The new 2023-2024 Horizon Europe Work Programmes will feature a larger share of lump sum projects. Let’s take a look at this new funding method.
A move to reduce the administrative burden of grants in Horizon Europe
For several years, the European Commission has been trying to ease the management of projects funded under the European research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe. According to recent figures, more than 60% of beneficiaries of the FP7 and Horizon 2020 programmes have received a single grant. Knowing that managing a European project can require a certain amount of experience, some potential applicants to calls for proposals may feel overwhelmed by the administrative burden, and in particular SMEs. Errors in the declaration of costs occur more often with less experienced beneficiaries.
Thus, the main objective of the lump sum funding is to enhance the participation of small entities and to ease the management part once projects are funded.
What are the differences from the current model?
In practice, a lump sum project is simpler to manage than a project based on actual costs. As with the actual cost system, beneficiaries of a lump sum project will receive a pre-financing amount at the beginning of the project.
However, mid-term payments at the end of a reporting period will be handled differently. Payments will only be made when Work Packages (WPs) are completed. In other words, in order for the beneficiaries of a project working within the same WP to be paid, it is now necessary that all partners involved in this WP have completed their tasks. The assessment of the completion of a WP will be assessed during the reporting periods through the validation of the deliverables, the milestones, and the technical report.
To reassure potential future beneficiaries, the European Commission has clarified that adjustments will always be possible to adapt a WP in case the partners anticipate a deviation from the initial objectives.
How does the lump sum affects the setting up of a Horizon Europe project?
The preparation of a lump sum project proposal involves two main changes:
- A more accurate cost estimation. Applicants must provide a financial table detailing the costs for each partner and for each WP using a new budget table provided by the European Commission. This budget table will be assessed as part of the implementation part of the proposal. The aim is to ensure that the costs listed are reasonable and not excessive. If the evaluator considers that the costs are inadequately estimated, this could lead to a lower score for this section.
- A different approach to project management. In order to meet the need for regular payments, more Work Packages are usually defined for this type of project. The Commission recommends for example to separate the cross-cutting work packages for management and communication by reporting period in order to receive payments throughout the project.
A larger number of Lump Sum calls in the forthcoming Work Programmes
Given the successful feedback from the Lump Sum pilot projects, the Commission has decided to increase the number of calls for projects that will operate with this new system in the 2023-2024 Work programmes. Below is the percentage of lump sum calls under Pillar 2 of the Horizon Europe programme:
- Cluster 1 – Health: 20%.
- Cluster 2 – Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society: 21%
- Cluster 3 – Civil Security for Society: 40%
- Cluster 4 – Digital, Industry and Space: 45%
- Cluster 5 – Climate, Energy and Mobility: 24%
- Cluster 6 – Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment: 32%
And under the other pillars:
- ERC: Proof of Concept only
- Research Infrastructures: 63%
- European innovation ecosystems: 50%
- WIDERA: 14%
Do you intend to apply for a call for proposals under the new lump sum funding and need support? Do not hesitate to contact us!
For further information: Funding & tender – Lump sum funding in Horizon Europe