This page contains updates from the UK Research Office collating updates from the European Commission on the impact of Coronavirus on research applications and awards.
For Horizon 2020 and EU funded projects, in the absence of any instruction to the contrary from the EC, participants should continue to advise the Project Officer and/or (in the case of a collaborative project) the Coordinator in the case of any circumstance that is likely to affect the implementation of the project.
Update from UKRO 27th March 2020
European Commission Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Horizon 2020 Projects
The European Commission has published answers to two Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on Horizon 2020 projects and calls for proposals:
"Article 51 of the H2020 MGA sets out the conditions in which the force majeure clause can be used. ‘Force majeure’ relates to an extraordinary and unforeseeable event or situation that is beyond the beneficiaries control and that prevents them from fulfilling their obligations under the action. If such a situation occurs, beneficiaries must immediately inform the Commission/Agency/Funding Body, which will examine on a case-by-case basis the possible application of the rules on force majeure. Moreover, beneficiaries must immediately take all the necessary steps to limit any damage due to force majeure (e.g. try to cancel the flight ticket, claim the reimbursement from the cancellation insurance (if applicable)).
Costs will be eligible, if they fulfil the general eligibility conditions set out in Article 6 H2020 MGA like any other costs incurred under the action. For example, if a meeting/event cannot take place due to force majeure, travel and accommodation costs may still be charged to the H2020 action if they fulfil the cost eligibility conditions, even if the beneficiary did not travel and did not take part in the meeting/event. If force majeure entails extra costs for the implementation of the action, these costs may be eligible if necessary for the implementation for the action (e.g. a cancelled conference is reorganised at a later stage). However, the maximum grant amount cannot be increased."
"The recent escalation of restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak may hamper applicants’ ability to prepare and finalise high-quality proposals. For this reason, for Horizon 2020 calls with original deadlines between now and 15 April, extensions will be applied. The precise new deadlines for each call and topic will be published on the call and topic pages on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
For the following two calls, no extension of deadline/cut-off date will apply:
EIC-SMEInst-2018-2020 [IMPORTANT UPDATE: The call cut-off date has now also been extended by 48 hours to Friday 20 March at 5pm CET]
In all cases, potential applicants are advised to prepare themselves as necessary, especially by establishing effective communication links for remote collaborative work, also anticipating possible further restrictions in the coming weeks."
Confirmed new deadlines for Horizon 2020 calls
The following new deadlines have now been confirmed on the Funding and Tenders Portal:
- H2020-INFRAIA-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 17 March 2020 to 14 May 2020
- H2020-INFRAINNOV-2019-2020 – Deadline moved from 17 March 2020 to 14 May 2020
- H2020-INFRASUPP-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 17 March 2020 to 14 May 2020
- H2020-LC-SC3-2018-2019-2020 – Deadline moved from 26 March 2020 to 21 April 2020
- H2020-NSUP-2020 – Deadline moved from 26 March 2020 to 2 April 2020
- H2020-INNOSUP-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 2 April 2020 to 15 April 2020
- H2020-SC1-BHC-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 7 April 2020 to 4 June 2020
- H2020-SC1-DTH-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 7 April 2020 to 18 June 2020
- H2020-SC1-FA-DTS-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 7 April 2020 to 18 June 2020
- H2020-SwafS-2018-2020 – Deadline moved from 15 April 2020 to 23 April 2020
- Horizon Impact Award 2020 – Deadline moved from 2 April 2020 to 15 April 2020
All deadlines are at 17:00 CET (Brussels time) and are provided by UKRO for information only. For legally binding information on call deadlines, please, visit the Funding and Tenders Portal.
Research Executive Agency
On 18 March, the Research Executive Agency (REA), responsible for the implementation of several parts of Horizon 2020, updated its pages on business continuity measures. In addition to earlier messages about extended Horizon 2020 call deadlines, new information on remote evaluation and grant management is now available. Evaluations of ongoing and upcoming proposals are being organised remotely. Furthermore, grant management activities are continuing, however REA response time may be affected due to IT constraints. Finally, beneficiaries are encouraged to follow @REA_research on Twitter, as decisions may change anytime due to exceptional circumstances.
European Research Council
The ERC have posted a statement on their website stating that they are doing their upmost to remain fully operational during this period, that grant management activities continue as normal (although technical issues may slow some processes down) and that panel evaluations are currently being organised remotely. They do not currently anticipate any delays to evaluations or application deadlines.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
The Research Executive Agency (REA) have released a statement advising grantees and fellows to follow the travel advice provided by national authorities and to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel where possible. REA will adopt a flexible approach towards projects, which fail to meet grant agreement obligations due to the COVID-19 containment measures, and may apply the rules on force majeure, or extend the duration of projects. Projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and grantees and fellows should speak to their Project Officer if they require support.