Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Implementation of Grants in the Net Futures Directorate

Implementation of Grants in the Net Futures Directorate

Administration & Finance (Unit E.5)

An efficient, timely implementation and full execution of the operational and administrative credits contributes to a proper financial management of the DG. Streamlining the financial rules and accelerating budget implementation will help economic recovery in the current financial crisis. Simplification of financial rules and procedures will lead to a more positive image of the institution and reduce overheads for the beneficiaries. The most efficient and effective manner should be found without compromising the quality of the projects or the indispensable checks that ensure sound financial management.


To ensure the coordination and implementation of all financial and contractual matters concerning FP7 Research projects for ICT,CIP and H2020 grants as well as administrative expenditure for events and studies with as result full budget consumption and achievement of targets for time to contract/payment. To give assurance that Directorate operates in compliance with the financial regulation, internal control standards and accounting rules.


Speeding up the processes by complying with the targets set for payment times and time to contract in the new Financial Regulation that came into force on 01/01/2013 shortening the time to pay to 90/30 days and introducing new limit on time to contract.In H2020 grant agreement should be signed within 8 (5+3) months of the closure of the call for proposals ("time to grant").Amendments of existing contracts take a long time which might have a negative impact on the acceleration of payment times. Delays can both occur on EC and consortium side. This can have a negative impact (delay) if an amendment is needed before a payment can be made.Conclusion of audits and the implementation of the results is a very lengthy process, on the one hand doing right to the beneficiary with a contradictory procedure, on the other hand creating uncertainty on the final outcome for both beneficiary and the consortium and suspension of payments in some cases.


Full-Time Equivalent: 
7.50 full-time equivalent (FTE)
The budget available for the directorate: We currently envisage supporting over 2014-2015 launching under the H2020 programme in the order of €455 million. In addition €130 million will be signed under the 3rd phase of the Future Internet PPP (FP7).

Note on HR calculations: The reductions in the estimated resources have been possible due to the outsourcing of H2020 AL payments to the agency, the harmonisation of procedures, the simplificatio in the calculations of additional costs in FP7 with the use of the 15% rule, the lack of negotiations in H2020 and, of course, the increase of working hours as of 1/1/14. Further efficiency gains can be expected in the future because of the fulle electronic treatment of various files that are currently on paper (contract signature, amendments, etc), the new IT tools as well as the simplification in the controls introduced by the H2020 financial rules (1 reimbursement rate per action, 1 indirect cost rate, less financial viability checks, audits happening closer to project end, etc). 

  • Informatics:  New IT systems: EMI (for Appointment Letters), SYGMA and COMPASS (for grant management).
  • Information: Available trainings/workshop in grant management, mainly under the lead of central units and/or shared by all DG's of the Research Family
  • Knowledge networks, either Directorate specific or under the lead of central units (Administration and Finance Units', Ex-Post Audit Correspondents', Financial Correspondents', Audit, Internal Control and Budgetary Committee meetings).

Smooth legacy of FP7/CIP programmes in parallel to H2020 start

Timeframe: 2014-2018



Net time to payment (lead indicator)

Target 100% (31/12/2014)
Baseline 95% (31/12/2013)
Chart URL See the chart

Time to amendment

No automatic recording is in place from the date the event occurs, so set-up of a systematic method of measurement is required. Once in place and after a certain trial period, a future target can be defined for the different steps.

Timeframe: Consulting assignment by IAC to document the process and its problem areas - Within 30 days sending email to beneficiary



Time to amendment

Target To be defined at later stage (End of 2014)

Time for audit implementation and calculation of impact after closure of the audit by R4

Does not include the recovery process itself.

Timeframe: Ongoing



Timely audit implementation

Target Audit implementation announced to beneficiary within 30 days after audit closure. (On-going)

100% of grant agreements signed from closing date of the call

Split in two phases max 6 months from call closure to the validation of the Negotiation report and then max 3 months to signature of the contract (source CORDA or specific query by R3). Deviations to be recorded according to the guidelines (to be received from directorate R).



Time To Grant (lead indicator)

Target 100% in 6+3 months (270 days) (Ongoing)
Baseline 76% grants signed in less than 270 days (31/12/2013)


Chart URL See the chart

Gross time to pay and transparency

  • 100% of payments done within the FR rules (90 days for grants, 30 days for other payments). Although a clear target, there might be cases that for reasons of sound financial management these deadlines cannot be met.
  • More than the legal time limits beneficiaries are interested in having precise information of the status of the payments (similar to package delivery tracking, Track and Trace for Transparency to be developed as part of COMPASS/SIGMA) as well as the total time to pay (specific query by R3).

Timeframe: Timeframe set by FR



Track and Trace for Transparency

Target To be defined at later stage (End of 2014)

Gross time to payment

Target 100% of payments done within the FR rules (End of 2014)
Baseline Analyse the current statistics in terms of total time to pay, identify areas to improve and set baseline & targets

Faster release of funding

To provide our customers with a better cash-flow and allow them also to fulfill their own financial obligations within a shorter timing, thereby creating a knock-on effect on economy.

Timeframe: Effects to be measured end of FP7 and midterm evaluation H2020



Impact on growth

Target Positive impact on growth (Mid-term evaluation of H2020)
Baseline Impact on growth (End of FP7)

Earlier signature of contracts

This will give beneficiaries a legal basis to hire staff and begin earlier with the research work which would have a positive effect on unemployment.

Timeframe: Effects to be measured end of FP7 and midterm evaluation H2020



Impact on unemployment

Baseline Effect on unemployment (End of FP7 and mid-term evaluation of H2020)

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • As service unit we contribute to the top level targets of the other units in the Directorate in connection to its DAE and H2020.
  • In response to the economic situation, the Commission is enhancing EU budget execution and speeding up the payments to beneficiaries.
  • Sound financial management
  • Investment in R&D
  • Employment rate