Key points in the Grant Agreement preparation for Coordinators
So, your company or a consortium you are in got a positive decision for the funding application in a Horizon Europe call — well done! One of the next steps in the process for the Coordinators is to get ready for the Grant Agreement. We put together some tips for you.
European Commission organised a virtual Grant Agreement Day in early February 2023 for the organisations acting as Coordinators in EU-funded projects. Here are some key points we collected for you regarding the general grant preparation process.
Funding and Tenders Portal is the single gateway for all exchanges to provide you with a uniform experience and common business processes. For the uninitiated, the Portal may seem a bit daunting at first. Should you get stuck or need advice on how to go forward, you may be glad to learn that our funding experts at Spinverse are experienced users of the portal.
Forget printing — the process flow is fully electronic! The related documents are sealed and signed digitally and there is a single and common document repository, enabling tracing and ensuring the audit trail for who, what and when. Compliance is secured by predefined rules in the IT suite.
Complying with deadlines is a must in Grant Agreement Preparation (GAP)
As you already experienced while applying for the grant, there are time limits. This applies to the conclusion of the Grant Agreement (GA) too. The strict deadlines for the GA are specified in your invitation letter. It is important for you to align yourself with the applicable deadlines and make diligent efforts to comply! Should you encounter delays, you must immediately notify your Project Officer to avoid the termination of the grant preparation.
To give you an idea of the time involved, the maximum time from the call deadline, invitation to grant preparation and grant signature can be 8 months maximum, of which the proposal evaluation may take up to 5 months. In practice, there are more than 3 months reserved for the Grant Approval process.
Main steps in GAP
The below graphs shows the main steps of the Grant Agreement process. It is good to bear in mind that your project proposal is taken ‘as is’. The GA is prepared on the basis of the proposal selected for funding. However, some changes may be necessary, such as those needed to meet legal and financial requirements or due to removal of participant (if agreed by EU). There may also be some clerical errors and obvious inconsistencies that require corrections. However, non-compliance or serious breach of negligence of the applicable rules terminates the grant preparation and leads to the rejection of the proposal. See graph below for the steps.
New elements and main takeaways
There are a few new elements required in Horizon Europe. Whilst filling information in the Portal, public organisations need to declare a Gender equality plan, and pay attention to the organisational status. For example, the SME validation may be outdated.
To conclude, the European Commission wants you to remember these points:
- Pay attention to deadlines and be proactive
- Should you face difficulties, be transparent. Come up with a plan if needed
- Collaborate with your Project Officer — s/he is appointed to help you with your project.
Good luck with your Grant Agreement preparation! Our experts are here to help if you need support!