separate subcontracts, are part of equipment purchase and can be charged accordingly. In case of a separate subcontract for specific services (after-sales service, maintenance), the general rules for subcontracting apply.
- Purchase of spare parts:
Spare parts are eligible for funding as long as they meet the general eligibility criteria for consumables.
- Payments for patent applications:
Intellectual property activities such as the process of applying for a patent, if complying with all general eligibility requirements are direct eligible costs.
- Travel and other costs for experts and regular visitors: Reimbursement of travel expenses for experts who are not employed by the Host Institution may be considered direct eligible costs to the extent that the general requirements for direct costs are fulfilled and that the participation of these experts/visitors is duly foreseen in the Description of Work.
- Scientific text books:
For these costs to be considered eligible, the link between scientific text books and the ERC project needs to be demonstrated for the purchase of these books. Funding must be used for the sole purpose of achieving the objectives of the project and its expected results, in a manner consistent with the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
- Translation costs:
Translation costs are not the same as publishing costs and should be included under subcontracting if the translation is to be done by an organisation or person external to the beneficiary.If, however, a set of translators is working directly on the core research funded by the project and under direct instructions and supervision of the Principal Investigator, the costs concerned can be considered as personnel costs under the ERC grant.
- Climate compensation fees in addition to travel/ticket cost:
If by climate compensation fee is meant a sort of ecological tax that is identifiable on the invoice, it is not an eligible cost. However, if the payment of this fee is required by an institution to be paid for every plane ride, they can be eligible if:1/ This cost is an airport tax, which is an ecological charge applicable to all the tickets and mandatory under national legislation. It lies in the responsibility of the beneficiary to prove the "non-tax" nature of the "charge"; or2/ If it is included in the overall price and thereof not identifiable, i.e. it is part of the airline ticket.
- Costs charged by journal publishers for the provision of immediate open access to publications (article processing charges - APCs):
These costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the general requirements for all direct costs.
In case the journal tallows 'green open access' with an embargo period of six months, but "gold open access" is chosen resulting in an article processing charge (ACP), the cost is 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.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).
In case there are several authors, there is no requirement to split open access related costs between the authors. If the costs have been incurred during the lifetime of the project and they are in line with the general requirements for direct costs, then they are eligible in full, regardless of the number of co-authors. However, grantees should consider whether it would be appropriate to ask other authors for a contribution to the costs.
If a former team member of an ERC project publishes an article based on his/her work related to the project and wants to provide immediate open access to it by paying an article processing charge to the publisher, this cost can be considered an eligible cost if it incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that it is in line with the general requirements for direct costs.
- Open access fees for monographs:
These costs are eligible if they are incurred during the lifetime of the project and provided that they are in line with the general requirements for direct costs.
- Attendance at Conference Costs:Normally researchers participating in a conference are expected to play an active part, e.g. present a paper or a poster. As well as the usual documents needed to support the costs claimed (purchase orders, invoices and payment (conference, travel and hotel) and evidence of payments), an auditor would expect to see conference registration and conference agenda with names and roles.
As a best practice it is recommended that a small note is produced by the researcher describing his/her role and the link to the project.
- Costs for management of the project:
However, management costs such as administrative, technical or logistical costs are cross-cutting costs for all operations of the beneficiary and cannot be attributed in full to the project. These costs should be covered by the 20% flat rate of indirect costs.
- Membership fees of society publisher:
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 general requirements for direct costs.
- Costs for the deposit of research data in an open access data repository (run by an external organization):
Yes, these costs are eligible if they generated or collected as part of an ERC project and provided that they are in line with the general requirements for direct costs.
- Consumables for people formally not paid by an ERC grant (e.g. undergraduate students) :
They are eligible as long as they can be attributed directly to a project and are identifiable by the Host Institution as such, in accordance with its accounting principles and its general internal rules (i.e. there is a proven track record of each consumed amount).
- Redundancy payments:
Employment-related costs and termination/redundancy payments are considered eligible costs as long as they are in accordance with the usual accounting practice of the beneficiary, are fair and justified and recognised by national law. It is the Host Institution's duty to foresee possible project changes and include corresponding provisions in the (employment) contract. The ERCEA will examine each case individually.
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).
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).