COVID-19: Which impact on European projects?

To contain the Coronavirus pandemic, most European countries have enforced strict border shutdown and lockdown measures. European projects, which involve regular travels across Europe, are deeply affected. Cancelled events, closed infrastructures, postponed calls… How to minimize the COVID-19 crisis for your projects?

Calls for proposals: extension of deadlines

The European Commission postponed most deadlines foreseen before 15 April 2020. This applies in particular to Horizon 2020 (excluding IMI) and Erasmus+ calls. The new H2020 deadlines will be communicated shortly on the Participant’s Portal.

The EC quickly realised that the quality of proposals could suffer from the multiple constraints related to sanitary measures. However, this extra-time can become an opportunity for your EU project: in-depth proofreading, graphics and visual enhancement of your proposal, support in writing the Impact section, involvement of a partner for communication and dissemination activities… These elements which are sometimes neglected due to time constraints can constitute a real added value!

What to do if your project is delayed?

All events and “face-to-face” meetings are now cancelled and/or postponed in Europe. Of course, project meetings can still be organised virtually. Nonetheless, this is impossible for final events or conferences where you planned to communicate about your project.

The same applies to deliverables: some tasks can be performed or finalised remotely. However, it gets much more complicated if your activity requires the use of specific infrastructures (laboratory, equipment…), most of which being closed until further notice. Also, staff mobility and exchange – which is a central element of ITN projects for example – are suspended until further notice.

Therefore, many projects may go behind schedule. If this is your case, you can invoke the clause on “force majeure” as foreseen by Article 51 of the H2020 Grant Agreement. The same applies to Erasmus+. You must inform the European Commission as soon as possible. Please note: additional costs may be eligible, but the maximum grant amount cannot be increased.

EC staff will continue to work remotely during the quarantine. You can therefore contact your Project Officer! However, response times are likely to be slightly longer. The EC also updates regularly an FAQ about the impact of COVID-19 on H2020 projects.

European research vs COVID-19

Late January, the Commission opened an exceptional Horizon 2020 call for proposals  to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. 17 projects (out of 91) were selected, 8 of which involve French partners. The total EU funding finalised reached EUR 47.5 million, while EUR 10 million were initially planned.

Two other research and innovation calls specifically target COVID-19:

  • IMI2-2020-21-01: Development of therapeutics and diagnostics combating coronavirus infections. Budget: EUR 45 million. Deadline: 31/03/2020.
  • EIC Accelerator (former SME Instrument) for start-ups and innovative SMEs. Budget: EUR 165 million.

You can find all the coronavirus-related EC initiatives in research and innovation here.

Euronovia remains at your service!

Our consultants are used to working remotely, we will continue to support you. EU grant application, project management, innovation funding, online training… all our services are maintained! For more information, do not hesitate to contact us!

Take care ?