On 28 February 2017, EUA took part in a meeting organised by EU Commissioner for Research Carlos Moedas on “Performance and further simplification” of the Horizon 2020 Programme.
In an opening speech, Moedas outlined steps taken by the European Commission to simplify EU research funding and introduced a “second wave” of simplification for the second half of the programme’s lifetime (2018-2020). The new proposals are based on the outcomes of a Commission consultation and include a revised Model Grant Agreement that provides a new definition of the so-called “additional remuneration” mechanism originally designed to reduce pay gaps between researchers across Europe. Internal invoicing was also a contentious point, for which the Commission now accepts the beneficiary’s own accounting practices. Moedas also introduced “lump sums” which are meant to be simpler to manage and focus on achievement of project milestones.
EUA participated in a panel reflecting stakeholders’ views, alongside the European Court of Auditors and the European Parliament, and brought forward the outcomes of its own large-scale membership consultation on the mid-term review, to support the following points:
- Simplification must benefit the beneficiaries;
- Accepting nationally-recognised management and accounting practices is the most important step towards effective simplification;
- Measures presented on additional remuneration cannot alone address the challenges involved in widening participation;
- Financial instruments must be designed in full recognition of the specificities of research work (and therefore not be result-based).
In addition, EUA argued for significant additional resources for the programme, highlighting that this is the only viable option to enhance the performance of EU research funding. The average success rates remain too low; to keep the programme attractive and to maximise the impact on European society, it is crucial to fund excellent proposals, thus also reducing the waste of ideas and resources.
EUA will continue to actively take part in the discussions to contribute to shaping the future of EU research funding and advocate for ambitious funding for Europe’s research community.
A video of the event
is available for those interested in hearing the full discussion.