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General topics and budget questions

Horizon Europe legal and financial information

This legal and financial information has been prepared to provide basic information for organisations looking to get involved in Horizon Europe projects. The purpose of the content is purely informative. Please reach out to us for a formal opinion on your specific questions.

General topics

Action grants, beneficiaries, calls for proposals, project consortium, subcontractors, coordinators… Important keywords with specific and important meaning abound in Horizon Europe. In this section, we explain what many of the most important expressions mean and how they should be handled.

What is an action grant?

Actions grants are grants provided to projects whose activities help achieve EU policy objectives. They are usually funded based on the actual cost incurred by the beneficiaries.

Action grants are usually given through open calls for proposals but may sometimes also be awarded directly without a call. They can be multi- or mono-beneficiary actions.

What is a call for proposals?

Calls for proposals define the thematic areas for which funding is available and provide all criteria that need to be respected when applying for funds. They also include information on the total amount of budget available and the deadline for submitting proposals.

Where can I find calls for proposals?

European calls for proposals are all available through the Funding and Tenders Portal.

The Funding & Tenders Portal is the entry point (Single Electronic Data Interchange Area) for participants and experts in funding programmes and tenders managed by the European Commission and other EU bodies. The portal provides electronic management of EU programmes and tenders and facilitates the related interactions with the EU Institutions.

How can I apply to a call for proposals?

Submitting a proposal against a call is made through the Funding & Tenders Portal. You will need to create a user account, obtain a PIC (Participant Identification Code) number for your organisation, and submit your proposal based on the template provided.

How can I obtain a PIC (Participant Identification Code) number for my entity?

The PIC number is a 9-digit number that serves as a unique identifier for legal entities participating in European funding programmes. The PIC is necessary for the participation in any EU grant such as Horizon Europe or the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT).

The validation of your PIC number is necessary only when your proposal or tenders are successfully evaluated. The PIC number has no expiry date. The European Commission Validation Service team is in charge of validating an entity PIC number.

To obtain a PIC number, you first have to register on the Funding & Tenders Portal of the European Commission Portal and create an EU login. Select “my organisation” and choose “continue registration”. Provide the identification information required. To avoid duplication, a list of already registered organisations will appear when you provide the legal name of your entity. If it is not already registered, continue the registration process and submit your information.

What is a LEAR (Legal Entity Appointed Representative)?

A LEAR is a person appointed by the legal representative (CEO, Rector, Director General or similar) of an organisation to manage its legal and financial information (e.g. change the address), manage the access rights of persons within the organisation at the administrative level (not at the project level) and appoint representatives of the organisation to electronically sign grant agreements or financial statements via the Funding & Tenders Portal.

What funding rates are applied under Horizon Europe?

The funding rate corresponds to the proportion of approved project costs that is covered by European funds. In order to simplify the management of Horizon Europe projects, one single funding rate applies to all participants in a project, with the exception of non-profit organisations participating in Innovation Actions. The funding rates are:

  • Coordination and Support Action (CSA): 100% for all types of participants
  • Research Innovation Actions (RIA): 100% for all types of participants
  • Innovation Actions (IA): 100% funding rate for non-profit organisations – 70% for all other types of participants

Indirect costs: a flat rate of 25 % for all types of actions and beneficiaries

What is a consortium?

A consortium is an association of several legal entities with the aim to deliver a project based on a call for proposals. It is composed of several beneficiaries (also known as partners), and led by a coordinating entity (the coordinator). The consortium can also include affiliated entities, associated partners and subcontractors.

Beneficiaries, affiliated entities, associated partners and subcontractors have different rights and obligations under the grant agreement.

To effectively manage the different duties, rights and obligations of a consortium running a Horizon Europe project, it is required that the consortium members sign a Consortium Agreement. The most commonly used Consortium Agreement model is the DESCA.

What are beneficiaries?

Beneficiaries are the legal entities involved in a project covered by a grant agreement. As signatories of the grant agreement, they are fully responsible towards the granting authority for implementing the project and for complying with all the obligations stated in the grant agreement.

Beneficiaries charge lump sum contributions to the action. They must have the appropriate resources to implement the action.

If they rely on affiliated entities or other participants to fulfil their commitment to the project, they retain sole responsibility towards the granting authority and the other beneficiaries. Beneficiaries must ensure that the contractual obligations under the grant agreement of the other participants (affiliated entities, associated partners and subcontractors) apply also to the affiliated entities.

What are affiliated entities?

An affiliated entity is an entity that has a link – in particular legal or capital – with a beneficiary, which is neither limited to the Horizon Europe project concerned nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation.

Affiliated entities charge lump sum contributions to the action under the same conditions as the beneficiaries and must implement the action tasks attributed to them in the part B (technical annex) of the proposal and will be taken into account for the calculation of the grant.

What are associated partners?

Associated partners can implement a significant part of a project together with the consortium members; however, they do not sign the grant agreement with the European Commission or receive direct funding as a reimbursement of their costs. Associated members are often – but not necessarily – based in third countries, i.e. non-EU member states that are participating in the Horizon Europe programme. Their budget for the project should be inserted under the “Financial Contribution” category of the proposal.

What are subcontractors?

