In a Network the funding determination is entirely different. The maximum annual payment to the Network is determined by the number of researchers. Please note that the grant is determined by the ”number of researchers to be integrated” and this is determined as of numbers on date call closes. Addition of further partners during project will not increase the funding.
The financial regime for Networks of Excellence is based on the concept of an incentive for integration; i.e. a fixed amount to support the Joint Program of Activities. The estimation of the financial amount of the grant takes into account the degree of integration (by defining a minimum threshold to be reached in the evaluation), the number of researchers to be integrated, the characteristics of the research field and the joint programme of activities. Model contracts for Networks of Excellence will contain a table such as the following to determine the average annual amount of the grant:
50 researchers € 1 million/year
100 researchers € 2 million/year
150 researchers € 3 million/year
250 researchers € 4 million/year
500 researchers € 5 million/year
1000 researchers and above € 6 million/year
The grant for an intermediate number N of researchers would be calculated by linear interpolation:
A - nearest lower given number, B – nearest upper given number, GA – given grant for A researchers, GB – given grant for B researchers:
Grant for N researchers: GN = GA+(GB-GA)/(B-A)*(N-A)
In addition to the amount calculated on the base of the above table, an additional amount of 4000 Euros per year (up to a maximum of 10 % of the grant for the researchers) will be granted for each registered doctoral student in the network. Note – above figures are “maximum grant” - in many cases it will be only a proportion of it.
For the disbursement of the grant it must be demonstrated that costs of at least the value of the grant are used for the implementation of the Joint Program of Activities and that the cost of integration does not exceed 25% of the costs of the RTD activities integrated.
An important point is that in order to claim their costs in a cost statement, participants must account for their claimed costs in an identical way as for IPs or STREPs. i.e. they will calculate it based on their chosen cost model and man rates for expenses incurred in the JPA. It will normally be the case that there may be no relationship between the proportional calculation of the budget, based on researchers to be integrated and the costs claimed. i.e. the number of researchers contributes money to the central budget but it can only be withdrawn as expenses are incurred as per the JPA.
Calculation of the grant for integration
The EC financial contribution to NoEs is a grant for integration that is calculated on the basis of the number of researchers to be integrated into the network. These researchers must be identifiable by name at the time of the deadline for the submission to the Commission of the proposal. Doctoral students (who do no meet the conditions to be considered as a researcher) can also be taken into account in the calculation of the maximum EC contribution.
Payment of the grant for integration
The annual payment of the grant for integration can only be made if the eligible costs of carrying out the project for that reporting period are greater than or equal to the annual amount of the grant. (The annual amount of the grant over the duration of the project is specified in the joint programme of activities- Annex I to the EC contract). That is, if the annual grant is € 1 million that amount will be paid whether the eligible costs are € 1.2 million or € 10 million. The method of distribution between the contractors has to be determined by them in their consortium agreement; this is particularly important where the grant does not cover all eligible costs.
In addition, Article III.2 .2.3 of Annex III to the network of excellence contract indicates that: "At the end of the project, the eligible costs incurred in implementing the joint programme of activities over the full duration of the project must exceed the grant for integration. If this is not the case, the payment for the last scientific period shall be limited to 95% of the eligible costs incurred in that period."
In other words, legally speaking, if the total eligible costs incurred in implementing the JPA are at least equal to the Community financial contribution requested per period (see Annex I to the contract) and if, at the end of the project, the total eligible costs incurred in implementing the JPA for the whole duration of the project exceed the maximum Community financial contribution mentioned in article 5.2 of the contract, the grant for integration is in full. Thus payment of the grant is conditional upon the participants incurring costs that are greater than the amount of the grant itself.