14 November 2022

ITN: A university had to use a small amount from the Β1. Research, Training & Networking costs category to top up the payment of a researcher. Is there a chance that the researcher cannot prove their dedication to the project in the case of audit?

It is allowed to use an unspent part of the institutional costs to complete the fellow’s salary (but not the opposite). Still, this should not prevent from implementing the project as planned. In case of an audit, it will be checked if the fellows were eligible, that they received the total amount of “researcher’s costs” (living, mobility and family allowances, if relevant), that the recruitment and hosting conditions were appropriate, and that the project was implemented as planned.

ITN: Are early-stage researchers entitled to receive daily allowances during their secondments?

Only the reimbursement of travel and accommodation expenses is mandatory. If the beneficiary wants to pay daily allowances to the researcher, it is possible, if they have enough funding remaining.

30 August 2022

IF: A researcher who has an Individual Fellowship which is ending in 4 months has found an attractive job offer and is thinking of terminating the fellowship in order not to lose the new job. Is this legally acceptable by the EC?

Yes, it is possible to terminate the fellowship earlier than planned, especially if the fellow has found an attractive job offer. The host institution needs to put in place an amendment to terminate the grant. The amounts corresponding to unspent months will have to be returned to the EC, but the funding corresponding to the project months already implemented does not have to be returned.

02 August 2022

COFUND: Is a researcher, employed through a H2020 MSCA COFUND, entitled to a family allowance if their family status change after they were recruited?

A COFUND project can be designed in many different ways and it is up to the beneficiary to decide how the researchers are funded. If the beneficiary wants to include family allowance after the recruitment, it is OK, but it is not a formal requirement from the EC/ REA. It can of course be evaluated positively from the evaluators as a clear support to offer the best conditions to the fellows. In addition, this would be unlikely, as in H2020 the MSCA rules did not foresee changes in the eligibility for family allowance during the fellowship duration.

30 June 2022

IF: A fellow recruited by an institution in country A would like to work part-time: 6 months in country A and 6 months in Country B - 50% of their time while in country A and 50% of their time while in country B. Is that possible?

REA does not implement 6 months in country A and 6 months in country B as part-time work. In the MSCA IF, part time for personal or professional reasons allows researchers to reduce their full-time daily activities. The researcher currently working for the MSCA project in country A should suspend the action to go to country B for a period of 6 months.

In any case, the beneficiary should contact the REA Project Officer in charge to discuss more in details the part-time project implementation.

IF: Could RTN costs be used for a top up to the salary of the researcher? If yes, which is the best way to do it - as a monthly top up or at the end of the project?

Yes, it is possible to use RTN costs for a top-up. The method is up to the host organisation and should depend on the circumstances and their normal practices. For one, it could be difficult to know beforehand how much of the funds will be unused, so it could be difficult to determine how big the monthly top-up should be. On the other hand, a large one-off payment could influence the researcher’s taxation regime.

01 June 2022

RISE: Can secondment start from a point other than the host country?

This can be solved by ‘following institutional practices’. There are no specific rules about these situations, so the organisations should just follow their normal practice. If they allow starting a non-RISE secondment from another location, then it should be fine. For example, when it can be proved that the trip would not be more expensive.

ITN: Where can fellows share their work with society? What other platforms, events, etc. (besides the European Researchers’ Night) are there for MSCA fellows?

Fellows can look for the following opportunities:

The host organisation's PR services, including social media channels.

Science weeks, science fairs, open-schools, etc. organised in their city/ region.

The European Science Engagement Association.

• The Falling Walls Lab.

The Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA offers talks on public engagement and semi-citizen/ semi-peer targeted outreach sessions at their events.

Apply at ESOF – EuroScience.

IF: When terminating the fellowship, you need to specify two dates – one for the last working day of the fellow and another which is the official termination date, which can be different. Would it be possible for the ‘last working day of the fellow’ to be in the past?

The ‘last working day of the fellow’ is the official day when the contract of the fellow ends, as this would indicate the latest eligible date of the unit costs. The ‘official termination date’ can be later, as there needs to be time to deliver reports, etc.

03 May 2022

ITN/ IF: A recruited ESR will move from a third country to the beneficiary in Europe. Can this travel cost be paid with the Research, Training and Networking unit costs?

The general principle is that the mobility allowance is spent on costs related to the ESR’s mobility (e.g. relating to travel and accommodation). This allowance covers private costs of the researchers.

The Research, Training and Networking costs are spent on travels in connection with the project (professional costs).

Additionally, the EC has suggested that possible visa costs can be taken from the RTN costs as well.

You can find some guidance in the AMGA, p. 455 and 461.