Horizon 2020: Managing my award

So, you have been successful in winning Horizon 2020 funding in a very competitive funding environment. Now to get your project started. Post award support can, broadly, be divided into two phases – Award, implementation and handover, and Project delivery.

Post award support

Award, implementation and handover

Research Services will work with you during the contracting stage (known as grant preparation and agreement in Horizon 2020 terminology). The EC will send a notification of award to the coordinating university which contains details of any additional information they require. We will contact the lead investigator at Sheffield to coordinate the grant preparation within the three month deadline and will provide details of what is required.

Key elements include:

  • Grant agreement preparation (01): During this phase all partners are instructed, by the coordinating partner, to provide information via the Research Participant Portal. If Sheffield is the coordinator, Research Services or departmental support will coordinate this activity with the partners. We will complete this information for Sheffield for all awards and arrange for the Declaration of Honour to be signed and submitted.
  • Grant agreement signature (02): The Commission drafts the grant agreement based on the information provided at application and grant agreement preparation phase. The agreement includes the budget and the original proposal. It is therefore important to ensure your proposal is accurate as this forms the basis for the agreement.
  • Ethics review (03): The EC may consider a proposal 'ethics ready', provide conditional clearance, or require a full Ethics Assessment prior to signature of the grant agreement. Additional information may be required and conditions may need to be written into the grant agreement.
  • Consortium agreement (04): All projects must have a consortium agreement to govern the relationship between the partners and build on the detail in the grant agreement. The coordinating partner is responsible for drafting and negotiating the agreement with all of the project partners. Research Services will start this process and progress can be tracked via the Contracts Tool on myResearch in MUSE.
  • Implementation Support (05): If Sheffield is the coordinator, the project will be handed over to the relevant Faculty Research Finance team as soon as the grant agreement is signed. The consortium agreement is negotiated in parallel to the account (UBASE) being set up ready for the project to begin. If Sheffield is a partner, the award cannot be handed over to finance until the consortium agreement is fully signed, unless the Department can underwrite the financial risks to the project. During this period, the EU Implementation Manager based in Research Services will provide guidance and coordinate any professional service support that is needed in the early stages of new projects (05) – typically liaising with Faculty Research Finance team, HR, Estates, Procurement, and Capital Finance and local Faculty and department-based support to ensure that funded projects can start quickly and with the required resources in place. Where costed into the proposal, day to day project management will then be supported by a dedicated project manager- typically for large collaborative projects where University of Sheffield is the coordinator. Otherwise, support will be arranged locally, or the investigator may have chosen to manage their projects themselves. In consultation with Faculty Research Finance, the recruitment process for new posts can begin once the award is made (for example, drafting the advertisement). However, appointments can't be finalised until the grant agreement has been signed.

Project Delivery

Once a project is up and running, Faculty Research Finance team will work with PIs, project managers and departments to provide support in the following main areas (06):

  • Income and expenditure reviews
  • Preparation of periodic financial reports that need to be returned to the European commission along with the scientific reports produced by the PI and project team.
  • E-recruitment approval
  • Audits-preparation and query resolution

In addition, Faculty Research Finance team will ultimately manage closure of the grant following the final project report to the European Commission.

Who to contact

Contact Dr Andrew Isaac (a.d.isaac@sheffield.ac.uk, ext 21338) for help and support with implementing an EU project.