FAQ

Q: From previous participation in EU projects I know that each partner has a certain budget allocated per reporting period and when one declares the costs at the end of each period it is important to be close this allotted budget. Is there an allocation per partner per period also in CoCoNet project?
R: No, we only have given an estimated budget per reporting period but at whole project level
 
Q: Who evaluates the internal report on Progecta?
R: The management support team with the help of the Scientific Coordinator will monitor the financial progress of the project. This report will not be sent to the European Commission but it's really useful to understand the financial status of the project also in order to adopt corrective measures if necessary.
Q: do we take 60% from the direct costs that are actually being paid for out of the COCONET budget, or do we take 60% of the total direct costs including the costs arising from our donation of m/m that are paid from other sources?
R: Overheads are 60% of the direct costs (subcontract excluded if any) .
Direct costs are costs identified as such in the financial declaration that you are going to do.
So if the Personnel costs declared in the financial statement are personnel costs which includes both the labour contracts paid with the funds of Coconet and the labour contracts, entirely or in part, funded by other institutional  funds, you have to calculate the overheads on both, taking also into consideration all other direct costs on which the overheads percentage must be calculated (i.e. travel)
 
Q: Would it be acceptable to COCONET if the partner does not take the full 60% but less or even none? (would have zero effect on the total m/m).
R: No, if the indirect cost model chosen by your institution and confirmed by the european commission during the  PIC validation has been " flat rate 60%" , the European Commission's  IT system does an automatic calculation of 60% on your direct costs.
If you want , also if it's not advisable, you can ask less reimbursement but you cannot declare less indirect costs (overheads)
 
Q: Can a full-time PhD student allocate 100% of her m/m to this project as personal cost?
R: Yes, please bear in mind to register the working time (i.e. time-sheet) and take care that the theme of the doctoral is in line with Coconet .
 
Q: Time sheets. What does it mean " Full name of employee" :
R: full name of the researcher employed for the project. While beneficiary: name of the Institution beneficiary of the grant. Full name of supervisor: Scientific responsible
 
Q: Time sheets. What does it mean "Total annual cost"
R: The yearly cost incurred by your Institute to pay the employee which is working on the project and who is filling the time sheet
 
Q: What about the signature on time sheets? only scanned or sheet by sheet?
R: original signatures per sheet.
 
Q: Have the original signed time sheets to be sent to the Coordinator or to the European Commission?
R: No. Paper version must be kept by you at your premises up to 5 years after the end of the project.
 
Q: As the information given when signing into Progecta says,  the final changes to the DOW have not yet been incorporated so should we still go ahead with our completion or should we wait for these changes to be added?
R:Please go ahead without taking into consideration the warning
 
Q: How do we complete  the section Direct  Costs Personnel  e.g. (what do we write in the box Name) Could you give us a brief explanation for this?
R: As far as the Personnel costs are concerned you have to specify  name/surname/title/position  and WP in which is involved
 
Q :Under Other Direct Costs - we have made three computing purchases : can the total amount spent for computing be inserted and then the items bought listed separately in the Explanation box OR should each piece of computing equipment bought be listed separately with each amount paid? e.g.monitor x Euros, Server x Euros and so on.The same question for travelling - do we list each individual travel for each wp or can we do a lump sum of travel per work package?
R: The level of detail have not to be so specific. You can declare the costs of all pieces of computing equipment, please specify the WP .As far as the travels are concerned I suggest you to detail the travel taking care to specify destination /reason /amount and WP
i.e. computing equipment invoice nr ... €...Wp....
i.e.  Dott. ... participation to General Assembly  on  (date) in Rome (location) WP (Research)....
 
Q: Mr ..... travelled to Italy in January 2013 however the travel payment has not yet been deducted from the account. Should we declare this travel  expense in the report expiring on 31.1.2013?
R: It depends from your accountability. See the handbook where we have explained the difference between accrual and cash accountancy
 
Q: Indirect Costs - 60% of our direct costs is automatically calculated on the projecta tool , could you explain how this works?.
R: You have not to justify the flat rate, it's an automatic calculation based on the indirect cost model chosen
 
Q: In the section Justification of resources per Wp -  what should we fill in here as the directs costs are already explained?
R: here you have to declare the major cost per Wp and any deviation from what planned (if any)
 
Q: If we should transfer some personnel costs from Research activities to Management. Is it possible ?
R: Transfers among categories which don't affect the activities described in the project Dow are allowed . Take into consideration that Research activities are funded less than management and that the total reimbursement for the project cannot be increased.
 
