Under the grant agreement, recipients must ensure that researchers have unlicensed access to background rights and results in order to develop their work within the project. These access rights should only be granted if they are necessary for the researchers to carry out their research within the framework of the project. The REA is aware of the potential impact that THE COVID-19 EPITHEN could have on the implementation of MSCA projects. Coordinators and beneficiaries should decide for themselves what to do. The REA recommends monitoring institutional and national systems. If the current situation prevents the performance of the obligations set out in the grant agreement, the REA can adopt a flexible approach and apply the required force majeure rules. Coordinators should inform their project managers if there are implementation problems. The signing of a consortium contract is only required under a few calls from Marie Skodowska-Curie – if not, the work programme always says so explicitly. For example, there is no consortium agreement for projects with a beneficiary. A first step would be to check whether a consortium agreement is mandatory in your case, depending on the type of project you will be involved in.
In the event of a restriction that could affect the granting of these access rights, researchers should be informed as soon as possible. Non-essential meetings/events should be organized by videoconference, postponed or cancelled. Cancellation costs for planned events, meetings or detachments may be covered by the fixed allowance available in the grant. However, the EU`s contribution will not be increased under any circumstances. The coordinator should inform the project manager if it is necessary to deviate from the order of work, as it would require an amendment to the grant agreement. It is recommended that coordinators and recipients cooperate to ensure that all planned activities can be carried out during the planned duration of the project, even if they are delayed. Once the situation has stabilized, extensions can be granted to allow for delayed tasks, events, meetings and/or detachments. Such cases are also reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the REA. Exemptions from detachments under the grant agreement can be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the REA and may apply the rules of force majeure (Article 51 of the model grant agreement) if acceptable.
In these circumstances, cases where ERDs are unable to comply with the proposed 30% allocation or the 50% rule for EDI projects may be acceptable to the REA. However, the coordinator and all recipients should ensure that they do everything in their power to avoid such a situation. The REA will look closely at these types of cases. During the contact, we received many questions from the early stage (ESR) recipients and researchers and, after contacting the head of the MSCA ITN unit, we received some answers to the most important questions and we would like to share them with you. To date, there are no planned changes to the timeframes for periodic reports. Derogations from the work program resulting from the COVID 19 pandemic should be included in the periodic report. If, due to the current situation, a consortium is unable to submit a periodic report on time, please contact your project manager as soon as possible.