- Participation in FP7 proposals
We have expertise in the development of marine technology. We would be very interested in a FP7 research project on these topics that could fall in the present FP7 calls. For this reason we are looking for other research groups that are interested to submit a proposal in these calls of the FP7.
If you know other researchers that could be interested in this e-mail or that could introduce us in existing marine research groups, please disseminate this e-mail.
Our general philosophy is that we guide requests for information on pre-proposals to the recognized coordinators.
In order to give interested parties a more dynamic in- and outlet, we have opened special Forum pages at the MarBEF website that can serve as a kind of Market of Supply and Demand for FP7 proposals: (http://www.marbef.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewforum&f=10).
An introduction to this forum discussion, where you also can find an overview and all coordinators of the proposals, is given at (http://www.marbef.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=248).
Click on the indicated coordinator's names and you will get the contact-details.
Coordinators that want to take the opportunity for receiving more input (or spreading more information) on their pre-proposal should go at the Forum pages to the subject “expertise requested” and then submit the expertise/information that they still need http://www.marbef.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=249), or (http://www.marbef.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=251). You can submit requests for expertise under the "postreply" button in the appropriate subject.
If you wish to start yourself also a new topic or if you want to offer your expertise for inclusion in proposals then you can submit this under the subject “expertise and proposals offered” (http://www.marbef.org/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=250).
You can submit a new proposal under the "newtopic" button.
You can submit an offer for expertise under the "postreply" button in the appropriate subject.
In the forum-pages only short overviews of the pre-proposals are presented. More detailed information can be given by the coordinators at request and only if they wish to do so.
The more detailed Pre-proposal overview is only available for members after log-in at the web-site http://www.marbef.org/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=152).
For your further information on composing proposals in the first call of FP7 we can give the following generalized advise:
- small consortia are preferred (around 10 institutes) with a budget of max 3-4 M€.
- include preferably also the Black Sea, although at least the impacts of pollution, fisheries, and invasive species on the Black Sea ecosystem are very prominent, but understudied. Strategically speaking, the new EU membership of Romania and Bulgaria from 1st January 2007, and the association of Turkey to the 7th Framework Programme would also speak in favour to consider the Black Sea (as well; or replacing another regional sea).
For the calls from 2008 a double budget is expected making proposals with larger consortia possible.
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- Can we indicate the (future) Associated Members also as a partner in the (financial) forms of the RMP format?
Yes, potential Associated Members of MarBEF can already be indicated as a partner in the forms. In form F they can fill in their own resources (at this stage there is no MarBEF budget allocated to them).
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- We have a person who we would like to get started on part of one of the RMP projects. However, we are unsure how we fund this although we estimated the costs using the nominal budgets allocated to each participants.
For activities in RMPs, including appointment of personnel, you should inform and ask your institute's (official) MarBEF representative as well as the RMP leader (principle investigator) For RMP activities, including appointment of personnel, you should negotiate the available MarBEF budget with your institute's (official) MarBEF representative as well as the RMP leader (principle investigator)(see website for contact details). The RMP leader will check whether your proposed activities fit within the aims and agreed financial contribution by your institute in that RMP. The institute's responsible person has to check whether it is an eligible costing and whether it fits (financially) within the agreed limits (most probably you have to share the 40 kEuro with other colleagues)(see website for details). A simple Yes from both persons is sufficient. In principle you can then start directly your planned activities in the RMP. The costs you can book on your institute's MarBEF account.
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- If we (the participants in a RMP) want to pool some of our RMP resources, for example to support a post-doc, what is the correct way to do it?
The best way is to charge a 'registration fee' to each participant, by invoicing their institutions.
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- If we (the participants in a RMP) want to pool some of our RMP resources, for example to support a post-doc, what is the correct way to do it? I guess the postdoc would be paid through a host institution (even if they travel between institutions for extended periods). In that case, should that host institution invoice each of the contributing participants for their agreed contributions?
There are no special rules for pooling money for a post-doc or PhD. In several RMPs similar questions came to the foreground. Your solution of sending an invoice to the participating institutions is a good solution. You should take care about the fact that the invoice should be free of overhead charges - in that way the participating institutions can still ask for their own overhead (on the basis of the value of the invoice they have paid to the host institution).
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- Is there a formal process to draw down funds in relation to RMPs or will the next payment automatically be transferred from MarBEF to the institution?
The annual refunding depends on the (eligible and agreed) costs that you made during that year (as specified in) in the Cost Statement): nothing more nothing less. There is no special treatment for costs associated with RMPs (no lump-sum payments, no pre-payments).
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- How much overheads can we calculate for personnel appointed in RMPs?
From some proposals the Management Office learned that for the appointment of personnel (within RMPs) some institutes want to calculate additional overheads on top of the salary costs. Since overheads are already included in all calculations made within the MarBEF DoW, to which each of the members is contractually bound, it will not be allowed to raise additional overheads on top of costs made at the MarBEF account. Example: some institutes decide together to appoint a post-doc. Three (AC) institutes contribute 30, 20 and 20 kEuro, respectively, to the costs of the post-doc that is appointed at a fourth institute that also contributes 30 kEuro (in our example the total basic costs of a post-doc is thus 100 kEuro). The first 3 institutes can raise 6, 4 and 4 kEuro overheads, respectively. The fourth institute can raise maximally 6 kEuro overhead and NOT 20 kEuro. MarBEF therefore contributes only to the basic salary costs and a modest overhead of maximally 20 % in total on personnel appointed in RMPs. For your further information: the 40 kEuro intended for RMPs is including the overheads (net contribution 33.3 kEuro)
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- Refund for training on ship within RMP activities. It appears that trawling cruises would be a good opportunity for training students in marine fish and fishery science and possibly for collecting some data for their own studies.
I presume MarBEF members can use there MarBEF budget for such participation. However, some associated members of MarBEF have no MarBEF budget. Would there be some MarBEF budget available to fund the travel tickets of students from associated members to board on a Research Vessel during 15 to 30 days. Such funding might include an Air ticket to Paris and a train ticket (e.g. Paris to Brest to board on the next bottom trawl cruise in the bay of Biscay). From most MarBEF countries the full cost might be between 400 and 600 € per student. