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Funding: what is it and how does it work?

The Euratom 'fission' programme uses a subset of the funding schemes available in the EC Framework Programme. This includes: Collaborative Projects (either large-scale 'integrating' projects or small/medium scale 'focused' projects), whose main objective is to support R&D activities; Networks of Excellence, supporting the sustainable integration of key R&D actors in specific sectors; and Coordination and Support Actions, which provide funding for coordinating or support activities (including training, access to infrastructure, pilot studies, etc) but not for research per se.

The funding under the Euratom fission programme is provided in the same manner as under the EC FP Cooperation programme. Once a proposal has been favourably evaluated and contract negotiations successfully concluded with the consortium, a legal contract (call a 'Grant Agreement') is drawn up between the Commission and the consortium. After signature, the Commission will provide a significant pre-financing at the launch of a project of up to 85% of the total EC contribution. The reporting periods are typically 18 months, and at the end of each period the pre-financing is recalculated as eligible costs on the basis of cost statements supplied by the consortium partners. The Commission pays the EC contribution to the project coordinator, who is then responsible for distributing to the other consortium partners.

The Commission also requires the consortium partners to sign a consortium agreement, but the Commission is not a party to this. It deals with issues such as intellectual property rights (IPR). As in the EC FP, the foreground knowledge acquired during the project is owned and exploited by the project partners, in conformity with the consortium agreement.