They did it! I cannot believe it and nevertheless, it is true, black on white. A first attempt to really simplify participation in H2020 R&I projects. If continued in FP9, this would be a genuine game changer that guarantees (for the first time) inclusion and opportunities for all!
I mentioned it in the previous article but it might have been overlooked in the text: The last series of calls run lump sum pilots in 2 action lines (ok, not much, but “con algo hay que empezar”, as my first Spanish sentence said – we need to start with something).
Why a “lump sum project”? The Lump Sum Fact Sheet gives explanations: Funding based on reimbursement of incurred costs requires extensive financial reporting and is prone to error. Lump sum funding on the other hand provides considerable simplification potential. It will remove all obligations on cost reporting, and remove the need for timesheets and for financial ex-post audits on costs incurred – removing a big part of the administrative burden on beneficiaries.
How would it work? The two pilots test two different options.
Option 1: The lump sum per project is fixed by the EC: Proposals describe the efforts and resources that the applicants commit to mobilise for the pre-defined lump sum amount. Applicants must also provide the proposed split of the lump sum per work package and per beneficiary. Proposal evaluation – and competition between proposals – ensures that an appropriate level of resources is committed. It will be tested in “Digital ‘plug and produce’ on-line equipment platforms for manufacturing” (IA) within the NMBP part of the work programme.
Option 2: Applicants propose a lump sum based on a detailed estimation of costs. This will be tested in “New anti-infective agents for prevention or treatment of neglected infectious diseases” (RIA) within the Health part of the work programme.
Why should EVERYBODY encourage the introduction of lumps sum projects in R&I EU programmes?
Did you read the most recent Annotated Model Grant Agreement? No? I do not blame you, it has 750 pages to explain the “simplified” procedures of ALL H2020 possible projects. Until you find out which do and which do not apply to your case, your project has probably ended. SMEs or start-ups may have a tough wake-up call when an Audit knocks at their doors and they see their personnel costs rejected as “ineligible” (I know about such cases). Ah, you say, I can always apply the lump sum rate for SME owners. Yes indeed, you can, but do you want to? The sum is fixed by the EC at a monthly EUR 4650 for 143 hrs for Belgium as 100% (or an hourly rate of EUR 32.5). This sum is then multiplied by a country coefficient, also given by the EC. This coefficient differs from 68.3% (Romania) to lucky UK with 120.3%. If you deduct from these amounts taxes and social security, you wonder why you should bother…
Check out the Lump Sum Fact Sheet for the beauty of the scheme.
If you are interested in a Joint Declaration to congratulate the European Commission for this idea, please contact me, I am happy to provide a text.