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FP7: How to participate

15 January 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 21 January 2010

This guide provides a summary of some of the main aspects of how to participate in FP7: financial rules, dissemination and IPR, and consortium agreements.


Financial rules

Forms of grants

Three forms of grants are proposed for the Community financial contribution:

  • reimbursement of eligible costs,
  • lump sums, and
  • flat-rate financing (the latter can be based on scale of unit costs but also includes flat rates for indirect costs).

These may be used to cover the entire Community financial contribution for a funding scheme or more than one may be used in combination.

For most funding schemes, reimbursement of eligible costs will continue to be the preferred method, particularly at the beginning of FP7. Lump sum and flat rate financing will be introduced gradually and if successful will be used more extensively. Currently, participants from International Cooperation Partner Countries (ICPC's) can opt for a financial contribution in the form of a lump sum. Details on the modalities are found in the "Guide to financial issues".

For frontier research actions, the ERC’s Scientific Council will propose appropriate funding modalities within the terms established by the RFP and the Financial Regulation.

Reporting and reimbursement of eligible costs

The definition of eligible costs has been simplified and the three cost reporting models used in previous framework programmes have been abandoned. This means that participants can charge all their direct and indirect costs and have the option of a flat rate for indirect costs. Costs will be determined according to the usual accounting and management principles of the participants to achieve the project objectives based on principles of economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

The Community financial contribution will cover:

  • a maximum of 50% of eligible costs minus receipts both for research and for demonstration activities, with a top up of a maximum of 25% for research activities for SMEs, public bodies, secondary and higher education establishments and non-profit research organisations;
  • 100% of ‘frontier research’ actions for all entities.
  • up to 100% for all other activities, including coordination and support actions, and training and career development of researchers, for all entities.
  • The maxima indicated above are applied to all eligible costs even where part of the reimbursement of costs, or even the full funding of the project, is based on lump sums or flat rates.

Dissemination and IPR

The coherence of dissemination and publication requirements has been improved, with prior notification of the Commission for publication of results eliminated.

For intellectual property rights (IPR) FP7 aims for as much continuity as possible with FP6. The main changes, to allow more flexibility and based on experience from the implementation of FP6, are:

a) remove most of the obligations for participants to finalise conditions prior to their accession to the EC contract, and
b) remove most obligations to request prior approval from the Commission for publication, transfers of ownership and provision of access rights to third parties, where all other partners agree.

Changes to the definitions are:

  • ‘background’ replaces ‘pre-existing know-how’ and no longer includes side-ground,
  • ‘foreground’ replaces ‘knowledge’.

The new arrangements for IPR under FP7 are summarised in the table below:

There will still be the possibility to exclude background and to define terms and conditions other than those established by the RFP, but this will now permit adjustments by participants as their project progresses. For joint ownership a default regime will facilitate the exploitation of jointly owned results in the absence of a clear agreement between parties.

Where a participant does not wish to protect knowledge (or foreground) it can offer the other participants the option of ownership before offering this to the Commission. It will also be possible for a participant to offer exclusive access rights to a third party if all the other participants agree to waive their rights to access.

Foreground will become the property of the Community in the following cases:

(a) Coordination and support actions consisting in a purchase or service subject to the rules on public procurement set out in the Financial Regulation;
(b) Coordination and support actions relating to independent experts.
Foreground from all other indirect actions shall be the property of the participants carrying out the work generating that foreground.

If employees or other personnel working for a participant are entitled to claim rights to foreground, the participant must ensure that it is possible to exercise those rights in a manner compatible with its obligations under the grant agreement.

Where several participants have jointly carried out work generating foreground and where their respective share of the work cannot be ascertained, they shall have joint ownership of such foreground.

Where no joint ownership agreement has been concluded regarding the allocation and terms of exercising that joint ownership, each of the joint owners shall be entitled to grant non-exclusive licenses to third parties, based on prior notice and reasonable compensation.

In general, restrictions on transfer of ownership and access rights have been loosened in order to encourage use and dissemination of results.

Consortium agreement

Save where otherwise provided in the call for proposals, all legal entities wishing to participate in an indirect action shall draw up an agreement, hereinafter ‘the consortium agreement’, to govern the following:

  • (a) The internal organisation of the consortium;
  • (b) The distribution of the Community financial contribution;
  • (c) Additional rules on dissemination and use including intellectual property rights arrangements, as appropriate;
  • (d) The settlement of internal disputes.

Source: CORDIS