Under what circumstances must the Grant Agreement be amended?
If there are any changes to:
- its terms & conditions (e.g. data or options specific to that agreement)
- its annexes.
Amended provisions become an integral part of the agreement.
For H2020 policy on amendments, see Article 55 of the Annotated Model Grant Agreement.
Amendments requested by the Consortium
1. WHO CAN REQUEST AN AMENDMENT?
The consortium is free to propose amendments.
If you are the coordinator:
- Check that the consortium has reached agreement through an internal decision-making process, as set out in the consortium agreement (e.g. unanimously or by simple or qualified majority).
- Sign & submit the amendment(s) on its behalf.
Exception: in cases where coordinators are to be replaced without their agreement, another beneficiary (acting on behalf of the other beneficiaries in the consortium) submits the request.
The Commission can also propose amendments.
2. WHEN CAN I REQUEST AN AMENDMENT?
Before the end of the project (i.e. the date given in Article 3)
Exception: In exceptional cases – e.g. if the bank account changes, or the coordinator responsible for paying the balance is replaced – once the project is completed.
When is an amendment necessary?
When one of the following changes applies:
Changes involving beneficiaries & linked third parties
- Adding a new beneficiary
Deletion of a beneficiary whose participation has been terminated because:
- it has not signed the grant agreement
- it has not provided a declaration on joint & several liability as requested
- for some other reason
- Change of beneficiary due to 'partial takeover'
- Deletion or addition of linked third party (Article 14)
- Specific case: if a beneficiary's participation is terminated at the initiative of other beneficiaries (Article 50.2)
Change involving the coordinator/principal beneficiary
- Change of coordinator
- Change in the bank account the coordinator uses for payments
- Change in the ‘authorisation to administer’ option
Changes affecting the project or its implementation
- Change to Annex 1
- Change in the title of the project or its acronym, starting date, duration or reporting periods
- Resumption of project activities after a temporary suspension (Article 49)
Changes involving the financial aspects of the grant
- Change to Annex 2 or 2a
- Change in the maximum grant amount, reimbursement rate(s), the estimated eligible costs of the project, the amount of pre-financing or the contribution to the Guarantee Fund
- Change concerning specific cost categories (‘specific unit costs’)
- Specific changes in other Model Grant Agreements (e.g. FPA/SGA MGA, ERC MGA, MSCA MGA)
Amendments are NOT necessary
- for certain budget transfers
- if the name or address of a beneficiary, linked third party or coordinator changes
- if a universal takeover results in a change of beneficiary
- if there is a change in the name of the bank or the address of the branch where the coordinator has an account, or in the name of the account holder.
3. HOW DO I REQUEST AN AMENDMENT?
- Prepare your request using the Participant Portal's Grant Management Service.
- Amend the relevant data in the grant agreement
- Give reasons for (justify) the amendment
- Upload supporting documents
- Make sure the necessary validations are complete (e.g. validation of a new legal entity or bank account)
- Submit your request
Exception: if a beneficiary's participation is terminated at the initiative of other beneficiaries, you, as coordinator, must draft a notification to inform the Commission of this. The notification must include the request for an amendment.
Requests proposing more than one change to the grant agreement are treated as a package. They cannot be divided into separate requests; the Commission accepts or rejects them as an indivisible whole.
Consider submitting changes that require more in-depth reflection (e.g. changes to Annex 1) as a separate request. Requests requiring no discussion (e.g. a change in the coordinator's bank account) can then be dealt with faster.
- Please prepare and submit any requests for amendments as soon as possible after you become aware of the need to amend the grant agreement. Amendments take time to be processed and the changes introduced will, in most cases, apply only once the amendment is approved, but not retroactively.
- The requesting party signs and submits amendments electronically.
- The receiving party countersigns the amendments electronically.
- Get ready
Before launching your amendment request:
- Prepare the supporting documents.
- Request validation of legal entity data (e.g. banking information, PIC number for any new beneficiaries through the Beneficiary Register) - more information about the validation of a legal entity data.
