The ambition of the European Commission to simplify participation in the framework programme has resulted in some changes from FP7.
- Public institutions receive full compensation for direct costs and 25 per cent compensation for indirect costs/overhead.
- The evaluation process is streamlined with the intention of reducing the time from application to project initiation to 8 months at maximum.
- Time reports are no longer required for full-time personnel that work whole project periods. HOWEVER, in practice, the requirement of reporting working hours still stands as salary expense estimates are based on the amount of hours in the project.
- A single portal gathers all application and project administration functions: Participant Portal.
In other words, all contract management and reporting within Horizon 2020 is done in the Participant Portal. Therefore, it is important that any involved financial administrators at the department in the question are made Participant contacts for the project as soon as it is approved to ensure that all relevant documents (for instance, current budget) can be accessed. Here is a guide to allocating user roles in the PP.
The document Annotated Model Grant Agreement is an annotated contract template with explanatory examples. It can be used as a guide to what costs are allowed to be booked for the project, among other things. Therefore, it is a very useful document to familiarise oneself with. The document can be found here.
Project codes in Raindance
For every EU project, at least one unique project code must be registered in Raindance. As every cost item in a report must be connected to the correct work package, it may be easier to upload a project number for every work package that UU participates in. As UU is coordinator, it is particularly important to upload a separate project code for the Management WP.
To upload new project codes in Raindance, please fill in the form “bl nr EA22” and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The title must include the acronym of the EU project and WP (if applicable).
All project expenses must be filed under “prestation 220 Bidragsforskning”.
Only costs that have arisen during the contract period are eligible. Therefore, it is important that the project is followed up regularly to ensure that the costs are filed using the correct project code. For periodic reports and the conclusion of the project, costs may also be filed using accrual accounting. Only costs that are filed using the project code may be included in the report!
A flat rate of 25 per cent is applied for indirect costs in Horizon 2020, which means that H2020 projects commonly require joint financing. A form for producing estimates for joint financing, form EA 34, must be filled in and emailed to email@example.com.
The EU grant is paid out to the stated account at various points of the project’s lifespan.
When the first payment is made, it must be matched with a requisition from KDB. The exact sum of a given payment instalment is often difficult to predict, which is why an adjustment of the amounts in KDB must often be done before a requisition can be approved for transferring to Raindance.
When a project is started, an advance payment is made from the European Commission. The sum is determined in the Grant Agreement. It is usually equivalent to 100 per cent of the EU grant for an average report period. The advance payment is not “ours” until we have reported valid costs equivalent to the full sum.
As part of every report (commonly every 12th or 18th month, the exact intervals for each project are stated in the Grant Agreement) all direct costs are extracted from Raindance, indirect costs are added (Flat rate 25 per cent), and the total is converted into EUR.
When the reported costs have been approved by the European Commission, an interim payment equivalent to the total eligible costs multiplied with the established level of funding (100 per cent for H2020) is made. Interim payments are “ours”, which means that even if the project is concluded ahead of schedule, any completed interim payments may be retained.
The interim payments and advance payments taken together can never exceed 85 per cent of the total approved grant before the final payment.
As part of the final reporting period, the European Commission analyses the amount received through advance payments, total reported eligible costs and total interim payments. Following this, depending on to what extent the project budget has been met, the final sum of EUR you are entitled to according to the budget will either be paid out, or part of the advance must be paid back.
Primula salary account codes
All involved personnel are to use the account codes for the project in Primula.
Time reports are not required for full-time personnel working on the project for complete report periods. In those cases, it is sufficient to submit written proof that the individual or individuals have worked full-time on the project for their respective report period. However, the requirement of reporting working hours still stands in practice, as the salary cost estimate is based on the number of hours in the project.
NOTE, however, that time reports are mandatory for any personnel that work less than full-time for complete report periods within the project.
A functioning time report system is required in order to verify personnel costs for individuals that do not work full-time within the project.
Time reports shall be produced for every report period (commonly 12 or 18 months), covering the entirety of the period regardless of the source of funding.
Time reports shall include the total amount of hours per individual, split into various tasks such as EU projects, non-EU projects, assorted research, training, administration, absence, etc.
The provided templates for time reports are to be used.
Travel bills/travel expenses
For EU projects, documentation is required to verify the purpose of travel expenses. Therefore, we ask you to save, for instance, summons, programmes, meeting protocols and such that may be used to verify the purpose of the trip. Travel expenses may arise both from travel bills and supplier invoices.
Please ensure that receipts and other supporting documentation is available for all expenses on travel bills. On every travel bill, the account code in account field 1 should be clearly stated (an image may be printed from Primula res for account codes and the sum per travel bill). Please note that the amount “Preliminary payment after tax” on the travel bill is almost never used for filing the project. This is due to cost benefits and such as well and the fact that the traveller is reimbursed for any Swedish VAT, where the latter is not filed as part of the project. Salary cost details may be viewed to see what sums have been entered into the project per travel bill.
As part of reporting expenses, a form for compiling travel expenses shall be used to sum up the various parts of the total travel cost (airplane ticket from invoice, other costs from the travel bill). Verification numbers or travel bill numbers are to be stated for every cost item to facilitate tracking expenses in the report.
Please note that VAT is not normally an eligible cost in EU projects. For instance, foreign VAT may factor into board and room costs that have been reimbursed through travel bills – in such cases, VAT may not be reported as a project cost. Either the VAT cost can be assigned an account code separately in a different project or entered along with the board and room cost on the EU project (as ‘usual’). The important thing is that the VAT cost is not included in the expenses reported to the EU, at the time of reporting. There is, however, an exception to the rule that VAT is never an eligible cost. VAT that may not be deducted due to national legislation is an eligible cost. This may include, for instance, VAT that has been reported as a cost as part of rental car expenses.
In some cases, hired personnel that has not been given an account code for the project may travel on behalf of the project. As no time report exists for the person in this case, the eligibility of the cost in question must be verified in some other manner. This may include written proof (such as an email) from the project manager that describes the individual’s role in the project and the importance of the trip to the project.
AEU has produced a front endpaper for a project binder. The front endpaper helps structure the project documents required for reporting and archiving. There is also a checklist for reports to help structure the documents that are required for every reporting period. It may be prudent to keep a project binder with contract documents and any email correspondence with the coordinator and/or the European Commission as well as one binder per report period with relevant data for the financial reports.
Any documentation shall be archived for at least 5 years following the final payment. That is the span of time dictated by the contract during which the European Commission may audit the project.