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Research & Innovation - Funding & Tenders Portal H2020 Online Manual

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Checks, audits, reviews & investigations

The Commission - during the implementation of the project or afterwards - checks, reviews, investigates and audits the proper implementation of the project and its compliance with the grant agreement.

For lump sum projects, since projects do not use actual costs, there will be no financial checks, reviews or audits focusing on costs. Checks, reviews and audits will focus on the technical implementation of the action or other aspects of the grant agreement.

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Checks, reviews & investigations

You can meet with the following processes during the implementation of your project - the Commission may:

  • check the proper implementation of the action and compliance with the obligations under the grant, including assessing deliverables and reports.
    Example: after receiving the reports, the Commission checks the different documents (explanation of the work carried out, overview of the progress, explanation of the use of resources, etc.) for consistency with the description and work plan. Also, the Commission regularly performs double-funding and plagiarism checks on documents submitted by consortia.
  • carry out reviews on the proper implementation of the action (including assessment of deliverables and reports), compliance with the obligations under the grant agreement and continued scientific or technological relevance of the project.
    Reviews normally refer mainly the technical implementation of the project (i.e. its scientific and technological relevance), but may also cover financial and budgetary aspects or compliance with other obligations under the GA.
    Reviews may be started up to 2 years after the payment of the balance and may include on-the-spot visits or review meeting (on Commission premises or anywhere relevant for the project). On the basis of the review findings, a review report will be prepared.
  • In case of fraud suspicions, the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) may conduct investigations (e.g. on-the-spot inspections and witness interviews) into EU-funded projects to check that expenditure has been used correctly. OLAF cooperates with national authorities (through information exchange, on-the-spot checks, coordination of forensic audits etc.) OLAF may decide to open an investigation upon receipt of suspicious information by the Commission or from other sources.
  • The Commission ensures that staff possesses the basic competences to detect a possible fraud risk in the course of their normal work through training and awareness-raising measures. This is combined with targeted controls, like advanced data research and checks on double funding and plagiarism.
  • If a coordinator, beneficiary or a staff member of one of these suspects fraud or other serious irregularities with a potentially negative impact for EU public funds, he/she may report this to the Commission or directly to OLAF.

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The European Commission may order an audit of your H2020 grant during the project or at any time up to 2 years after the final payment. The Audit can be conducted by the Commission's own staff or outsourced to external persons or bodies appointed by the Commission.

The auditors conduct their audit taking into account the provisions of the audited grant agreement under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation and in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. Those standards require that the auditors comply with ethical requirements, plan and perform relevant procedures in line with the Indicative Audit Programme, in order to obtain reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatement.

On the basis of the audit findings, a draft audit report will be prepared and sent to you. There is a 30 day period within which you will be able to provide your observations to the draft audit report. The auditors will then compile and reconcile any observations, and a final audit report will be prepared and sent to you.

Any claimed costs found to be ineligible will then be recovered or deducted from the next payment.

If systematic errors are found, the Commission may extend the findings of the audit results to non-audited grant agreements or non-audited periods. Besides these corrections, other measures may be taken, including financial and administrative penalties.

If you have submitted a CoMUC, the auditor will ensure that you have applied the approved methodology consistently.

To learn more about checks, reviews, audit & investigations, please read Article 22 of the H2020 Annotated Model Grant Agreement.

Related Certifications

  • Certification of the methodology used to calculate unit costs (CoMUC)
    - for preventive verification to detect and correct errors in the usual cost-accounting methodology
    - for beneficiaries declaring direct personnel costs as unit costs
    - on a voluntary basis ideally after one reporting period
  • Ex-ante assessment on direct costing of large research infrastructures
  • Certificates on your financial statements (CFS)

For detailed description of CoMUC, assessment on direct costing of LRIs and CFS visit the Certifications section.

As a beneficiary of FP7 funding, please see the FP7 audits and certifications guidance on the FP7 Reference Documents page.

Reference documents