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EUA Newsletter 10   11 May 2012

EUA promotes full costing in Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

EUA presented its input statement on the proposed Rules for Participation in Horizon 2020 at the EUIMA Project Final Event on “Horizon 2020 and the modernisation of European universities – Dialogue with European policy makers” that took place on 10 May in Brussels.

 

The event brought together around 100 participants including representatives from the university sector, the EU institutions as well as other stakeholders in research and innovation from Brussels and across Europe. A panel debate concluded the event with a valuable dialogue on this important topic held between Wolfgang Burtscher (Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation), Francien Heijs (Science Counsellor, Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the EU), Maria da Graça Carvalho (MEP, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy), John Goddard (former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University, UK) and the participants.

 

In its statement EUA outlines a series of recommendations with regard to the Rules for Participation that have been put forward by the European Commission (EC) in its current proposal for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon 2020) that will run from 2014 to 2020.

 

Together with a group of expert practitioners from 21 universities with different profiles and from different national contexts, and drawing on evidence gathered from its projects, EUA has carried out a thorough assessment of the proposed rules.

 

EUA welcomes the fact that the proposal foresees 100% reimbursement of direct costs, since this is an important element in fostering funding on a full cost basis and supports the financial sustainability of universities. It also recognises the EC’s intention to simplify the funding rules of the programme and its aim to achieve a better balance between control and trust.

 

However, the analysis carried out by EUA has shown that the EC proposal for a single reimbursement rate (100% of direct costs and a flat rate of 20% for indirect costs or 70% / 20% depending on the type of project), does not achieve the necessary balance between reducing complexity and responding to the real needs of different actors.

 

EUA's calculations show that a 20% flat rate is too low and does not sufficiently cover the actual indirect project costs. Therefore, EUA believes a single reimbursement rate with a 20% flat rate for indirect costs would discourage universities that have already implemented full costing and would hinder the further development of full costing methodologies and therefore also be to the detriment of greater transparency of public spending.

 

“Real simplification is not achieved through a single flat rate”, the EUA statement highlights, but, for example, through the acceptance – in practice – of nationally recognised and usual accounting and management practices (which has not been the case under the 7th Framework Programme). Also crucial are a clear definition of ineligible costs, improved clarity in terminology, removal of inconsistencies and avoidance of recourse to additional criteria in subsequent regulation, and finally the improvement in management and control processes.

 

EUA’s recommendations highlight that declaration of the full costs incurred should be the general rule for those universities and other actors who are able to identify their costs through an appropriate costing methodology, as this will foster transparency and accountability of public spending. However, those universities that are not able to identify their indirect costs should be granted a flat rate high enough to cover their indirect costs. A 100% / 40% model would provide an acceptable level of reimbursement while also giving an incentive for the further development of full costing methodologies.

 

EUA will now take forward the discussion on the future of EU research funding at its first Funding Forum that will be held from 11 to 12 June 2012 in Salzburg, Austria. To find out more about the Forum, please see the event website. Registrations are open until 24 May.

 

More information about this week’s EUIMA (European Universities Implementing their Modernisation Agenda) Project Final Event on “Horizon 2020 and the modernisation of European universities” is available here. Presentations from the event will be posted shortly.

 

The EUIMA project is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) through a Support Action within the 2009 Capacities – Science in Society Programme.

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Next Newsletter: 25 May 2012

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