Lump-sum funding in Horizon Europe as of 2023
While in the 2021-2022 work programme only 20 Horizon calls were awarded flat-rate grants, from next year onwards up to 25% of the large Horizon calls will be awarded flat-rate grants. Most of the flat-rate grants will be in the second pillar of the €95.9 billion research programme, which supports cross-border research.
Funding for projects supported under the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation was still mainly based on reimbursement of actual costs incurred in Horizon 2020. However, due to the high time and effort involved as well as the susceptibility to errors, the European Commission is aiming for greater use of lump sums under Horizon Europe.
The lump sums are determined in advance by the applicant consortium and fixed in the grant agreement. They are paid after completion of the activities within the agreed work packages. Beyond that, not much changes in the planning, evaluation and implementation of the projects funded by lump sums. Payment of the lump sums also does not depend on successful project results (which are never certain in research) and follows the usual payment schedule. Projects funded with lump sums can be managed as flexibly as traditional projects based on actual costs, and their performance is judged by the same standards.
The move is intended to benefit smaller institutions and companies with less experience of EU programmes. Over 70% of grants go to smaller organisations that receive only one or two grants and therefore usually do not have the internal administrative capacity to report on actual costs.
However, for the tenders of such lump sum grants, the budget planning is a bit more detailed, as the reimbursement of costs is based on the work described and carried out there. The EU has provided a template for detailed cost planning. The costs indicated in the budget planning must therefore be a comprehensible estimate of the actual project costs.
In the Funding & Tenders Portal, the European Commission has set up a webpage for "Lump Sum" funding in Horizon Europe. This contains all information on this type of project funding as well as a list of the currently announced calls with "lump sum" funding. This document explains the benefits of lump sums and how they work in practice:
Lump sum grants in Horizon Europe: Why do we need them and how do they work in practice?