The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) differ significantly in project accounting from the collaborative research projects in the rest of the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Instead of actual costs, MSCA reimburses monthly fixed amounts (unit costs) which are broken down into several cost categories. How many unit costs are paid depends on how many months the Fellow was hired or seconded to the project (in the case of the MSCA Staff Exchanges).
The amount of each fixed grant depends on the Marie Curie action selected and is specified in the Work Programme for the year in question. Only the financial provisions from the Work Programme under which the project application was submitted apply to funded projects for the entire duration of the project. An adjustment of the unit costs to subsequent Work Programmes is not permitted.
Monthly fixed amounts from the EU to subsidise the Fellows' salaries:
The basic salary (living allowance): The exact amount of the unit cost depends on the country in which the Fellow is carrying out his or her project. The country-specific correction factor is defined in the respective Work Programme.
The mobility allowance is intended to cover expenses related to private mobility, such as relocation costs or travel expenses.
The payment of the family allowance depends on the marital status of the Fellow.
A monthly long-term leave allowance can be paid in the case of longer absences of the Fellow due to maternity leave, parental leave or illness.
Researchers with limitations are also supported in project implementation through the special needs allowance.
Monthly fixed amounts from the EU to subsidise project implementation by the host institution:
The research, training and networking contributions are a monthly allowance towards the Fellows' research and research training costs as well as networking activities, e.g. conference or seminar fees or, in the case of networking projects, costs for organising workshops and conferences.
Management and indirect costs are also covered by a unit cost.
Monthly fixed amounts with Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND
The monthly COFUND allowance subsidises all project-related costs in MSCA COFUND measures, i.e. the salary of the fellows as well as research, training and management costs. If a doctoral candidate or postdoctoral researcher is being funded, the amount of the fixed sum depends on whether they are being funded. Long-term sick leave allowance or special needs allowance will also be paid at COFUND in certain cases.
Dealing with fixed amounts
In principle, all grants will not be paid directly by the European Commission to the researchers, but to the host institutions which will administer them. Accordingly, the Commission sets up a Grant Agreement with the host institution or (for network projects) with the Project Coordinator (PI).
Researchers will be employed by the host organisation through an employment contract. A sample employment contract for appointments in Germany for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in Horizon 2020 (2013-2020), including an English reading version, can be found in the download area. A sample employment contract for MSCA in Horizon Europe is not yet available.
Certificates on the Financial Statements (CFS) are not required for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, as the funding is paid out entirely via unit costs. Notwithstanding this, the European Commission or the European Court of Auditors may carry out an audit.
The taxation of individual unit costs for researchers depends on the local tax offices. Further information on the taxation of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships is also available on the pages of the German Researcher's Mobility Portal EURAXESS.
Model employment contracts
Researchers are employed by the host organisation through an employment contract. German host institutions were provided with model employment contracts for the employment of fellows in the various MSCA funding lines in Horizon 2020. For Horizon Europe, the model contract for the European Fellowships has already been finalised. The model contracts for the other MSCA funding lines are currently being revised and will be published here in the following months.
The model contracts are in German language and intended as a non-binding model. A legal review must be carried out in any case by the employing institution when using the text - even of individual sections. This applies in particular to conformity with the requirements of the updated Nachweisgesetz, which cannot be taken into account in the model.
The working group that prepares the model contracts is coordinated by KoWi and the German MSCA NCP. It includes representatives from the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg and the Federal Working Group of EU officers at German universities (BAK), the German Aerospace Centre, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the University of Duisburg-Essen.