MediTec

Capacity-Building projects in the field of Higher Education (CBHE)

 Guidelines for the Use of the Grant

 For grants awarded in 2017 under Call EAC/A03/2016

VERSION 02: 09 JANUARY 2018

These Guidelines for the Use of the Grant must be read jointly with the Guidelines for the Special

Mobility Strand if applicable.

INTRODUCTION

 These Guidelines are an essential tool that complements the rules and regulations set out in the Grant Agreement and its annexes (hereafter referred to as 'the Agreement') for all projects awarded under the Call for Proposals EAC/A03/2016. They provide guidance to the beneficiaries with regards to the implementation of the activities and the use of the grant relating to Capacity Building Projects in the field of Higher Education (hereafter referred to as "CBHE") funded under the Erasmus+ programme.

 They must be applied in full compliance with the Erasmus+ Programme Guide and the above mentioned Call for

Proposals as well as with the Grant Agreement.

 Joint and Structural projects that were also selected for the E+ CBHE Special Mobility Strand receive financial support for mobility scholarships targeting students and staff for studying, training or teaching purposes.

 Specific provisions related to the preparation, implementation and overall management of the Special Mobility Strand as well as specific financial guidelines on the use of the Special Mobility grant are reported in separated Guidelines for the Special Mobility Strand.

 Both documents, Guidelines for the Use of the Grant and Guidelines for the Special Mobility Strand, are published on the website of the Agency:

https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/beneficiaries-space/capacity-building-in-field-higher-education-2017_en

 The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (hereafter referred to as 'the Agency') reserves the right to amend these Guidelines in case additional clarification and instruction is required without prejudice to the beneficiaries. In case an updated version of these Guidelines will be published on the website of the Agency, the coordinators of the concerned projects will be informed accordingly.

 

  1. GENERAL ISSUES

  1.1 Communication with the Agency

 Each CBHE project will be supervised by the Agency throughout its contractual period and even beyond it.

 In order to implement this supervision and to provide the necessary assistance to the projects, a Project Officer (PO) in the Agency has been assigned to each CBHE project. This PO will be the primary contact person of the project in the Agency1.

 In this context:

 all project contacts with the Agency must take place through the contact person of the coordinating institution who represents the whole partnership; only in exceptional and/or duly justified circumstances, the Agency will enter into correspondence with other beneficiaries;

  •  only written contacts (through letters or emails) may be taken into account for contract management purposes; this applies to amendment and/or special authorisation requests introduced by the project, as well as to the response given by the Agency;
  • electronic messages must always be sent to the email address of the PO in charge AND to the functional mailbox (EACEA-EPLUS-CBHE-PROJECTS@ec.europa.eu). The purpose of this functional mailbox is to ensure a centralised monitoring of the project correspondence, as well as a follow-up of the message in the absence of the PO.

For more information on the Agency's project supervision and monitoring activities see below under section 4.

 1.2 Composition of the Partnership

 The institutions listed in Annex IV of the Agreement (list of beneficiaries and mandates) compose the Partnership in charge of implementing the project. Only those beneficiary2  organisations appearing in Annex IV of the Grant Agreement can benefit directly from the EU grant.

 Please note that from a contractual point of view "associated partners" are not part of the beneficiaries' organisations. As a result, they cannot benefit directly from the EU grant. If necessary, their participation costs in project activities will have to be covered via the co-financing contribution provided by the beneficiary organisations or by their sponsors.

 Any modification to list of institutions contained in the Annex IV such as the addition of an institution located in a programme country or in an eligible Partner Country, or the withdrawal of an institution is only possible upon prior written  approval  of  the  Agency.  Further  details  are  given  below  under  the  section  2.3  "Amendments to  the Agreement".

 1.3 Mandates

 The signed mandates submitted with the application bind all beneficiaries to the legal provisions of the Agreement and give power of attorney to the coordinator to sign and act on their behalf. The sole contact person for the Agency concerning all project matters is the coordinator.

 In practice, the mandate means that:

 beneficiaries have jointly full financial responsibility for the project (including in the case of recovery);

  • the project accounts are maintained by the coordinator, drawing on the accounts of the beneficiaries;
  • beneficiaries agree to supply in due time the necessary information and supporting documents;
  • the total EU contribution is managed by the coordinator, but expenditure made by the beneficiaries is eligible, insofar as it respects the Agreement rules on the eligibility of costs;
  • direct audits can be carried out at the coordinator and/or any of the beneficiaries.

  Details on the general obligations and roles of the beneficiaries are given in Article II.1 (Annex II - General Conditions) of the Agreement.

 1.4 Partnership Agreement

 A  Partnership Agreement is  a  compulsory commitment that  must  be  agreed  and  signed  by  each  beneficiary organisation (Legal representative) and should be consistent with the provisions as laid out in the Agreement (and its annexes).

 A signed scanned copy of the Partnership Agreement must be provided by e-mail to the Agency within 6 months of the signature of the Agreement.

 Detailed implementation modalities of the project must be agreed upon by the beneficiaries and formalised in the Partnership Agreement. The Partnership Agreement can either be multilateral (i.e. single agreement signed by the coordinator and all the other beneficiary organisations) or bilateral (i.e. a different agreement signed between the coordinator and each beneficiary organisation) and should be drafted in the working communication language of the Partnership.

