Research & Innovation - Participant Portal H2020 Online Manual

Back Print
IT help

Signing a contract and payment

Contracts

If you are selected as an expert, you will be offered a contract through the Participant Portal. This contract (including its annexes) defines all the rights, obligations, terms and conditions applicable to you. It is not an employment contract or agreement.

Your contract will be based on the model contract for experts. Some of the terms and conditions in your contract will vary, depending on the type of expert activity that you are asked to carry out. The contract will indicate

  • whether or not your work will involve travel,
  • the maximum number of days of work that you will be paid for and
  • the planned calendar for your work.

Your correspondence with the Commission

All your correspondence with the Commission is electronic. You should use only the My Expert Area (Participant Portal) to communicate about your contract, e.g.

  • submitting your identity/bank account details
  • signing your contract (electronic-signature)
  • making requests for payment and providing related supporting documents.

For any other correspondence related to your contract that the My Expert Area does not currently support, use the email address indicated in Article 21.3 of your contract.

Signing the contract

You must sign the contract online in the My Expert Area of the Participant Portal. You will receive an email notification inviting you to do so, with a link to the contract.
The contract enters into force only once it has been signed by both parties. The contract must be signed by both yourself and the Commission by the day on which you start working as an expert. Please do not forget to obtain permission from your employer to carry out your expert activities if your employer requires this for outside activities – this is your responsibility.
You may start work as soon as the contract has entered into force.
If you have a contract to act as an evaluator or monitor, you will be granted access to the IT system for the relevant proposals or project reports once the contract has entered into force.

Code of conduct

You need to adhere to the code of conduct in Annex 1 of the model contract, which includes rules on the performance of the contract and obligations of impartiality and confidentiality. It is important that you read Annex 1 carefully before signing the contract. See also "conflicts of interest and confidentiality" below.

Conflicts of interest and confidentiality

Conflicts of interest

When contracting independent experts, the Commission ensures - to the best of its knowledge - that you, as an expert, do not have any conflicts of interest on the activity that you are being asked to undertake and, in particular, any proposal or project you are called upon to assess.

You should be independent, impartial and objective, and behave professionally at all times.

The contract you sign before starting work includes a declaration that you accept and will abide by the Code of Conduct (Annex 1 of the contract). This means, amongst other things, that

  • you declare that no conflict of interest exists and
  • you will inform the Commission if you should discover that any such conflict arises in the course of your duties.
  • If, at the time that you sign the contract, you are already aware that you may be in a position of conflict of interest, you are required to declare this.

Consequences of a Conflict of Interest?

To avoid situations of conflicts of interest, the Commission may withdraw experts from evaluation or monitoring duties if it deems that this is necessary. You will be informed if this happens to you and advised as to what to do if you need to take action.

  • If you knowingly conceal a conflict of interest and this is discovered during your activities as an expert, you will be dismissed with immediate effect, your contract will be terminated and the measures laid down in the contract will be taken.

Example: Submitting proposals for funding while working as an expert

  • If you submit a research proposal for evaluation, you are not necessarily excluded from acting as an expert evaluator, provided that you declare it and that there is no conflict of interest. In this case, you will not be assigned to evaluate your own proposal or any proposals which may be competing with it.

We strongly advise you make sure that you have properly understood the provisions laid down in the Code of Conduct, especially which situations are automatically considered to be a conflict of interest.

Confidentiality

If your role involves handling classified information, you will need security clearance before entering into a contract.

The Commission publishes an annual list of experts who have worked for us but we do not disclose who has worked on which proposals.

Before assigning a project to you for monitoring activities, the Commission may inform the project consortium of your name. The consortium may reject our choice of expert in the interests of commercial confidentiality.
Exception: With regard to the ERC, the Principal Investigator has the right to refuse the inclusion of up to three experts.

Payment

Requests for payment

Once your work is completed, you will receive an e-mail inviting you to submit your request for payment through the My Expert Area on the Participant Portal.
Travel expenses: When you claim your travel expenses, you should upload scanned copies of all the original supporting documents as requested.
You must keep records and other supporting documents for at least two years after the payment is made to show that you have complied in full with the terms of your contract.
Deadline: You should submit your request for payment within 30 days of receiving the email invitation.
Bank account: You should request payment on one of the bank accounts which you have listed in the My Expert Area.
The Commission will make payments within 30 days of receiving the reports, deliverables or completed payment requests (whichever comes latest) provided they are complete and the Commission approves them.

Amount of the payment

You will be paid EUR 450 for each full day of work calculated to the nearest half day except in the following two cases:

  • for remote work carried out by evaluators, any work that you are specifically asked to carry out remotely will be paid in accordance with Article 4.1 of your contract.
  • you are covered by one of the exceptional situations for which a zero fee contract must be issued (e.g. for former EU staff in receipt of an allowance) or you requested that a zero fee contract be issued

The contract sets out the maximum total number of days of work that you can be paid for. This is an upper ceiling. The number of working days that you will be paid for is based on the actual task assigned and worked; this may be less than the maximum number of working days.

  • Please note that you will not receive payment for tasks that are not covered by the contract (or an amendment to it) and which are not specifically assigned to you, either via the relevant IT system, or in writing by the Commission.

The reimbursement of travel expenses and payments of accommodation allowance and daily allowance (see below) are made on request and in accordance with the Commission Rules on the reimbursement of expenses of experts (see the annex of Commission Decision C(2007)5858).

Travel expenses

If your contract includes activities involving travel, expenses are refunded for this travel - normally between the address indicated in the contract (the address registered in your expert profile) and the meeting venue indicated in Article 3.2 of the contract. If you exceptionally need to travel to or from a different location than the address in the contract, you need the Commission's explicit agreement prior to purchasing your tickets.
You should book your travel as soon as possible to keep costs reasonable, but you should NOT book your travel before your contract has been signed by both Parties.

Accommodation and daily allowances

The Commission also pays accommodation allowances and daily allowances to experts who are entitled to receive thisthem:

  • accommodation allowance is EUR 100 per night
  • daily allowance is a flat rate of EUR 92 to cover all expenditure at the place where the meeting/work is held, including meals and local transport (bus, tram, metro, taxi, parking, motorway tolls, etc.) as well as travel and accident insurance
  • experts who live less than 100km from the meeting venue receive a daily allowance of €46, and are not eligible to receive the accommodation allowance
  • allowances may be increased for disabled experts, see below.

Other expenses

Expenses that you incur as a result of special instructions received in writing from the Commission, different from the contract terms, may be reimbursed in justified cases on presentation of supporting documents. Please note that no other expenses will be reimbursed.

Taxation issues
You are obliged to ensure compliance with your national legislation on taxes and social security law – this is your responsibility. Any payment you receive is not exempted from national taxes.
If you are considered to supply a taxable service under national tax law and you are registered for VAT as a natural person in an EU Member State, you can benefit from a VAT exemption certificate for payments made under your contract. Further information on the VAT situation can be found in the FAQs on the Participant Portal.

Disabled experts
If an expert's disability requires that a person accompany him/her when travelling, then the travel expenses of that person will also be refunded upon prior request. The Commission will also pay accommodation allowances and daily allowances to the accompanying person.

Keeping supporting documents:
You must keep records or other supporting documents for two years from the date of the last payment made under the contract that the work relates to, when you work as an expert. The Commission may ask you to provide these documents as evidence that the contract was carried out correctly and that any expenses claimed are genuine.