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Subcontracting and Third parties

If this is necessary for the project implementation, subcontractors or other Third parties may undertake tasks within the project, or allocate resources to it. The Grant Agreement provides special rules for such cases. Third parties and subcontractors are not part of the consortium and have no contractual relation with the European Commission and do therefore not receive direct payments from the European Commission.


If the project partners are unable to accomplish necessary activities of the project, those activities may be assigned to subcontractors. However, activities assigned to subcontractors may under no circumstances include project core tasks. The subcontracting as well as its budget have to be mentioned in the Grant Agreement. Only in justified exceptions, unforeseen tasks can be carried out by external providers, without this being envisaged in the Grant Agreement. In this case, the reasons for subcontracting have to be explained in the report of the following reporting period. A precondition for an assignment of extra subcontractors is that the main aspects that have led to a positive evaluation of the project are not altered by the subcontracting.

Starting from a subcontract value of EUR 60,000, specific rules for subcontracting may be applied, if this is stated in the Grant Agreement.

Third Parties

Third parties that provide in kind-contributions (= non financial resources, that are made available to the beneficiary free of charge by a Third party) for the project, can request costs incurred in this context, if the in kind contribution and the Third parties are included in Annex 1 of the Grant Agreement. In exceptional cases, the contribution of  the Third party can be accepted without being listed in the Grant Agreement. In this case, the same rules apply as for subcontracts added to the project on a later stage.

Unlike subcontractors, Third parties may normally not undertake project tasks.

Exceptionally, affiliated entities or Third parties with a legal link to a beneficary may carry out action tasks of the project if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • the organisation would be eligible for funding by Horizon 2020 if it was a participant in the project

  • the affiliation or legal link with the benfiacary is not limited to the project

  • the organisation is listed in the Grant Agreement, as well as the action tasks it will carry out

  • the organisation fulfils the conditions for participants signing the Grant Agreement concerning the eligibility of costs, as well as the control of expenses

  • the organisation agrees to assume liability for the alleged costs, jointly with the participant or on its own, if requested so

Third parties can claim costs incurred for the project, however they are not allowed to make a profit. Costs must fulfil the general eligibilty conditions for costs in Horizon 2020.

Subcontractors and Third parties can be audited by the European Commission or the European Court of Auditors.