In the run-up to the Commission proposal for Horizon Europe’s rules for participation, universities call for effective simplification of EU funding management. Simpler rules for participation have the potential to increase the added value and improve the efficiency and impact of EU funding. For Framework Programme beneficiaries, this primarily involves reducing the incompatibilities between EU funding requirements and institutional financial management systems.
Universities are established institutions with professional financial management procedures that are regulated and audited at national level. Therefore, EUA recommends embracing and making operational a trust-based approach that can support a greater alignment between European, national and regional programmes.
This is best achieved by improving acceptance of institutional accounting practices and EUA proposes to make it operational by providing beneficiaries with the following options:
Elaborating an adequate, functional procedure for certifying national and institutional accounting methodologies at the beginning of the Horizon Europe programme;
Developing improved rules based on current Horizon 2020 procedures.
Moreover, beneficiaries should be able to opt for new and simplified funding methods and be allowed to choose to continue using successful management systems already put in place in Horizon 2020. As guiding principles, such simplified funding methods should effectively reduce the administrative burden, ensure fair accessibility and competition, and ensure transparent financial management.
The recommendations put forward in EUA’s report on impactful Framework Programme simplification build on EUA’s work on sufficient, sustainable and simple EU Funding for Universities. The report draws its conclusions from the 2017-2018 EUA member consultation on new and simplified forms of funding introduced in Horizon 2020. Specific feedback from the EUA expert group of university practitioners active in European and national research funding programmes, as well as the results of the broader EUA consultation on the Horizon 2020 mid-term review also supported and complemented the report results.