- Depending on the nature of the changes, discuss the request for an amendment with the project officer in charge of the grant. Can the approval process be simplified?
- The coordinator launches the amendment request
- Locate the 'My Area' section of the Participant Portal Grant Management Service.
- Go to the 'My Projects' list.
- Click on the action button (Manage Project).
- Select 'Consortium Requested Amendment' from the list of 'new interactions'.
- Amendment reference number (ID): once you have launched the request, the amendment is automatically assigned a reference number. Please use this unique identifier in all contacts with the Commission during the amendment process.
- Prepare the amendment
a) Amending data
Once the request has been launched, you can amend the grant agreement data. Use the grant management system, as you did when drawing up the grant agreement (GAP). All beneficiaries can help by editing their own data.
Amendment information tab: A tab labelled 'amendment information' will appear in the IT system for grant management. It provides essential information, a full list of amendment types, and a dedicated field which you should use to justify the request.
Amendment types: types of amendment and their content are predefined.
On the basis of the changes to the grant agreement data, the relevant types of amendment are selected automatically from the predefined list.
Example: if the user adds a new beneficiary, the following amendment types are selected automatically: 'Addition of one or more beneficiaries', 'Amendment to Annex 1' and 'Amendment to Annex 2'.
- Other types of amendment are selected manually, e.g. 'Change in the maximum grant amount', 'Retraction of project suspension', 'Amendment to Annex 1'.
Impact on other grant agreement articles: if the amendment requested implies further amendments to other grant agreement articles, a prompt will appear.
b) Request for an amendment
This comprises 2 documents generated automatically:
- the letter requesting an amendment
- the amendment.
Once the request for an amendment is complete and ready to be submitted, the system generates the 2 documents and prompts the coordinator to e-sign.
Before submission, at any time during preparation, the draft versions are available for preview as a PDF file under the 'Documents' tab.
The letter requesting an amendment provides justification for the request, using material from the 'justification' field in the 'amendment information' tab. The request is assessed on the basis of whatever information and explanations the coordinator provides.
Annexes & supporting documents: the user is always prompted to upload any documents to be included with the request for an amendment. These depend on the type of amendment and the specific case.
- Some supporting documents may be mandatory (e.g. to add a new beneficiary, the new beneficiary must e-sign the 'Declaration on honour' and the 'Accession Form' (Annex 3 to the Model Grant Agreement).
- It will be decided on a case-by-case basis whether other supporting documents/annexes are needed.
- The amendment is the legal document containing the amendments to the grant agreement. It is legally binding and will be incorporated into the agreement.
Once the request for an amendment is complete and ready for submission, the amendment request letter and the amendment are automatically generated.
- On the basis of the changes to the grant agreement data, the relevant types of amendment are selected automatically from the predefined list.
- Consult the officer responsible
While drawing up the request, you may choose to consult the Commission officer responsible (e.g. the project officer), who can review the request informally. Any opinion you obtain is not binding. The officer may edit certain grant data, if asked to do so.
As coordinator, you can decide to retract the officer's access at any point. If you do so, any material he/she has not saved will be lost.
- Sign & submit the request for an amendment
- As coordinator, make sure the request is complete and that all data is correct. While you are drafting the request, you will receive an alert if you omit any information.
- You can check draft versions as a PDF file in the Documents tab at any time before submission.
- Once the request is ready to be sent off, lock it for review, to guard against any unwanted further changes. Make sure the draft has 'read-only' status for other consortium members.
- Carry out a final review and quality check. The request is now ready for submission. You can still unlock it to make any final changes you think necessary before sending it off.
Your authorised project legal signatory (PLSIGN) must e-sign the request. Now submit it online.
More details on the grant management roles
- The Commission assesses the request
The Commission must now accept or reject the request within 45 days. It sends the coordinator a formal notification through the Participant Portal.
Firstly, it checks whether the request is valid – does it include all supporting documents and explanations? It may request additional information/documents, which must not change the amendment itself.
- As coordinator, make sure you upload any further information requested within 15 calendar days of receiving the Commission's request. If you do not do so, the Commission will reject your request.
