March 2017 news in brief by the Coordinator Unit

Once more the EC issued a new Model Grant Agreement. MGA Version 4.0 is based on Commission Decision C(2017) 2017 and was released on 27/02/2017. To avoid unnecessary confusion, here a brief overview of the current status of agreements, amendments and introduced changes:

***Grant Agreement 633053 – EUROfusion, 12/09/2014***

  • valid (and only!) contractual basis for implementation of EUROfusion project
  • so far four signed amendments: AMD-633053-9, 28/07/2015 – AMD-633053-139, 15/09/2015 – AMD-633053-141, 18/12/2015 – AMD-633053-384, 21/12/2016
  • one amendment initiated by the EC pending since January 2017 due to technical problems

***Revised MGA V 3.0, Commission Decision C(2016) 4568, 20/07/2016***

  • mostly clarifications and corrections but also new rules in favour of beneficiaries which can be applied retroactively, e. g.
  • flexible budget transfers between beneficiaries, budget categories and cost forms
  • personnel costs: calculation of ‚hourly rate‘ also per month

***Revised MGA V 4.0, Commission Decision C(2017) 2070, 27/02/2017***

  • mostly clarifications and corrections but also new rules in favour of beneficiaries which can be applied retroactively, e. g.
  • internally invoiced goods and services (‚unit costs‘)
  • costs for a „person (that) works under conditions similar to those of an employee“ („Assegni di Ricerca“ costs can be declared retroactively as personnel costs)

In short, the contractual basis for the implementation of EUROfusion is still the very same Grant Agreement 633053. However, with the introduction of new Model Grant Agreements (versions 3.0 and 4.0) came a couple of new rules in favour of the beneficiaries that can be applied retroactively, and the Commission/Agency will accept this. Furthermore the new MGAs clarifies “old” rules and corrects clerical errors. As the clarifications and corrections do not change the provisions of the grant agreement they will be applied retroactively too.

An overview of all changes relevant to EUROfusion can be downloaded here.

February 2017 news in brief by the Coordinator Unit

*** IFS – Internal Financial Statement – submitted! At the end of January 2017 the Coordinator submitted the IFS template foreseen to collect costs for reporting period 3 of EUROfusion. Similar to last year, the file is organised in two worksheets. Costs incurred in 2016 and possibly required corrections for the previous reporting periods shall be reported in tab “InternalFinancialStatement2016″. The second tab named “Summary of costs reported” contains a Pivot table that you can be used to sum up reported costs per cost category and reporting period for easy transfer into SyGMa. The internal deadline for submission of the completed IFS is the 1st of April 2017. ***

EUROfusion Funding System

*** The Coordinator updated the Horizon 2020 Fact Sheets which provide an overview of the different Horizon 2020 cost categories relevant for the EUROfusion project and inform about general and specific conditions for costs to be eligible. The updated documents can be found here. ***

*** In order to avoid negative interest on EUROfusion funds the Coordinator (MPG) recently opened a separate bank account. ***

*** The consorium requested amendment (amendment #4, see October news below) to the EUROfusion Grant Agreement was signed by the EC on 21/12/2016 and entered into force on that very same day. The EC requested amendment (amendment #5) was submitted by the EC 10/01/2017 via SyGMa. However, due to technical difficulties it is still pending. ***

*** The next EUROfusion General Assembly meeting will take place on the 11th and 12th of April 2017 in Carderache, France. ***

December 2016 news in brief by the Coordinator Unit

*** On 25/11/2016 the European Commission released a revised version of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement. Amongst others it provides annotations on new provisions and corrections introduced with the amendment of the model grant agreement. ***

*** The consorium requested amendment (see October news below) to the EUROfusion Grant Agreement was submitted 30/11/2016 via SyGMa. However, due to technical difficulties it cannot be signed and is therefore still pending. ***

*** The next EUROfusion General Assembly meeting will take place on the 15th and 16th of December 2016, Thursday (13:00-18:30) Friday (8:30 -13:00), in Madrid, Spain. Topics to be covered by the Coordinator are:

  • Amendments to the EUROfusion Grant Agreement,
  • New Annotated Model Grant Agreement,
  • FUSEnet involvement,
  • Proposal: Financial Risk Mitigation,
  • Negative interest on EUROfusion bank account. ***

October 2016 news by the Coordinator Unit

At present, the EUROfusion Coordinator Unit deals with two envisaged amendments to the Grant Agreement:

  • The first amendment, a consortium requested one, was launched on 20/10/2016 to update Annex 1b (beneficiaries, subcontracting, linked third parties, in-kind contributions). In addition, we are aiming at collecting information needed for preparation of Annex 7 (Annual Work Plan 2017). All administrative contact persons (ACPs) are requested to provide the information needed as they are a basic prerequisite for the eligibility of costs. Submission deadline is the 31st of October.
  • A second amendment to the EUROfusion Grant Agreement will then be requested by the European Commission to update Annex 2a (additional information on the use of unit costs for the mobility of personnel) and to increase the budget by 16 million Euro.

grant-agreementFurthermore, the EC revised the Model Grant Agreement. MGA Version 3.0 is based on Commission Decision C(2016) 4568 and was released on 20/07/2016. It introduces new rules, clarifies old ones and corrects mistakes. An in-depth examination revealed that new rules in favour of the EUROfusion beneficiaries can be applied instantaneously and retrospectively. All other new rules (i. e. those not explicitely in favour of the beneficiaries) only apply to grant agreements concluded after the Commission Decision C(2016) 4568, which means they do not apply to the EUROfusion Grant Agrement.

In order to ensure that all beneficiaries become aware of the introduced changes and possible implications, the coordinator offers to conduct two ACP discussion rounds via video conference, the first one on the 28th of October and the second on the 8th of November, both at 10 am CET. Connecting details will be submitted via email in due time.

To make the video conferences worthwhile, two additional topics will be dealt with: IPP’s audit on the 2014 EUROfusion financial statement carried out by the Common Audit Service for Horizon 2020 (procedure, lessons learned, impact on EUROfusion) and updated information on the EC’s payment scheme (pre-financing, interim and balance payment).

The objective is to enhance awareness of the importance of a sound understanding of the H2020 eligibility rules (minimise financial risks, maximise EU funding) and to enable all ACPs to advise their Heads of Research Units on the envisaged amendment related to the changes of the MGA as this topic will very likely be put on the agenda of the next General Assembly meeting.