New funding rules are meant to reduce administrative costs to participants and are to prevent accounting errors.
On 28 February 2017, the European Commission announced that it will further simplify participation in Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme.
The new measures are meant to further simplify rules and procedures in Horizon 2020, and to make the participation in the Programme overall easier. They will also pave the way for new simplification measures under the next Framework Programme. The changes are to comprise:
1. A revision of the Horizon 2020 Model Grant Agreement adopted on 27 February 2017 which introduces a new definition of additional remuneration of researchers, and also aims to simplify the charging of other costs in Horizon 2020 grants. This will allow the broadest possible acceptance of beneficiaries' own usual accounting and management practices.
2. Streamlining the Horizon 2020 work programme for 2018-20. The final work programme of Horizon 2020 is supposed to focus on key priorities with fewer topics and fewer calls. The aim is to both maximise impact, and to ensure that stakeholders can easily find topics of interest.
3. Making the programme more relevant and easier to access for start-ups and innovators. As set out in theStart-up and Scale-up Initiative, the Commission wishes to make changes for the remaining period of Horizon 2020 in order to target breakthrough innovation with the potential for scaling up and will consider reinforcing this approach in the future through a European Innovation Council. Preparatory actions in the Horizon 2020 work programme 2018-2020 will include adapting the SME Instrument so that it can support innovations in any area as opposed to pre-set topics and introducing an interview stage to evaluate the most promising project proposals. The Commission intends to also upgrade online navigation tools in order to facilitate access to the programme for innovators.
4. The wider use of lump-sum project funding has the potential to reduce the administrative burden on participants - keeping the project focus firmly on research and innovation, enhancing impacts and lowering the financial error rate.
Simplification is a central aim of Horizon 2020 in order to make it more attractive, especially for newcomers to the Programme. Further simplification of Horizon 2020 remains a priority to ensure the Programme is attractive to the best researchers and innovators, to reduce the administrative costs for participation and to contribute to the prevention and reduction of financial errors. The Commission will also consider the scope for further simplification as part of the ongoing interim evaluation and it is also a rumoured trial run for the next Framework Programme FP9.