Horizon 2020: rules for participation remain controversial

“If we need a second reading, we will have one,”

MEP Christian Ehler (EPP, Germany), rapporteur on the rules for participation in the future framework research programme Horizon 2020, has said. Ehler was referring to the negotiations currently underway between the Commission, Council and Parliament on the Horizon 2020 package, which includes a total of six reports.

“We are on the seventh session of three-way talks and the negotiations have reached a deadlock,”

Ehler continued in an appeal to the member states’ research ministers, who are due to meet, on 30 May in Brussels, to attempt to wrap up negotiations on Horizon 2020.

The main point of discord between the three institutions is the financing model. In an attempt at simplification – a good formula, according to Ehler – the Commission has proposed replacing the principle of fully reimbursing real expenses incurred by researchers with the principle of a single tax applicable to each action.

The EU executive distinguishes between research activities that could be subjected to a 100% rate for direct costs and 20% for indirect costs, and on the other hand, activities viewed as close to the market, which would be subjected to a rate of 70% for direct costs and 20% for indirect costs. Eligible direct costs are mainly personal expenses and external expenses that could be directly attributed to subsidised research.

Finally, the proposal provides that “eligible indirect costs are determined by the application of a forfeitary tax of 20% of eligible direct costs”. Ministers have approved this proposal, although they have raised the percentage of indirect costs refunded to 25%. In his report, Ehler proposes retaining the option of completely covering real costs.

Source: Europolitics


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