The coronavirus pandemic has implications for student and staff mobility and projects funded by EU programmes such as Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020.
Several application deadlines for Erasmus+ have been extended. Furthermore, the Commission announced to apply maximum flexibility in the implementation of the Erasmus+ programme within the limits of the legal framework. The Commission issued guidance to Erasmus+ National Agencies allowing them to invoke “force majeure” clauses. This makes it possible to cover certain additional costs of mobile students and staff due to the special situation and postpone activities when needed. A webinar organised by the European Students’ Union (ESU) and the Erasmus Students’ Network (ESN) with speakers from the European Commission and Erasmus+ National Agencies provides further information on the situation of mobile students. The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission, which manages the Erasmus+ centralised actions, has published information for project coordinators on what to do in case their project is impacted by the crisis as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
For Horizon 2020, extensions have been applied for all calls with an original deadline between 17 March and 15 April 2020. No extension is applied to the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) and EIC pilot calls linked to research and innovation projects to address the coronavirus pandemic. Further details are published on the call and topic pages on the Funding and Tenders Portal. The Commission also published answers to frequently asked questions about the impact on ongoing Horizon 2020 projects such as the possibility to invoke “force majeure” clauses of grant agreements. The Commission is continuously updating this section following feedback from the sector and discussions with the National Contact Points.
As the crisis develops, the European Commission may adopt further measures. EUA encourages the Commission to continue providing flexible solutions for beneficiaries of EU programmes and sharing them via FAQs. EUA works to keep members informed and also recommends to regularly check the related Commission websites for updates as the situation evolves.
By 31 March, 18 new research projects involving 140 research teams investigating different issues around the coronavirus pandemic have been shortlisted for total 48.5 million euros in EU funding.