Q: Is it possible to have a description about the meaning of Management and Other Activities:
R:
Other activities:
Scientific coordination of the project cannot be charged under "other activities" (they are
not management). Costs related to project meetings (kick-off, periodic, final) should in
principle be charged under RTD activities, since they are deemed to address
scientific/research aspects of the project.
Examples of what  "Other activities"  contains:
- Dissemination activities (for example the establishment of a website, the presentation of
the project during conferences or workshops, travel costs related to the presentations, the
drafting of a scientific publication including, if applicable, the payment of a fee for its
publication). In principle the cost of drafting the first plan for the use and dissemination of the
foreground would not be eligible since it is a part of the proposal. Only the cost of
updating the plan for use and dissemination of foreground will be eligible. According to the ECGA (Article II.4.2.b), this updated plan will be required at the time of the submission of the final report
- Networking activities (for example the organisation of a specific seminar/meeting in order to network with other projects in the same field); activities aiming at communicating and exchanging information among individuals, groups, etc.. outside the project; project meetings cannot be charged under this activity
- coordination activities (for example the organisation of a meeting or travel for
coordination purposes with other projects in the same field; scientific coordination of the
project cannot be charged under this activity; meetings related to coordination of the
project could be charged under "other costs" in principle by the coordinator of the project
and only if described in the proposal and technical annex as such; this coordination activity would be typical in a CSA or even in a Network of excellence but more rare in a collaborative project. )
- intellectual property activities (for example the filing and prosecution of patent (and other IPR) applications, including patent searches and legal advice or the payment of royalties to a third party for intellectual property rights which are needed to implement the project)
- studies on the socio-economic impact (for example the assessment of the expected socioeconomic impact of the foreground or analysis of the factors that would influence their use)
- reporting on gender issues
- promotion of the exploitation of the project's foreground* (for example feasibility studies
for the creation of spin-offs or "take up" activities regarding the assessment, trial and validation of promising, but not yet established technologies and solutions)
* Remark: Actual commercial exploitation and any concrete preparation thereof (as opposed to the above mentioned feasibility studies or "take up" activities), as well as related activities (e.g. marketing) cannot receive funding.
If complying with all the other requirements for eligibility (Article II.14 of ECGA)
(actual, economic, for the sole purpose of achieving the objectives of the project, etc..)
Management activities are part of "other activities" despite the fact that in form C the activities mentioned under Articles II.2 and Article II.16.5 of ECGA are separated. Management costs may include for example the costs to organise a call or a tender to choose a new beneficiary or subcontractor. Like all costs, in order to be eligible, they must comply with the conditions set out in Article II.14 of ECGA (economy, efficiency, etc.).
"Management tasks" include coordination tasks that have to be performed by the coordinator (Article II.2.3) and tasks beyond those specific coordination tasks of the project that can be performed as well by beneficiaries other than the coordinator (eg. the certificates on financial statements, preparation of financial statements).
A non-exhaustive list of activities is included in Article II.16.5 of ECGA. According to this
article "management of the consortium activities" includes:
− maintenance of the consortium agreement, if it is obligatory,
− the overall legal, ethical, financial and administrative management including, for each
of the beneficiaries, the obtaining of the certificates on the financial statements and on the
methodology and costs relating to financial audits and technical reviews,
− implementation of competitive calls by the consortium for the participation of new
beneficiaries, where required by Annex I of this grant agreement,
− any other management activities foreseen by the annexes, except coordination of
research and technological development activities."
As mentioned therein, management costs can never include what is commonly known as
"scientific coordination", which should be reimbursed at 50% (or 75%) as an RTD
activity. Management of the consortium activities does not include coordination of Research and
technological development activities (RTD); therefore "RTD activities" include "scientific
coordination". Most of the project meetings are scientific meetings and have to be charged as a scientific (RTD) activity.
Examples of scientific coordination could be:
- The scientific coordination and monitoring of subprojects and work-packages
(including the activities as work package leader);
- The supervision of project progress milestones and project global critical path;
- The scientific review of the work performed by the partners including scientific
deliverables and the coordination of internal progress reports;
- Monitoring of progress with work packages, deliverables and milestones and
the work plan, including the verification of the quality, consistency and respect
of deadlines;
- Research risk management;
- The preparation of the scientific part of the reports and deliverables to be
submitted to the EU;
- Conflict resolving relating to technical and organisational issues;
-Preparation by scientific/technical staff of scientific meetings (drawing up the
agenda, the minutes..);
-Activities related to participation in scientific decision making bodies such
executive committees, scientific advisory boards and steering committees
(including travelling related costs).
- Meetings relating to the management and coordination of the project should be charged as
management activities costs,.
Examples of Management activities:
1. Designing and maintaining partner specific templates for collecting input to the
required EU documents;
2. Implementing and maintaining of a project-specific database for reporting and
controlling, including the adaptation of the structure after changes in the workplan
and the consortium;
3. Drafting and maintaining the dissemination and exploitation plan following the EC's
requirements;
4. Preparing and post-processing of EC reviews from the consortium-side including
support in the implementation of recommendations from the EC and reviewers,
5. The administrative tasks involved in the preparation, executing and post-processing of
major project meetings such as Steering Committee meetings, General Assemblies and
meetings with the advisory board (tasks: agendas, invitations, location of meeting
places, organization of rooms and equipment, preparation distribution and archiving
of materials, minutes and action lists);
6. Implementing and maintaining the project infrastructure, e.g., the internal platform
for information exchange and email lists;
7. Handling of legal issues, IPR issues and maintenance of the consortium agreement, if
obligatory;
8. Handling of the project correspondence and the day-to-day requests from partners
and external bodies;
9. Organising a call or a tender to choose a new beneficiary or subcontractor.
5. Training activities are also part of "other activities" – Training activities
should contribute to professional development through advanced training of researchers
and other key staff, research managers, industrial executives, and potential users of the
knowledge generated by the project .
They may cover the salary costs of those providing the training (if in conformity with
Article II.14 of ECGA) but not the salary costs of those being trained as mentioned in
Article II.16.6 of ECGA.
It is important to mention that the funding limits depend not only on the activities but also
on the funding scheme concerned (as shown in the table in Article II.16 of ECGA).
 