 Provisions of the Partnership Agreement(s) may be differentiated according to the special needs/requirements of each beneficiary, provided that transparency is ensured within the partnership.

 The Partnership Agreement will have to cover the various financial, technical and legal aspects related to the implementation of the project, including:

 beneficiaries' rights and obligations within the framework of the project and the Agreement;

  • beneficiaries' role and responsibilities in carrying out the work programme;
  • management and governance modalities;
  • financial management and related rules, in particular as concerns:

-  the budget structure (co-financing, breakdown of budget per activity and beneficiary, modalities of transfer of funds, etc.);

-  transfer of payments by the coordinating institution to partners (when, on the basis of what);

-  remuneration policy for staff;

-  payment modalities (reimbursement for travels and costs of stay, etc.);

  • reporting mechanisms (what, when and by whom);
  • conflict management mechanisms in case of problems or tasks/activities not properly implemented;
  • communication strategy (project  website, promotional material  and  its  dissemination, dissemination and exploitation plan);
  • sustainability strategy;
  • any other relevant topic for the efficient implementation of the project.

 Practical guidelines on aspects recommended to be covered in the Partnership Agreement and a template with core elements that might help drafting the internal Partnership Agreement can be found on the following Agency website: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/beneficiaries-space/capacity-building-in-field-higher-education-2017_en

 1.5 Co-financing principle

 The principle of co-financing has been taken into account in the definition of the funding approach and in particular in defining the level of the unit costs used to calculate the grant of the project3.

 According to the European Union Financial Regulation grants shall always involve co-financing. This means that the resources which are necessary to carry out the project shall not be provided entirely by the EU contribution.

 The grant awarded to CBHE projects is based on an estimated budget combining unit costs and actual costs and corresponds to the European Union financial contribution to the project, as indicated in Art I.3 and Annex III of the Agreement. In application of the co-financing principle, this amount has to be considered as a contribution to cover part of the costs incurred by the beneficiary institutions to carry out the activities foreseen in the project, and should not be mistaken with the total costs of the project which also include co-financing from the partner institutions.

 In practical terms, the implementation of the CBHE project may require other types of expenditures, not specifically foreseen and included in the budget of the grant (such as costs for dissemination, publishing, translation if not sub- contracted, overheads costs, bank fees etc.), that are supposed to be covered by co-financing. It is important to note that these expenditures covered by the co-financing will not be taken into account for the final calculation of the grant and therefore will not have any financial impact on it.

 Contrary to the approach followed under previous programmes (in particular the Tempus, ALFA or Lifelong Learning programmes), the co-financing contribution provided by the partnership will not need to be justified or demonstrated at final report stage. Practically, this means that no proofs of expenditure or supporting documents will be required by the Agency. Nevertheless, at final report stage and for statistical purposes only, the partnership will be invited to provide an indication on the level and source of co-financing made available for the implementation of the project. The final financial statement will contain a dedicated section where co-financing will have to be reported.

 1.6 Conflict of Interest

 According to Article II.4 of the Agreement the beneficiaries shall take all necessary measures to prevent any situation where the impartial and objective implementation of the Grant Agreement is compromised for reasons involving economic interest, political or national affinity, family or emotional ties or any other shared interest (“conflict of interests”).

 Any situation constituting or likely to lead to a conflict of interests during the implementation of the Agreement shall be notified to the Agency, in writing, without delay. The beneficiaries shall immediately take all the necessary steps to rectify this situation. The Agency reserves the right to verify that the measures taken are appropriate and may require additional measures to be taken within a specified deadline.

 According to Article II.16.3.1(c) of the Agreement, the Agency may decide to terminate the Agreement if the beneficiaries fail to comply with a substantial obligation under the terms of the Agreement.

 1.7 Publicity obligations and dissemination and exploitation of results

 1.7.1 Publicity

 CBHE beneficiaries must make themselves familiar with the publicity provisions stipulated in both the specific and the general conditions of the Agreement in conjunction with the guidelines for beneficiaries available  on the following Agency website (please select the Erasmus+ tab):

https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/about-eacea/visual-identity_en.

 CBHE beneficiaries should also carefully follow the instructions sent by email concerning the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform and familiarise themselves with the Frequent Answer Questions and instructions on the platform web-site on how to log on and upload their project results:

http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/projects/eplus-help/

 Any communication, publication or output resulting from the project, made by the beneficiaries jointly or individually, including at conferences, seminars or in any information or promotional materials (such as brochures, leaflets, posters, presentations, etc.), must indicate that the project has received European Union funding. This means that all material produced for project activities, training material, projects websites, videos and social media accounts created to promote the project, special events, posters, leaflets, press releases, CD ROMs, etc. must carry the Erasmus+ logo and mention: "Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union"

   Erasmus+ logo: Logo to be used:

 When displayed in association with another logo, the European Union emblem must have appropriate prominence.

  Disclaimer:

 Any publication or video should mention the following sentence:

 "This   project   has   been   funded   with   support   from   the   European   Commission.   This   publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein"

 For       other       official       EU       language       versions,       please       consult       the       following       website:

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/publ/graphics/beneficiaries_all.pdf