The safety and health of researchers participating in any EU project takes priority over any research deliverables. The University’s dedicated page on Coronavirus (Covid-19) contains university-wide guidance for all researchers to follow. The information below contains EU specific guidance and resources for both current projects and those seeking to apply for EU funding.
What should I do if my EU-funded project is affected by Covid-19?
Any projects which have been affected by COVID-19 containment measures should refer firstly to Article 51 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement covering force majeure. This stipulates that beneficiaries should contact the Commission, or relevant executive agency, to discuss issues that may affect the implementation of projects. Therefore, if your EU project has faced disruption due to Covid-19 restrictions (e.g. travel restrictions or isolation of staff members), you should contact your EU project officer. They will help you to decide what action needs to be taken with regard to the continuation or amendment of your project. Each case will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Please copy the EU Team into correspondence so we can keep track of projects affected and use information from responses to advise other grant-holders.
Can I travel as part of my EU-funded project?
For the most up-to-date advice on the rules around travel, please consult the University travel advice page. We advise any PIs who are intending to travel for meetings to contact the meeting organiser to see if the meeting will proceed via video conferencing, be cancelled or postponed.
Frequently asked questions
The European Commission maintain a series of FAQs relating to Covid 19. Click the drop-down menu below to view further information on specific schemes and to consult the questions included in the EU Portal COVID-19 FAQs:
General H2020 FAQs
- Are extra costs for the performance of the Horizon 2020 action due to the COVID-19 safety measures eligible for funding?
- Will the EU contribute to the salaries of researchers working in a Horizon 2020 action for the time they could not work due to the COVID-19 confinement measures (for actual costs grants)?
- Are evaluations and monitoring reviews still taking place?
- Can the clause on “force majeure” in the Horizon 2020 grant agreement be invoked in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak?
- How can beneficiaries support the hours worked in the Horizon 2020 action if the employees cannot sign or have their timesheets countersigned due to the COVID-19 pandemic measures?
- In Horizon 2020 grants, what happens to costs for equipment purchased exclusively for the action implementation when it cannot be used due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related confinement measures?
- In Horizon 2020 grants, will there be any flexibility given in relation to beneficiaries’ usual travel costs practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Is there any possibility to extend the project duration of Horizon 2020 grants and to increase the EU funding due to the COVID-19 situation?
- Is there any possibility to rapidly re-direct work in on-going Horizon 2020 projects to help tackling the Covid-19 outbreak?
- Related to the Covid-19 outbreak, how will the funding bodies handle possible delays in submitting deliverables and reports in Horizon 2020 grants?
- Related to the Covid-19 outbreak, is it possible in Horizon 2020 grants to postpone the starting date of the action?
- Related to the Covid-19 outbreak, what happens in Horizon 2020 grants if beneficiaries cannot submit all/complete elements for their reports related to interim and final payments?
- What about Horizon 2020 grants involving public procurement when there are difficulties in implementing procurement contracts due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
- What happens to costs in Horizon 2020 grants when there are difficulties in implementing the action due to the Covid-19 situation?
- What supporting documentation must beneficiaries of Horizon 2020 grants keep to prove the impact of ‘force majeure’ or delays in the submission of deliverables, reports or implementation of the action due to COVID-19 outbreak?
- Will the deadlines for Horizon 2020 calls be extended related to the COVID-19 outbreak?
- Will there be flexibility for beneficiaries in H2020 lump sum pilot grants, if the work packages cannot be completed at the end of the reporting period due to COVID-19 outbreak?
- Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, how may beneficiaries address potential delays in finalising the action tasks at the last reporting period in order for the consortium to be able to submit the final report and to be paid?
While there is no possibility to increase the maximum grant amount due to legal and financial constraints, the European Commission has introduced a wide range of flexibility measures to address the difficulties faced by fellows and projects funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).
The Commission have developed a specific Coronavirus resources page on the MSCA website. The dedicated resource page provides up-to-date information for all MSCA researchers and projects.
UKRO has also put together a dedicated resources page for Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions & COVID-19-related issues. This page gathers information relating to COVID-19 and the delivery of Marie Curie Actions, provided by the EC and other official sources. You will need to login to UKRO to view this page. If you do have already have an UKRO account, you can register for one using your Leeds e-mail address.
You can also consult the following FAQs from the Commission website:
- In case a H2020 Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowships researcher decides to return to Europe during the outbreak, what will happen with the project? If teleworking is allowed, can the MSCA researcher telework either in a third country or in Europe?
- One of the requirements under MSCA projects is the “mobility rule” (see Part 3 of the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020). What happens if the mobility rule can no longer be fulfilled as a consequence of the COVID-19 related travel restrictions?
- Can the beneficiary in Horizon 2020 Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) pay the MSCA researcher less during the COVID-19 period, such as not to pay a mobility allowance as the researcher cannot travel?
- What happens to researcher costs in Horizon 2020 Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) when there are difficulties in implementing the MSCA action due to the COVID-19 situation?
- Will the Commission/Agency be flexible if beneficiaries need to modify the researcher recruitment and working conditions due to the COVID-19 outbreak (e.g. suspend MSCA researcher’s contract or include part-time working arrangements)?
- Related to the COVID-19 outbreak, how will the Commission/Research Executive Agency (REA) handle delays in the project implementation in Horizon 2020 Marie-Sklodowska-Curie (MSCA) ongoing grants?
- In MSCA Individual Fellowships, when a researcher cannot move to the country of the beneficiary/partner organisation in a third country for COVID-19-related reasons, can he/she work on the action “remotely” from his/her current place of residence?
- Can certain activities be implemented during COVID-19-related suspension periods in MSCA Research and Innovation Staff Exchange projects in order to maintain the project running and to ensure the smooth transition after the suspension?
The ERC coronavirus website has some useful information covering the following topics:
- Remote panel evaluations
- Postponing your project start or extending duration of a project
- Reorienting your project to COVID-19
- Flexibility on teleworking and time commitments
- Maximum grant amounts
You can also consult the following FAQs from the Commission website:
The COST Association has recommended the use of virtual meetings until further notice. As different countries are implementing different measures regarding gatherings and events, they advise all Actions to check individual country stipulations before planning any future meetings.
As a result of the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the COST Association has written to all COST Action Chairs and COST Grant Holders confirming an extension of the current Grant Action Period for 2020-21, until the 31 October 2021. This is in line with the COST Association’s current contract held with the European Commission under Horizon 2020.