Q: What's the definition given by the Ec about Personnel, Subcontracts and Consultants.

R:

Personnel: it must be directly hired by the beneficiary in accordance with corresponding national legislation.

• must work under the beneficiary's responsibility.

• costs should reflect total remuneration: salaries plus social security charges (holiday pay, pension contribution, health insurance, etc.) and other benefits established by law.

• must be remunerated in accordance with the beneficiary's normal practices.

Please see page 9-10 of the Financial Reporting Handbook available on CocoNet website for more details.

 

Subcontracts: When some part of the work cannot be carried out by project partners or when it is more efficient to contract a third party to carry out certain activities; Subcontracts do not concern the research work itself, but tasks or activities needed in order to carry out the research, auxiliary to main object of the project. The subcontracted organization does not have any specific interest in the overall project and therefore will not have access to the project's final results, and will not be able to claim intellectual property rights generated through the

project.

Please see also page 11 of the Financial Reporting Handbook available on CocoNet website for more details

 

Consultants are natural (physical) persons working for one or more beneficiaries in FP7 projects. They may be self employed or may work for a third party. The conditions in which consultants work must be in line with the principles outlined in Article III.14 of the ECGA (economy, efficiency and effectiveness, according to the standards for sound management of public resources). A consultant may work on the beneficiary fs premises or elsewhere, and must work on the basis of a contract and under the beneficiary' s instructions. The results of a consultant s work belong to the beneficiary. The costs of a consultant s work should be similar to the personnel costs of employees in the same category working under a labor law contract for the beneficiary. Costs for a consultant s travel and subsistence for activities related to the project must be paid directly by the beneficiary in order for such costs to be eligible

 

There are three possible ways of classifying the costs of consultants (in any event costs will ONLY be eligible if they fulfil the conditions listed in Article II.14 of ECGA):

They can be considered as personnel costs; regardless of whether the intra-muros consultants are self-employed or employed by a third party, if the following cumulative criteria are fulfilled:

• The beneficiary has a contract to engage a physical/natural person to work for it and some of that work involves tasks to be carried out under the EU/Euratom project,

• The physical person must work under the instructions of the beneficiary (i.e. the work is decided, designed and supervised by the beneficiary),

• The physical person must work in the premises of the beneficiary (except in specific cases where teleworking has been agreed between both parties and provided such a practice is in full compliance with the provisions regarding teleworking and instructions given by the beneficiary as described here above),

• The result of the work belongs to the beneficiary (Article II.26 of ECGA),

• The costs of employing the consultant are not significantly different from the personnel costs of employees of the same category working under labour law contract for the beneficiary,

• The remuneration is based on working hours rather than on the delivering of specific outputs/products and should be recorded in the accounts of the beneficiary,

• Travel and subsistence costs related to such consultants' participation in project meetings or other travel relating to the project would have to be paid directly by the beneficiary in order to be eligible.

 

Costs related to consultants can be considered as subcontracting costs if the beneficiary has to enter into a subcontract to hire these consultants to perform part of the work to be carried out under the project and the conditions set out in the FP7 Grant Agreement, in particular if the provisions of Article II.7 of ECGA relating to subcontracting are fulfilled. In these cases, the beneficiary's control over the work to be performed by the subcontractor is determined by the nature of the subcontract. The subcontractor does not usually work on the premises of the beneficiary and the terms of the work are not so closely carried out under the direct instruction of the beneficiary.

The remuneration of the subcontractor is based on the delivering of specific outputs/products rather than on working hours (even if an estimate of the working hours necessary should be taken into account for the pricing).

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