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Universities welcome FP7 decision on indirect research costs but call for further simplification of procedures

29 June 2009

EUA welcomes the European Commission’s announcement that it will maintain the 60% flat rate for the recovery of indirect costs for universities participating in the 7th Framework Programme (FP7).

The flat rate, which higher education institutions can apply for, will now be applicable for the whole duration of 7th Framework programme which runs until 2013.

There had been signs in the run up to the mid-term review of FP7 that the Commission would seek to significantly reduce the flat rate recovery for FP7. EUA has lobbied on behalf of its member universities, together with other public research organizations, to maintain the current flat rate for universities across Europe, arguing that any reduction would be premature and could threaten the financial sustainability of universities.

EUA notes therefore that the Commission’s decision reflects the findings and recommendations of the recent EUA report “Financially sustainable universities: towards full costing in European universities” which called on the European policy-makers to maintain the flat rate recovery of indirect costs under FP7. The report provided evidence-based arguments to underline the importance for Europe’s universities to move towards full costing of all their activities and equally the key role European funding programmes such as FP7 could play as drivers in this process.

In welcoming the flat rate decision, EUA believes that it is vital for the Commission to continue to simplify the procedural rules of the 7th Framework Programme (and all other European funding schemes) to increase flexibility in taking into account the diversity of Europe’s universities and avoid placing excessive administrative burdens on them, in particular in terms of the financial and reporting procedures.

EUA is also calling on the Commission to apply this flat rate to funding through its Joint technology initiatives (JTI). In the first JTI (the Innovative Medicines Initiative) the Commission announced that universities could only claim 20% indirect costs (rather than adopt the FP7 rules of participation), a move opposed by EUA.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96