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Presentation to ITRE Hearing “ Implementing the Research Framework Programme How to Reduce Red Tape and Increase Effectiveness” Christopher John Hull Secretary General, European Association of Research and Technology Organisations. Brief Words about EARTO and RTOs. EARTO represents 350 RTOs

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Presentation to ITRE Hearing“Implementing the Research Framework ProgrammeHow to Reduce Red Tape and Increase Effectiveness”Christopher John HullSecretary General, European Association of Research and Technology Organisations

brief words about earto and rtos
Brief Words about EARTO and RTOs

EARTO represents 350 RTOs

  • mission-oriented research organisations
  • generally government owned, government sponsored, government sanctioned
  • 150,000 employees, €15 billion annual turnover
  • Some of our larger members: VTT, SINTEF, Swedish industrial institutes, Teknologisk, TNO, VITO, Fraunhofer, Technology Partners, Bay Zoltan, Instituts CARNOT, FEDIT Technological Centres…
  • Major players in Framework programme
    • e.g. Fraunhofer 2ndlargest single player in FP6: >500 project participations,
    • e.g. 5 largestRTOsabove: >1,400 project participations, >€520 million EU funding
promised simplifications in fp7 i
Promised Simplifications in FP7 - I

Guarantee Fund

  • Too early to say
  • Original intention was to protect participants as much as the public purse
  • Evidence suggests has not facilitated smaller companies or smaller research organisations as project coordinators

Single Registration Facility

  • Valuable, teething problems, slow validation

Flat rates, lump sums

  • Simplification for Commission, complication for most players (who use real-cost accounting)
    • Absurd that participants are required to produce (real-cost) accounts showing that they spent at least the value of the fixed amounts received (Marie Curie)
promised simplifications in fp7 ii
Promised Simplifications in FP7 - II

Methodology Certification

  • Average personnel costs, overall financial reporting
  • Average personnel cost certification in its present form will be an almost complete failure
    • Criteria too restrictive (notably 25% deviation criterion)
    • Does not correspond to common practice in industry (cost centre averaging)
    • Does not correspond to common practice in research organisations
    • Probably many universities using full cost will find themselves disqualified
  • Evidence collected from 30 of the largest RTOs in Europe (several ‘000 project participations in FP6):
    • Almost all normally use average personnel costs (“usual accounting and management principles and practices”)
    • 24 of 30 (80%) definitely cannot meet the Commission’s criteria (most of the others uncertain – partly a problem of cross-time stability of remuneration profiles)
    • 2 will anyway switch to direct costs for reasons of legal certainty (distrust of the Commission), despite the additional administrative cost
promised simplifications in fp7 iii
Promised Simplifications in FP7 - III

Audit Certificates

  • In principle, a major advance
  • In practice, probably redundant in view of Commission’s auditing campaign
    • Ex-post FP6 audits
    • “real-time” FP7 audits
climate of mistrust
Climate of Mistrust

Ex-post FP6 Audits

  • Successive tightening of definitions
  • Multiple audits by COM and ECA
  • Retrospective, unilateral redefinition of eligible costs
background to climate of mistrust
Background to Climate of Mistrust

Financial Regulation

Auditing Approach of the ECA

Rules of Participation

  • Principles rather than precise definitions
  • Interpreted in the past with intelligent discretion in order to accommodate real differences between countries and categories of FP participant
what to do
What to Do?

The Past

  • Stop trying to fix the past (cf. EP 2007 budget discharge amendment)
  • Focus on fixing the future

The Future

  • Put clear, uniformly agreed rules (definitions, control framework) in place for FP8
  • EP (ITRE, CONT) could take lead in establishing an inter-institutional “Round Table” to achieve this?
  • Associate stakeholders to ensure rules and definitions that correspond to real-world practice

The Present

  • In the meantime, manage FP7 projects with intelligent discretion, notably by respecting the principle of “in accordance with the usual accounting and management principles and practices of the participant” RoP, Art. 31(3)c