Subcontractors are service providers called upon by a beneficiary to implement an action task for which they will issue an invoice at regular market prices. Subcontracts must always be awarded based on the best value for money and/or lowest price criteria. Subcontractors do not sign the grant agreement with the European Commission, and the beneficiary who has awarded the subcontract is responsible for the work of the subcontractor, including its quality and timely completion. Core tasks of the coordinator cannot be subcontracted, and it is not allowed to subcontract to other beneficiaries.

The cost of subcontracting is not considered when calculating the indirect costs.

What is the role of the coordinator?

The coordinator is the beneficiary of a Horizon Europe grant who acts as the central contact point and consortium representative towards the granting authority. For mono-beneficiary grants, the one and only beneficiary obviously also has the coordinator role.

The coordinator of an action grant has several obligations:

  • monitor that the action is implemented properly
  • act as the intermediary for all communications between the consortium and the granting authority (unless the Agreement or granting authority specifies otherwise) and, in particular: 
    • submit the prefinancing guarantees to the granting authority (if any)
    • request and review any documents or information required and verify their quality and completeness before passing them on to the granting authority
    • submit the deliverables and reports to the granting authority
    • inform the granting authority about the payments made to the other beneficiaries
  • distribute the payments received from the granting authority to the other beneficiaries without unjustified delay

The coordinator cannot delegate or subcontract any of these obligations. However, some exceptions apply to public bodies.

What roles does a partner play?

Partners in the consortium – who are not coordinators – can be work package leaders, task leaders or task supporters.

A work package leader is responsible for one of the work packages in which the project is structured. A task leader is responsible for a task in a given work package. Task supporters are participating with limited responsibility in one or more work packages of the projects and/or supporting one or more tasks on equal terms with the other partners.

Is my company a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)?

You can determine whether your organisation qualifies as a small and medium-sized enterprise with the SME self-assessment tool.

What are Horizon Europe Programme Committees?

The European Commission calls upon committees to implement European legislation. These committees are composed of representatives from Member States and Associated Countries. Luxinnovation represents Luxembourg in various committees on European RDI policy making.

Concerning Horizon Europe, the main subject of discussion is the “work programmes”. These documents define research priorities for each domain that then translate into calls. Committee members can inform the European Commission on national research priorities. They also have the important opportunity to establish bilateral contacts and to draw attention to Luxembourg’s positioning.


What types of cost can be reimbursed with my Horizon Europe grant? How do I report the work of the project team? In this section, we take a look at these key topics. 

What costs are eligible?

The eligible costs under Horizon Europe are:

  • Personnel costs, Subcontracting costs, Purchasing costs, Costs of other goods and services, Indirect costs

Personnel costs include work on the project performed by:

  • Employees
  • Natural persons under direct contracts
  • Seconded persons
  • SME owners and natural person beneficiaries

Purchasing costs include:

  • Travel and subsistence – these costs must be calculated on the basis of the costs actually incurred and in line with the beneficiary’s usual travel practices.
  • Equipment – these costs must be declared as depreciation costs, calculated on the basis of the costs actually incurred and written off in accordance with international accounting standards and the beneficiary’s usual accounting practice.
     Only the portion of the costs that corresponds to the rate of actual use for the action during its duration can be taken into account.

Costs for renting or leasing equipment, infrastructure or other assets are also eligible, if they do not exceed the depreciation costs of similar equipment, infrastructure or assets and do not include any financing fees.

  • Other goods works and services – these costs must be calculated on the basis of the costs actually incurred.

Costs of other goods and services include:

  • Financial support to thirds parties – these costs are eligible if declared as such in the conditions provided in the call for proposals. They are calculated on the basis of the costs actually incurred.
  • Internally invoiced goods and services – these costs may be declared as unit costs according to usual cost accounting practices.

Which costs are ineligible?

  • Costs related to return on capital
  • Debt and debt service charges
  • Provisions for future losses or debts
  • Interest owed
  • Doubtful debts
  • Currency exchange losses
  • Bank charges
  • Excessive or reckless expenditure
  • Deductible VAT (non-deductible VAT is eligible)
  • Costs incurred during the suspension of the implementation of the action
  • Costs declared under another EU/Euratom grant (no double funding)
  • Cost categories explicitly excluded in the work programme/call (if option applies)

How are personnel cost calculated and reported?

Personnel costs are calculated on a daily rate approach, based on the corporate model. They have to be calculated according to the following method:

Personnel cost = {daily rate} X {number of day-equivalents worked on the action} (rounded up or down to the nearest half-day)

Personnel costs are expressed per person for each reporting period.

Daily rate: The general formula for the daily rate calculation is per calendar year (from January to December): {Actual annual personnel costs for the person} divided by {215 days}

215 days correspond to a 100% position during a full calendar year. This number is fixed.

Except for the months running from the end of the last calendar year until the end of the reporting period. For those months, you must calculate a separate partial daily rate as follows:

{actual personnel costs of the person incurred over those months} divided by {215 / 12 (months) x number of months from the January until the end of the reporting period}

Reporting personnel costs: keep track records of the time spent on the action via means of timesheets or a monthly declaration on days spent for the action.

Eligible costs for employees

The eligible costs covered by the costs for employees are made up of:

  • Fixed salary
  • Fixed complement such as a contribution to a medical insurance
  • Variable components such as bonuses
  • Social security contribution
  • Taxes linked to the remuneration
  • Other costs and payments linked to the remuneration if they are justified and registered as personnel costs in accordance with the beneficiary’s usual remuneration practices
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