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Finance Helpdesk Newsletter #24

Upcoming Financial Workshops

FP7 Research for SMEs Budget Calculation leaflet published

FORCE – Form C Web Based Editor for FP6 and FP7

Updated version of FP7 Negotiation Guidance Notes is available now

IAPP and ITN Updates

Some Finance Helpdesk Helpline Questions

 

Upcoming Open Workshops:

Due to requests, the Finance Helpdesk has decided to hold a series of workshops in London. The workshops will be held at the Holiday Inn London Heathrow Airport Hotel http://www.london-heathrow.holiday-inn.com/ to make it easy to fly in and participate.

We advise that you book now to avoid disappointment.

 

23/03/2009        2 Day Marie Curie Financial Workshop in London-Heathrow, UK.

25/03/2009        1 Day FP7 European Research Council (ERC) Workshop in London-Heathrow, UK.

21/04/2009        3 Day in-depth FP7 Financial Workshop in London-Heathrow, UK.

 

FP7 Research for SMEs Budget Calculation leaflet published:

The “Research for SMEs” funding scheme supports small groups of innovative SMEs in solving technological problems and acquiring technological know-how. SMEs subcontract research to RTD performers in order to acquire the necessary technological knowledge. The EU grant is capped at 110% of the price to be invoiced to RTD performers for subcontract work as agreed prior to contract signature.

 

For more information on the budgeting rules for SME measures please view the leaflet here.

 

FORCE – Form C Web Based Editor for FP6 and FP7:

FORCE is used for:

·                The preparation of FP6 and FP7 FORMS C with updated and correct contract/grant information of each beneficiary participating in the project/grant

·                Printing of Forms C

·                Electronic submission of FORMS C to the Commission (signed paper version to be sent afterwards)

·                Correction of Forms C after refusal by Commission

 

Important notes about FORCE:

·          FORCE relies on the contractual information encoded in the contract management system of the Commission

·          The Forms C of new beneficiaries joining a grant agreement will appear in FORCE only when the relevant amendment is signed by the Commission

·          If there are problems with your organisation’s Cost models/indirect costs methods in FORCE, please contact your LEAR.

 

Access to FORCE is via SESAM:

 

1.       The first thing to do is to register as a new user in SESAM/FORCE from http://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sesam and then, you have to request access to a specific project in SESAM/FORCE. ( we note that the site seems to be currently unavailable, we hope this is just a glitch that will be shortly sorted out)

 

2.       The EC project officer then receives an email whereby he is requested to approve your registration to the project - In case of problems or too long delays contact your project officer.

 

3.       Once approved, FORCE will call up automatically the appropriate Forms C for your project, taking into account the instrument/funding scheme and the framework programme (FP6 or FP7) under which your project falls.

 

4.       You are now able to produce, edit, print and submit the Form Cs.

 

Please Note:

·                Only the coordinator should submit Forms C to the Commission

·                When submitting Forms C to the Commission please submit them as a group per reporting period and do not submit each form C individually

·                There can be a ‘Request for Revision’ where you can also view the Comments by the PO within FORCE.

·                Complete Reporting Periods are locked by PO

 

Please use the logout button of FORCE to log out. Closing the application via the web browser will leave the project inaccessible for 30 minutes

 

Updated version of FP7 Negotiation Guidance Notes is available now:

The Commission has published an updated version of FP7 Negotiation Guidance Notes dated 27/01/2009.

 

The Guidance Notes are for FP7 Collaborative Projects, Networks of Excellence, Coordination and Support Actions, Research for the benefit of Specific Groups (in particular SMEs)

 

To download the latest version, please click here.

 

IAPP and ITN Updates:

Updates to Marie Curies IAPP and ITN

 

·          Category E “Contribution to the research/training /transfer of knowledge programme expenses

o         Personnel costs of the host organisation staff are not eligible under this category

o         Equipment may be charged under this category. As per normal FP7 rules equipment depreciation is charged according to normal accounting rules of the organisation and the proportion of time the equipment is used in the project.

·          Reporting

o         For IAPP and ITN, progress reports shall be submitted within 30 days after the first and third year of the project and also 30 days before the Mid-Term Review.

o         For ITN, a periodic report (including Form C and report justifying incurred costs) is required in months 24 and 48.

o         For IAPP, a periodic report (including Form C and report justifying incurred costs) is required in months 24 and 36 for a 3 year project, or months 24 and 48 for a 4 year project.

o         Periodic reports should be submitted to the Commission within 60 days after the last date of the month in which they are due.

 

Some Finance Helpdesk Helpline Questions:

 

Are we allowed to Purchase durable equipment before the start of the project?

The Purchase of durable equipment before the start of the project is an exception which must be discussed with and agreed by the EU project officer before the cost is incurred. The exact purchasing requirements should be discussed with the project officer on a case by case basis. An example of a legitimate reason for buying equipment before the project start date may be in order that customised required equipment is ready for use in the first few months of the project.

 

What is the correct way to calculate hourly rate for personnel cost?

The correct way to calculate hourly rate for personnel cost is to calculate the monthly gross salary plus benefits plus employer’s costs etc., per employee and divide this monthly cost by the employee's average monthly number of productive hours(i.e. excluding sickness, courses, vacations, etc). In our opinion it is better (and far simpler) if the calculation is based on annual rather than monthly figures. The personnel cost for the reporting period is the addition of the monthly productive hours on the project multiplied by the month’s calculated hourly rate.

 

For more information, please download the Finance-Helpdesk paper "How to Calculate Man Months and Man Month Rates" from http://www.finance-helpdesk.org/front/ShowCategory.aspx?ItemID=621

 

In Marie Curie Individual Actions (IEF, IIF, IOF, IRG, ERG), when are audit certificate required to be submitted during a project?

An audit certificate will not be required to be supplied by the Host institution when submitting financial statements (Form Cs) during Marie Curie Individual Actions projects as the total amount of EU funding is always below the 375,000 threshold. However, the European Commission, European court of auditors or their representatives may conduct their own audits up to 5 years after the end of the. Importantly, when an external audit is conducted, the auditor will require to see the researcher's timesheets to ensure that the researcher has spent the required time working on the project.

 

How should Marie Curie IRG/ERG project costs be claimed in FP7?

For projects funded under the Marie Curie 2008 Workprogram, all costs should be reported under Category I "Other types of eligible expenses / specific conditions". The auditor will not check the eligibility of costs reported under category I, but will check that all monies have been spent on the project. No proof (i.e. evidence of costs) needs to be given regarding overhead rates and management. However:

- the maximum reimbursement of cost for management activities is 3% of the EU contribution, and

- for Indirect costs, a flat rate of 10% of the direct eligible costs of the project (personnel costs, travel, consumables etc)  may be charged, excluding direct eligible costs for subcontracting and the cost of resources made available by third parties which are not used on the premises of the beneficiary.

 

As a Marie Curie host institution, do we need to ask our researchers to show us evidence of costs (i.e. invoices or receipts) that they have travelled, before paying them travel allowances?

Marie Curie actions include a cost category B "travel costs", which is a lump sum contribution (allowance) for the benefit of the fellows and which is, as such, not subject to a check that actual costs have occurred, but only that the researchers have received this contribution in full.

 

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