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Horizon 2020 update: EUA gives further support to European Parliament’s position on Cost Model

03 June 2013

At a press conference on 28 May at the European Parliament convened by Mr Christian Ehler, MEP and Rapporteur on the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation, EUA joined Mr Ehler in calling for the retaining of a reimbursement model based on the recognition of full costs in Horizon 2020, the next EU framework programme for research and innovation (2014-2020).

Photo: ML-EPPGroupMr Ehler invited EUA and EARTO (European Association of Research and Technology Organisations) to express their views on this key issue in the present “trilogue” discussions (between the European Parliament, Council and the Commission) and in advance of the forthcoming Competitiveness Council (member states) held last week.

Following its input statement on the Rules for Participation, published in 2012, EUA has strongly supported in recent months the European Parliament’s proposal for retaining the option for reimbursement of research costs based on full costing methodologies. The Parliament is the sole institution in the negotiations advocating in addition to a flat rate model a reimbursement option based on full costing methodologies for those universities that are able to identify the full costs of a project.

Dr John Smith, EUA Deputy Secretary-General, said that EUA believed that the provision of an option based upon full costing methodologies, as proposed by the European Parliament, would not work against the welcomed measures in Horizon 2020 designed to achieve greater simplification if rules are set up clearly and national and institutional methodologies are accepted.

On the contrary, EUA saw the removal of such an option as being both a backward step and counterproductive with respect to another key EU policy goal of moving forward the modernisation agenda in Europe’s universities, particularly the promotion of tools to support their financial sustainability. “Horizon 2020 as a flagship to enhance Europe’s research and innovation capacities needs to take a lead position here to strengthen European universities’ competitiveness globally”, he suggested.

Dr Smith emphasised that EUA’s recent report  “Full costing: progress and practice” showed that “the Seventh Framework Programme, FP7, had acted as an important 'driver' for universities to modernise their financial management and encouraged national funders to improve their funding practices. If, in the future Horizon 2020, the European Commission accepted nationally recognised costing methodologies and usual institutional accounting practices this would be a major step forward in simplification and a significant reduction of administrative burden for  universities participating in the programme.”

At present, the shape, content, and funding for both Horizon 2020 and the Erasmus for All education programme are being negotiated at the EU-level. In parallel to the ongoing trilogue negotiations on the legal framework for the programmes, the Council is also still seeking to reach an agreement with the European Parliament on the overall multiannual financial framework (MFF), the EU’s long-term budget for 2014-2020, in order for the programmes to begin in 2014.

It is expected that with a proposed reduction in the overall MFF expenditure ceiling, that the budgets for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus for All are likely to be less than the proposals put forward by the European Commission, respectively EUR 80 billion (Horizon 2020) and EUR 19 billion (Erasmus for All). In February, the Council noted, however, that the budgets for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus for All would represent “real term” increases on the present programmes.

Following its statement addressed to all heads of state and government at the end of last year which underlined the importance of prioritising investment in these programmes in the overall EU Budget, EUA has continued to actively provide input on the key issues for universities in the different debates concerning both programmes and will continue to do so during this critical period of negotiations.

Further updates on Horizon 2020 and Erasmus for All will be provided through the EUA newsletter.

Photo: ML-EPPGroup

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