III.5. The contract
Contracts are issued to proposals successful in the procedure of selection.
III.5.1. The various types of contracts
Research contracts from the Commission fall into five main groups. They each have their own detailed conditions, appropriate to the types of action and the activities to which they refer. (see boxes 6, 7 and 8).
III.5.2. The subject of the contract
The main obligation of the participants is to carry out the project to completion in a pre-arranged period, and to make use of or disseminate its results.
In return, the Commission undertakes to contribute financially to the realisation of the project, normally by reimbursing a certain percentage of the project costs.
III.5.3. Rights and obligations of participants
Participants in an action supported by the Community are individually subject to all rights obtained, and all obligations incurred towards the Commission. However, these may vary according to the nature of the action or the category of participant:
Participants in an action may conclude between themselves any agreements necessary to the completion of the work, provided these do not infringe on their obligations as stated in the Commission contract.
III.5.4. The co-ordination of the project
Within a consortium, participants shall designate one of the principal contractors to warrant the co-ordination function.
The co-ordinator is subject to supplementary rights and obligations towards the Commission, due to his functions as liaison between the participants and the Commission, responsible for collecting, integrating and submitting project deliverables, and for distributing the funds received from the Commission.
The costs incurred by the co-ordinator in the fulfilment of his responsibilities may be reimbursed under certain conditions (see boxes 6 and 7).
It should be noted that the successful management of the project is a common commitment of all the participants. They may however agree amongst themselves to confer upon the co-ordinator additional responsibilities, provided this does not infringe on their obligations as stated in the Commission contract.
III.5.5. External services
Sub-contractors are not participants in a project. They function only as service provider to a principal contractor, an assistant contractor or a member, who fully funds their activity. This funding is then reimbursable by the Commission according to the rules of the contract in force.
Sub-contractors make no financial investment in the project, and they therefore do not benefit from any intellectual property rights arising from its achievements (see boxes 6 and 7).
III.6. Project follow-up
In order for the Commission to verify the execution of the contract, participants are required to submit, via the co-ordinator interim and final reports as well as reports of costs incurred.
These reports will be analysed by Commission services in the light of the criteria, which lead to the original selection of the proposal, to ensure the project conforms to the conditions associated with the Community financial contribution, and that the progress foreseen actually takes place. The reports are also used to assess whether and in what manner the project should continue to be supported.
In addition, and conforming to objectives stated in the Fifth Framework Programme decision concerning valorisation and dissemination, the Commission will follow-up the implementation of the results of the project. To this end participants are required to produce before the end of the project a “Technology Implementation Plan” indicating how the knowledge gained will be used. The Commission will ensure, where necessary, the confidentiality of these data.
III.7. Financial contribution of the Community
In exchange for the execution of the research project by the participants, and their use of the results, the Commission undertakes a financial contribution to the work.
With the exception of those cases where the Commission's contribution takes the form of a lump sum, payment consists in the reimbursement of eligible costs incurred by participants following a predetermined calculation method. Payment is made in instalments at regular intervals.
III.7.1. Incurred eligible costs
In order that the Commission fulfils this obligation, participants are required to identify and declare their eligible costs by the submission of interim and final cost statements. Participants must retain supporting documents, which justify these costs, for at least 5 years from the end of the contract, to permit inspection by Commission services or other institutions, particularly the Court of Auditors.
The different categories of costs that are eligible for Commission funding differ according to type of contract (see boxes 6 and 7).
III.7.2. Calculation methods
A number of different methods for calculating the Commission funding are applied, depending on the type of action involved and on the participant’s capacity to identify his incurred costs (see boxes 6 and 7).
III.7.3. Payment of the contribution
The Community contribution is paid in Euro, in a number of regular instalments based on cost claims submitted by participants with their interim and final reports.
The Commission may make advance payments at the beginning of project, contingent on verification of the participants’ financial standing. In certain circumstances the Commission may request financial or other guarantees to ensure the security of any advance payment made. This is particularly necessary for those shared-cost actions where the participants themselves are expected to support part of the cost.
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