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H2020 project management during the COVID-19 pandemic

19th March 2020 at 4:32 pm

Currently, many researchers and their institutions all over Europe are struggling with the COVID-19 situation and this also affects work within ongoing Horizon 2020 (H2020) Research and Innovation Actions (RIA), Innovation Actions (IA), and Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) projects. We have already shared some tips for managing your H2020 project during the coronavirus pandemic a few days ago. Now we would like to share answers to some of the questions that we have been asked by our project partners.

Cost of cancelled events and meetings

Many consortia have had to cancel already scheduled events and meetings and as the situation is getting more difficult, more planned activities may be affected. Costs of meetings which had to be cancelled are eligible for EU funding in case the airline, hotel, etc. does not reimburse these. This means that such costs can be covered by the grant because the EC considers the current situation a “force majeure”. However, it is important to note that the EU contribution will not be increased.

Project activities

Some project activities may be heavily affected by the current situation. Some project partners have had to close their laboratories. PIs mainly work from home these days. The Research Executive Agency (REA) recommends adapting the work plan of projects, if necessary, to ensure the impact of COVID-19 on ongoing projects is minimised as much as possible. Essential meetings should, whenever possible, be held via video-conferencing instead of postponing them completely. Tasks can be shifted and reorganised if needed. The coordinator should keep track of the changes so they can be reported in the periodic report. If major changes are required now, the coordinator should notify the Project Officer in due time.

Project amendments and extensions

Should a consortium be unable to implement parts of the project as laid down in the EC Grant Agreement, an amendment might be necessary. Coordinators should notify their Project Officer as soon as possible of any major changes to the project specific Description of Action. Once the situation is back to normal, the DG Research and the REA will assess the case on a case-by-case basis and may grant an extension to ensure the promised activities can be implemented.