The Commission now has 45 days to assess the request.
Deadline extension: the deadline may - exceptionally - be extended on a discretionary basis, e.g. if the amendments are complex, specific compliance checks are needed (e.g. on ethical issues), or if the project has to be reviewed to assess the changes).
As coordinator, you cannot alter a request for an amendment once it has been e-signed and submitted. There are 2 options:
- You withdraw it.
- The Commission rejects it.
The Commission assesses the request and notifies the coordinator formally of its decision.
Acceptance: If the Commission accepts the request, its authorised representative e-signs the amendment. The coordinator and beneficiaries are formally notified. The countersigned amendment appears in the project's document library, in the Participant Portal's 'My Area' section Portal.
Amendment number: once the Commission has signed the amendment, it is automatically assigned a sequential amendment number (1, 2, 3, etc.) For instance, an amendment request with the reference AMD-345622-6 is assigned number 2 if it is the 2nd signed amendment to the grant agreement in question.
Rejection: if the request is invalid (if it breaches the grant agreement's terms or conditions, for instance), incomplete or wrong, or if the granting authority disagrees with it, the Commission's authorised representative formally rejects it.
The coordinator and beneficiaries are notified of any rejection. The formal rejection letter is posted in the project's document library under the 'My Area' section of the Participant Portal. The rejected request for an amendment is saved so that you, as coordinator, can reuse it to draw up a new request. Rejected amendments are assigned a number (e.g. R1, R2).
If you do not receive a notification within the 45-day deadline, the request is considered to have been rejected (tacit rejection). Horizon 2020 has no system for approving amendments tacitly. You must now contact the Commission (i.e. the project officer). The rejected request is saved so that you can reuse it to submit a new request that repeats the initial one fully or in part.
As coordinator, you can withdraw a submitted request, provided that the Commission has not approved it. Withdrawn requests are saved and can be reused to submit a new request.
Entry into force & taking effect
An amendment proposed by a consortium enters into force on the day the Commission signs it.
It takes effect (i.e. the changes to the grant agreement start to apply) either:
- on a specific date agreed by the parties (clearly specified in the amendment), or
- on the date it enters into force (i.e. the date on which the amendment was last signed).
This date should normally be after the entry into force. In justified cases it may – exceptionally - be before that date (retroactive).
Example: the grant agreement states that amendments take effect before they enter into force if the implementation of the project is suspended (Article 49.2.2).
If a request involves more than one change, these can take effect on different dates.
Amendment changing the bank account and adding a new linked third party:
- The change of bank account takes effect on the date of the amendment's entry into force.
- The addition of the linked third party takes effect on a specific date stated in the amendment.
Depending on the nature of the amendment, the date on which it takes effect may affect the eligibility of costs.
If a beneficiary is added, costs are eligible from the 'accession date' specified in the Accession Form (Annex 3).
The formal notification channel can be used ONLY for correspondence requiring acknowledgement of receipt, i.e.
- to dispatch replies to formal notifications received from the Commission
for communications under Article 17 of the Model Grant Agreement
- (Art. 17.1, Model Grant Agreement - obligation to provide information upon request
- and 17.2 - obligation to inform) and
- whenever it is clearly stipulated, e.g. termination of the grant agreement (Article 50.1, Model Grant Agreement).
Amendment initiated by the Commission
If the Commission requests an amendment, the request is prepared and signed electronically. You will receive a notification through the 'My Notification' section of the Participant Portal.
- Once the Commission has submitted its request, you as coordinator must accept or reject it – within 45 days - by sending the Commission a formal notification through the electronic exchange system.
- To accept the request, the coordinating organisation's project legal signatory (PLSIGN) must countersign the amendment on the consortium's behalf.
- Horizon 2020 Coordinators' Day on How to Prepare Amendments and Reports
Follow the latest recorded information session organised by the Commission for Grant Coordinators:
- Amendments - legal basis (starts at 5:05)
- Amendments - business process and IT tool (starts at 50:15)
- You can also check the full agenda with presentations.