28.10.2007 - Bulletin No:13
We are also pleased to announce the first open Finance Helpdesk Workshop in
All IP and NoE Consortia passing all thresh-holds are invited to a hearing before the panel that consists of all the experts involved in the evaluation and not just those evaluating a single proposal. Hearings are held per topic with 2-3 week notice at most. However the timetable is normally included in the call documentation so it should not come as a surprise.
Each consortium is sent a list of questions common to all plus some specific to that proposal. In some cases only specific questions are sent. Attendance at the hearing is normally limited to four per proposal.
Usually each consortium is permitted 12 overhead slides. The panel is allowed to ask supplemental questions via the panel chairman. This is to protect the identity of the actual proposal evaluators and to ensure that they are not asking a question unrelated to the preset questions as no new topics can be opened in case the consortium does not have the correct people present.
Overall the Hearing is normally limited to 60 or 90 minutes. First half could be used by the consortium to briefly provide an overview of the proposal and then to provide specific answers to the preset questions. Remember to leave adequate time for supplemental questions.
It is an extremely artificial environment. The panel are instructed not to fraternise before or after with the proposers and also are forbidden to provide feedback during the hearing. So be prepared for it.
There are two specific rules that are spelt out both to the panel and to the proposers in the invitation letter. However the meaning is somewhat obscure in the letter. These two rules are: answers cannot material change the proposal as submitted and no topics uncovered by the questions can be raised.
It is probably best to have the proposed project manager formally present both an overview of the complete proposal and the specific answers (assuming he is a competent presenter).
Have the others answer follow-on questions or complement individual points.
Produce detailed slides to give as handouts using twelve full pages. It is always possible to use overlays to simplify the presentation without reducing the detail on the handouts. Make sure you bring sufficient full size printed handouts for the entire panel.
You can distribute additional information such as letters of support or review results as long as you collect them at the end. Remember to be professional and confident.
Grant Agreement Negotiations:
The first negotiations in a new Framework Program are always a learning process as much for the Project Officer as for you. There are many issues that are still very much up in the air - The 60% overhead level for SMEs being a classic point. We have heard from various Project Officers and Heads of Unit that they themselves do not know whether the 60% is allowed or not and are conducting the negotiations as they see fit.
We are conducting a 1 Day FP7 Contract Negotiation and Project Kick-off Workshop in
The Workshop will cover:
· Differences between FP6 and FP7
· Negotiations with the Commission
· Negotiation on Annex 1
· Grant Preparation Forms
· Technical Collective Responsibility
· Financial Viability and Capability of the Coordinator
· Unique Registration Facility
· Consortium Agreement
· Consortium Check-list
· Distribution of the effort and funding between the partners
· Negotiations between Partners
· Role of the Coordinator
· Project Initiation
· Cash flow during a typical project
· Kick-off Meeting
These guidance notes are aimed at assisting participants who are invited for project negotiation following the evaluation of their proposal. It outlines the information and procedures in the negotiation process. It is provided for information purposes only and its contents are not intended to replace consultation of any applicable legal sources or the necessary advice of a legal expert, where appropriate. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on its behalf can be held responsible for the use made of these guidance notes.
First Published 20.06.07 and updated 31.07.07.
To download the notes please click here.
In order to receive money from the Commission, organisations must produce reports and costs showing that the costs claimed are related to the project. In order to claim personnel costs, organisations have to show that staff were working on a specific project. The way to show this is by keeping some sort of time recording mechanism (possibly even at a task level).
The Finance Helpdesk has produced a leaflet with Guidelines on how to correctly record personnel costs within FP7 projects.
To view the leaflet click here.
Consortium Agreements are between the partners and the Commission will not wish to see it. However this is a mandatory document within most RTD projects that must be prepared and signed by the partners prior to official start of the project and by each additional partner prior to him joining the project.
Consortium Agreements may not conflict with the provisions of the Grant Agreement or the Regulation. Although, the participation rules state that Consortium Agreements are mandatory, except where otherwise provided in the call for proposals, they do not specify what they must contain. Accordingly, this requirement does not conflict with any flexibility objective and should not be seen as an administrative burden, but as a signal drawing the attention of the contractors to the importance of Consortium Agreements.
Nothing prevents the contractors to prepare several consortium agreements governing different aspects of their project (some before the signature of the contract and some possibly after), or to amend their initial consortium agreement or to make bilateral or other arrangements involving smaller groups of contractors.
A check-list for consortium agreements is available in the Commission rules site. Since the Consortium Agreement is a “private” agreement involving only the contractors, the Commission does not sign it and will not even check its contents. Nevertheless, the contract with the Commission will always prevail in case of conflicts with the consortium agreement.
A major problem with the contents of the available Consortium Agreement templates is that they have been produced by interested parties i.e. major organisations. Thus they are not SME friendly and encourage for example the use of withholding of pre-payments as a managerial tool. This is a major flaw.
Remember that this is a legal document therefore let your legal department look at it
Do not give away your rights by signing a bad agreement.
Version 1.8 of Mr. Myer W. Morron’s new FP7 ICT Book, which follows on from the highly acclaimed FP5 and FP6 versions has been published by EFPConsulting Ltd. It replaces previously released versions.
The downloadable book continues to be free as it was in the previous framework programs. The book is constantly updated and registered users are notified of important changes and updates by Email.
Specific Changes to V1.8:
· Added some notes on CIP to section 2.2
· Added Redress procedure in 4.8.5
· Added section 5.10 on RI and updated Hearings in 4.7.1
· Clarified page counts in section 15
· Updated country status in Appendix A and section 1.
The book is over 200 pages long and covers subjects such as:
· Background to changes in FP7
· Overview of rules of participation
· Benefits of participation in a Collaborative R&D project
· Reasons not to participate
· Brief Overview of Framework Program Seven and CIP
· FP7 Funding Schemes (Types of Projects)
· Framework Program Seven changes
· Partner Search
· Proposal preparation and submittal
· What to do if your Proposal Fails
· Project Roles
· Financial Aspects
· Use of External Consultants
· What to do when your proposal is to be funded
· Consortium Agreement
· Problems during the project
· Project Management
· Project Ethics and Good Practice
· European Technology Platforms
· Ethical Considerations in FP7
· SME Status
· Intellectual Property Aspects
· How to write a proposal
To download, please click here.
VAT is frequently quoted as “the” example of unrecoverable taxes within EU funding, because organisations not registered for VAT cannot recover it but it is still a non eligible cost.
As unfair as it seems, even where the organisation cannot recover the VAT (or for that matter any other tax levied in their own or another State), the tax is not an eligible cost.
The Finance Helpdesk together with EFP Consulting has produced a leaflet to provide some more information on this subject.
To view the leaflet click here.
In order to claim personnel costs, organisations have to show that staff were working on a specific project. The way to show this is by keeping some sort of time recording mechanism (possibly even at a task level).
The Finance Helpdesk together with EFP Consulting has produced a leaflet with Guidelines on how to correctly record personnel costs within FP7 projects.
To view the leaflet click here.