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Finance Helpdesk Newsletter #23

Upcoming Financial Workshops

Guidance Notes on Audit Certification

Updated FP7 project reporting guidance notes are available now

New Marie Curie Rules for 2009

Some Finance Helpdesk Helpline Questions



Upcoming Open Workshops:


We still have places available for the workshops below. Book now to avoid disappointment.


26/01/2009     1 Day FP7 Contract Negotiation and Project Kick-off Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

27/01/2009     1 Day FP7 Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.
28/01/2009     2 Day Marie Curie Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.

30/01/2009     1 Day FP7 European Research Council (ERC) Workshop **NEW**

17/02/2009     3 Day in-depth FP7 Financial Workshop in Brussels, Belgium.



Updated Guidance Notes on Audit Certification:

In case you missed it, on 27.11.2008 the Commission published an updated version of Guidance Notes on Audit Certification.

The updated document can be downloaded from here.


Updated FP7 project reporting guidance notes are available now:
In case you missed it, on 10.11.2008 the Commission published an updated version of FP7 project reporting guidance notes.

The updated document can be downloaded from here.


New Marie Curie Rules for 2009:

There have been some updates / changes for Marie Curie projects for 2009 Calls.

A selection of Marie Curie actions are mentioned below and any new rules are highlighted


New: 2009 Workprogram funding rates for researcher living allowances are:


Experience of Researcher

Living Allowance € (2009)

Stipend € (2009)

Living Allowance € (2008)

Stipend € (2008)

Early-Stage researchers

(0 – 4 Years)






Experienced researchers

(4 – 10 Years)






Experienced researchers

(10+ Years)      







a) IRSES (International Research Staff Exchange Scheme)

·          Staff-Exchange Program for period of 24-48 months for Public or private non-profit bodies which carry out research

·          Minimum of 2 organisations from member states of associated states and one organisation from a third country which has an S&T agreement with the EU or countries covered by the European Neighbourhood policy

·          New: The grant agreement will be concluded with each of the participants located in the Member States or Associated Countries, who will sign the grant agreement while the other members of the partnership (i.e. organisations from third countries) are defined as partner organisations and sign a “partnership” agreement.

·          Deadline for proposals March 2009



·          Participants submit multi-annual proposals for programs to be co-funded. These programs will address at least one type of transnational mobility (Outgoing mobility, Incoming mobility, Reintegration).

·          Funding typically for 1-2 year Fellowships for experienced researchers only

·          EU Co-funds a fixed percentage of 40% of the full trans-national fellowship costs of eligible experienced researchers

·          Average EU contribution 1- 2 million Euro; limit of 5M Euro for single applicant organisation

·          Deadline for proposals February 2009


c) IAPP (Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways)

         New: In 2008 workprogram the following changes are made to funding Categories E and F

         No costs eligible under Category F “Contribution to the organisation of international conferences, workshops and events”.

         Costs that were claimed under category F in the 2008 WP, are now included in Category E “Contribution to the research/training /transfer of knowledge programme expenses”

         In the 2009 Work program , Category E costs are calculated as 1,200 Euro per person month


d) Individual Fellowships (IIF, IEF, IOF)

·          New: In 2009 workprogram, management costs and overheads are replaced by a fixed contribution of 700 EUR per researcher month

·          Country correction factor applied

·          Total amount of contribution cannot exceed 20% of total direct costs excluding sub-contracting and resources made available by third parties not used on premises of Beneficiary

·          This means costs in all categories are fixed amount/flat-rate, and therefore no CFS is required


Some Finance Helpdesk Helpline Questions:


Question 1: In an FP7 project is it possible to transfer the budget cost allocated from personnel to purchasing of materials?

Answer 1: In an FP7 Project, as long as all the work has been done according to the Description of Work, and as long as the consortium has enough eligible costs to cover the requested funding, the reallocation of work and funding between partners is at the discretion of the Consortium according to the Consortium agreement (apart from Subcontracting and the double charging of Third Parties).


Question 2:  Is it possible for an SME that was using the FC cost model in FP6 to switch to a flat rate for FP7?

Answer 2: Any Organisation has the option to go for the 20% flat-rate in FP7.

One of the criteria for the 60% transition flat rate is that the Organisation is unable to allocate indirect costs per project.

The SME in the question was able to do this in FP6 and would have to demonstrate to the Commission that they were now unable to do it – this is unlikely.


Question 3: Can we charge for a researcher’s sick leave?

Answer 3: Although the hours of sickness are not chargeable time to the project, the cost of sick pay is part of the employer’s costs.  The financial guidelines state:


“Only the costs of the actual hours worked by the persons directly carrying out work under the project may be charged. Working time is the total number of hours worked, excluding holidays, personal time, sick leave, or other allowances”


The example given of annual hours is as follows:


“Total days in a year 365

Weekends -104

Annual holidays -21

Statutory holidays -15

Illness/Others -15

Workable days in a year 210”

Therefore average workable (productive) hours in a year (based on 8 hours per day) = 1,680

An example of the actual hourly rate calculation based on the employer’s costs (on an annual basis) may be:

Gross salary

60,000 (including sick, vacation etc payments)

National insurance


Pension costs


Car expenses – part of salary package and taxable


Total employer’s costs


Total annual hours – 5 days per week at 8 hours per day


Vacation hours – statutory and other (not taken full entitlement in year)


Sickness hours – not full “entailment” for year


Own time/courses - hours


Net actual annual productive hours


Hourly rate 77,000/1,736



If a researcher is ill during the time that he is working on an FP7 project, then the researcher should be paid according to the terms of his/her employment contract*. These costs are eligible to the project, but the hours are not. If sick days are paid at a reduced amount or not paid by employer, the hours are still not chargeable to annual productive time to calculate the rate per hour and the gross salary is reduced for any non-paid time (whether sickness or unpaid vacation etc.) In the end the total productive hours and project hours must be based on actual hours worked not theoretical average hours (but note that average rates per hour can be used by classification of type of personnel – see CoM)


Of course, it is still the responsibility of the Beneficiary to ensure that their technical work in the project is properly completed.


*Please ensure that the eligible cost criterion of economic is not compromised. I.e. After a point, it will be more economic for the project to hire someone else.


Question 4: We are looking for an auditor for "Certificate on the methodology". Where can I get more information about qualified auditors which can carry out statutory audits?

Answer 4: The Finance Helpdesk cannot recommend specific Auditors; however, we do hold a list of Auditors that have demonstrated to the Finance Helpdesk experience of the Framework Program by having submitted at least 2 audit certificates for two different projects.

The List can be found http://www.finance-helpdesk.org/front/ShowCategory.aspx?CatId=52




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