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International Funder (mainly European) news

UKRO update 22/7

All BU academics can create an account to UKRO as we are a subscribing institution. Please use your BU email address. UKRO has prepared a new section on the Portal to allow subscribers finding the latest announcements and advice on the COVID-19 outbreak easily. This new page is available in the ‘Resources’ tab and provides a useful overview of the main messages from the European Commission and other important information. It will be regularly updated with the latest information taken from UKRO’s daily news articles, which are now tagged with the ‘COVID-19‘ hashtag for easier identification.

The European Commission has launched the European Research Area (ERA) Corona Platform on its Funding & Tenders Portal to make information related to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on Horizon 2020 grants available in a single place. The page is still under construction, but already includes links to the COVID-19 FAQs, a list of Horizon 2020 deadlines that have been extended and links to other useful resources. In the future, it will also include links to the relevant pages of EU Member States (obviously, the UK doesn’t have a page) and will be a one-stop-shop for applicants and beneficiaries of Horizon funds looking for information about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Webinars: Upcoming UKRO webinars and  past ones with slides are available for subscribers here. You will find a number on the topic of ‘COVID-19 and EU Funding update’. There are also some follow-up answers to questions from the April webinar, which can be found here. A lot of the questions were around extensions to existing projects.

The European Commission has launched the Coronavirus response website, which provides information on how the Commission is coordinating a common European response to the outbreak of COVID-19. The website includes general advice, latest developments and initiatives, as well as links to pandemic statistics and a dedicated section on research activities. The Coronavirus research section includes updates on the rapid calls for research projects on Covid-19, a collection of already funded projects, and links to relevant infrastructures and platforms, while the Health research and innovation site provides a wider overview of the EU-funded health-related initiatives and projects.

COVID-19 research: The EC and EU member states have launched a new data-sharing platform ‘European Covid-19 Data Platform‘ to enhance coordination of the COVID-19 research. The aim of the COVID-19 Data Portal is to facilitate data sharing and analysis, and to accelerate coronavirus research. The Platform will consist of two connected components:

  • SARS-CoV-2 Data Hubs, which will organise the flow of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak sequence data and provide comprehensive open data sharing for the European and global research communities; and
  • COVID-19 Data Portal, which will bring together and continuously update relevant COVID-19 datasets and tools, will host sequence data sharing and will facilitate access to other SARS-CoV-2 resources.

EU H2020 update 10/7

European Union - Horizon 2020The recent escalation of restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak may hamper applicants’ ability to prepare and finalise high-quality proposals. The new EC ERA Corona Platform mentioned above now contains all changes to call deadlines.

For award holders, Article 51 of the H2020 MGA sets out the conditions in which the force majeure clause can be used. 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.

ERC update 21/9

The ERC have issued a statement to say that panel evaluations are being organised remotely. The update includes changes to application deadlines, and advice on extensions to grants and adapting projects to Covid-19.

MSCA update 22/6

The REA have created Coronavirus:information for the MSCA community pages which provide updates to fellows and project managers. These are updated regularly and so do check these is you are intending to apply for funding.

The Research Executive agency have issued 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 project. Projects will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and grantees and fellows should speak to their BU RDS Project Officer if they require support.

The EC issued an MSCA information note for fellows on 21/4/20. UKRO held three webinars on ‘MSCA Individual Fellowships call 2020’, which can be viewed here: Overview and eligibility; Practical Matters; and Submission and Evaluation (see links and passwords at the bottom of the pages for all three).

Erasmus+ update 13/3

The EC has issued a statement explaining that it will apply maximum flexibility in the implementation of the programme, within the limits of the applicable legal framework. To deal with participants being unable to travel, or return home, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Erasmus+ National Agencies are now permitted to invoke force majeure clauses whereby they may accept additional costs up to a maximum grant amount. Planned activities may also be postponed by up to 12 months per project. A complete list of extended Erasmus+ deadlines is available on the European Commission website.

COST Actions update 1/8

The COST association has recommended that, from 13/3/20 to 30/4/20 (minimum), all physical meetings, training schools and short-term scientific missions be suspended or cancelled. They encourage video conferencing and remote networking tools as an alternative. Any participants currently attending COST events should follow the instructions of the host country and host institution.

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