Frequently asked questions

Q: What is “secondment” in ITN?

A: In ITN the term “secondment” is applied to researchers under initial training and it means a period spent by a fellow at the premises of a beneficiary or Associated Partner other than those of the beneficiary which has appointed him/her under the project (the appointing beneficiary). The fellow remains employed and paid by the appointing beneficiary. Associated partners can host fellows for secondment periods of less than 30% of their fellowship. Any fellow on secondment for a period greater than 30% of their fellowship must be appointed by the beneficiary where the fellow is seconded to. Please note that any institution hosting a secondment should be a member of the consortium as either a full beneficiary or associated partner. The secondment duration must be sufficiently long to allow the fellow to fully benefit from the research training and transfer of knowledge activities. Typically the shortest effective secondment duration is several weeks

 

Q: In ITN, how are costs for secondments supported within the project?

A: When on secondment the ITN fellow continues to be paid by the recruiting beneficiary. The country correction coefficient used to calculate the living and mobility allowances does not change. The costs of participation in the secondment should not be paid by the fellow, the additional costs to the fellow, such as short term accommodation costs and travel costs can be covered by categories D and E (2007-2010) or category 3 (2011 onwards). In terms of the research costs, in the financial report cost claim (FormC), the flat rate should always be claimed by the beneficiary paying the fellow but costs can be transferred within the network subject to agreement between the beneficiaries.

 

Q: Which costs are reimbursed by REA in case of maternity and parental leave?

A: 1. If the national social security scheme pays 100% of the amount for maternity leave due under national legislation, the REA does not supplement it. 2. If the social security does not pay the full 100% of the amount due under the national legislation because the national legislation has envisaged that the employer covers part of the maternity pay, then the REA reimburses only the compulsory part paid by the employer. In this case, the documents asked for is an extract from the national legislation that stipulates the percentage the employer has to pay. 3. The REA does not pay the difference between the maternity benefit from the social security scheme and the Marie Curie rate. 4. If needed, it is up to REA’s discretion to decide whether to increase the EU contribution or not. It very rarely happens and only when the circumstances would put the researcher on maternity leave at a great disadvantage.

 

Q: Which are the reporting requirements of an ITN?

A: There are several reports required: 1) short progress reports at year 1 and 3, 2) a full periodic report at the end of year 2 and the end of the project; 3) an additional whole project final report at the end of the project 4) a mid-term progress report one month before the mid-term review. In addition fellows questionnaires are required for the mid-term review, at the end of their fellowship and 2 years after their fellowship. The only reports required on paper are the financial reports that comprise part of the periodic reports (years 2 and 4) and a Certificate on the Financial Statement, where necessary. Guide for Reporting is available online: http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/

 

Q: Is a Certificate on Financial Statement needed for all cost categories?

A: In an ITN/IAPP project a Certificate on the Financial Statements (CFS) shall be submitted by a beneficiary in the following circumstances: Period 1: when the total amount of the EU financial contribution claimed by the beneficiary in period 1 is ≥ EUR 375.000 Period 2: when the total amount of the EU financial contribution claimed by the beneficiary in period 2 is ≥ EUR 375.000 OR when the total amount of the EU financial contribution claimed by the beneficiary in period 2 PLUS the total amount of accepted costs for the beneficiary in Period 1 added together are ≥ EUR 375.000 and no CFS was submitted in Period 1. The instructions for providing the CFS and the costs to be examined in each cost category are found in Form D of the Grant Agreement. In addition special considerations for Marie Curie Grant Agreements can be found in Section 6.5 of Part II of the Guidelines for Audit Certification available on Cordis.

 

Q: When an audit is to be done, which documents will an auditor ask as evidence of costs claimed as a fixed amount?

A: Records the auditor will want to see will include: – a breakdown of costs claimed in Form C; – employment contract or alternative; – proof of the eligibility of the fellow; – a proof of the time spent on the project, to back up what is indicated in the periodic report; – a proof that the amounts due to the researchers were actually paid over to the fellows. The actual expenditure incurred by the host organisation (including social security contributions) has to be equal to or greater than the scales of unit costs amounts claimed; – in the event of category F (only for calls 2007-2008), proof of the number of external participants who attended the international events of the network; – documentation supporting the family status and the place of origin; – all records of expenditure for management costs.

 

Q: Can average personnel costs be claimed within an ITN?

A: For the recruited researchers, the personnel costs that can be claimed must correspond to Category A and Categories 1 and 2 Monthly living and mobility allowances, which are amounts defined in the relevant Work Programme. For Category G/4 “Management activities”, the Marie Curie grant agreement does not include any provision allowing for average personnel costs to be charged under the agreement. However, the Commission decision of 24.01.2011 adopting measures to make participation in the EU’s current Seventh Framework Programme for Research more attractive and more accessible to the best researchers and most innovative companies, especially Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), allows more flexibility in how personnel costs are calculated so that the EU research grant-holders can apply their usual accounting methods when requesting reimbursement for average personnel costs. This measure has retro-active application and beneficiaries can declare average personnel costs under this cost category provided that the costs declared on the basis of average rates: − are calculated in accordance with the usual cost accounting practice; − are based on actual costs (i.e. computed from data from the payroll figures registered in the statutory accounts of the entity); − are excluding ineligible costs (see Article II.14.3 of the multi-beneficiary grant agreement) or double funding (e.g. costs which are to be considered as indirect costs covered by the flat rate under category H); − are calculated on the basis of productive time (rather than billable hours). Please note that under no circumstances are the costs of a Certificate on the Methodology eligible in a Marie Curie Grant Agreement, nor should a Marie Curie Grant Agreement be used as a reason for obtaining a Certificate on the Methodology.