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EU Financial Regulation and Rules for Participation

The basic financial and legal rules for Horizon 2020 are defined on the one hand in the EU Financial Regulation (FR), and on the other hand in the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation.

The Regulation on the rules for the Participation and Dissemination in Horizon 2020 (Rules for Participation) lays down specific rules for funding under Horizon 2020 as well as for the dissemination and exploitation of results. The rules apply to all parts of Horizon 2020. They define e.g. key concepts, funding schemes and funding rates, legal entities eligible for funding, rules concerning calls for proposals and evaluation processes, refundable costs and the treatment of intellectual property rights.

The Financial Regulation (FR) of the European Union defines the principles and procedures governing the establishment and implementation of the EU budget and the control of the European Communities' finances. This includes provisions for awarding grants in the context of research actions. The FR is complemented by so-called rules of application which include detailed technical provisions.

The Financial Regulation prescribes the principle of cofinancing. This means that the EU funds only part of the total project costs. Other rules of the FR relevant for the implementation of Horizon 2020 include the non-profit rule for EU funded projects, the principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, general criteria for the reimbursement of costs, and mandatory time-limits to be complied with by the Commission for informing the participants on evaluation results and contract conclusion.

Basically, all rules set out in the Financial Regulation apply in Horizon 2020. Only in justified cases such as the evaluation of proposals, the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation derogate from the Financial Regulation.

The Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation also apply to the Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI). Costs for JTI projects are refunded according to the general financial rules in Horizon 2020. The European Commission has however established derogating rules for the different JTIs by delegated acts. Those include the following aspects:

  • Clean Sky: Projects with less than three partners are eligible.
  • IMI II, Bio-based Industries: Funding is available for predefined participants only.
  • IMI II: derogations in the field of IPR, exceptions from the open-access-rules.
  • Electronic Components and Systems (ECSEL): derogating rates for cost reimbursement