Horizon 2020 Training Day for Administrative Contacts
Eligibility of Costs in the Horizon 2020 funded EUROfusion project
The correct use and handling of eligibility rules for costs in Horizon 2020 funded projects has proven to be quite challenging. In addition to this, EUROfusion has its internal set of funding rules – a living document undergoing continuous adjustments in the course of the project. An in-depth knowledge of the financial requirements for Horizon 2020 funded projects helps to minimise financial risks. A good understanding of how to match those rules with the internal ones alleviates the overall reporting burden.
With this in mind, the EUROfusion Coordinator, the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, decided to hold a whole day training session aiming at a structured and systematic introduction to the Horizon 2020 eligibility rules and a couple of related topics.
Over the course of three days, Dr. Josef Schweinzer, Administrative Director of the IPP, welcomed 57 training participants from 32 European partner institutes to the face-to-face sessions, which were organised and led by Melanie John from the EUROfusion Coordinator Unit. Presentations were also given by Michael Erdmann, Head of the IPP’s Third Party Funding Department, and Ecaterina-Anca Stamate from the European Commission’s Legal Services.
- Forms of costs and general eligibility conditions,
- Direct costs of personnel,
- Subcontractors and other third party support,
- Other direct costs – Travel, Equipment, Other goods and services,
The afternoon sessions dealt with (slides to download):
- Costs of mobility of personnel,
- Documentation requirements and
- related topics like public procurement and additional remuneration, the reporting tool SyGMa, matching internal and Horizon 2020 funding categories, information on payment and audit requirements.
All participants seemed to agree that the topics were well chosen and presented. The implementation of practical examples was considered very useful in explaining some of the more complex issues, like those relating to the application of travel and mobility costs. The speakers had a detailed knowledge of the subject area being covered and were always ready to take questions and discuss problems encountered by the participants.
Feedback from the meetings showed that some beneficiary members would find it useful to meet on a regular basis to discuss new developments. This is being considered and workshops may be run for specific ‘problem areas’. It was also suggested that it might be useful to set up a helpdesk. As this would require additional staffing and ultimately more funding, it is hoped that the following measures will help to resolve any outstanding issues: A series of fact sheets will be made available for download in mid December on the EUROfusion website and an additional set of workshops related to reporting procedures and internal funding rules is scheduled for early 2016.
The training was certainly very intensive and, of course, the next reporting phase will demonstrate how much the beneficiaries really gained from the sessions and whether they can put what they have learnt into practice. However, all participants valued the experience and appreciated the chance to meet colleagues from other institutes. Hopefully everyone took something positive and useful away from the meetings.
The staff in the Coordinator and Programme Management Units are always on hand to answer any questions and welcome your feedback and suggestions on how administrative procedures can be simplified and improved.
(authors: Lucy Scoones and Melanie John)