All formal steps in the preparation of the grant agreement are described in the H2020 online manual. If you compare the EC grant agreement – which protects the interests of the European Union and the funds of European citizens – to that of the DESCA consortium agreement, there will be topics covering both documents. The consortium agreement should protect the project and the interests of the partners. Note: The costs of developing a consortium agreement are non-refundable, as the consortium agreement must be signed before the grant agreement is signed. However, the costs associated with updating the consortium agreement are eligible if they are incurred during the duration of the action. The consortium agreement complements the Horizon 2020 award agreement. While the grant agreement defines the binding legal relationship between the European Commission and the project partners, the consortium agreement defines and regulates the relationships between the partners themselves. Unlike the subsidy agreement (which is defined and cannot be amended), the Horizon 2020 consortium agreement is essentially a trade agreement between the partners. As such, it is flexible and can be adapted to the specific needs of the project and its partners. Remember — once the Horizon 2020 project is funded, a consortium partner will work together for a long time. That is why it is very important to have a binding agreement that takes into account the different expectations, requirements and circumstances that may arise. There is a clear motivation to start drawing up the agreement as soon as possible.
This may be the case during the preparatory phase of the proposal, when operational relations between partners are in place and tasks are assigned. It is a good practice to ensure that the project is well planned, including all legal aspects, before it is presented. This practice can help avoid unwanted conflicts between partners in the future. So what needs to be done to best meet the needs of the consortium members at an early stage, without spending the resources and time before there is more clarity in funding? Once the erA-LEARN Cofund proposal has been proposed for funding, the EC will open a meeting on the participants` portal to prepare the grant agreement. Model consortium agreements for MSCA-ITN are also available for the first time in the Horizon 2020 programme. These projects were developed by the National Working Group (Bundesarbeitskreis) of EU Advisers in German Universities and Higher Education Institutions (BAK) and by the League of European Research Universities (LERU). Both models are based on LESCA. We also believe that the signature of the standard model will only serve to meet the essential requirements of having a certification body in order to complete the process of preparing the grant agreement (CAP). It will only effectively support the implementation of the project if the standard text is adapted to the needs of the project and the individual needs of the consortium.
A professional legal advisor experienced in such consortium contracts offers you the following services: As the consortium agreement is in fact a commercial agreement, we recommend the services of a legal advisor with expertise in the development of such agreements. In order to optimize the use of available time and resources, there is a good opportunity to develop this agreement, after the EC has indicated that the project will be chosen for funding and before the EC requests the signing of the grant agreement. This period is approximately three months, which is sufficient to prepare and conclude the consortium agreement. With regard to community payments, it is important to plan reference periods in accordance with the order of work. The second pre-financing will be required before the selected transnational project can begin. It is therefore advisable to take a closer look at liquidity, especially if you are the coordinator.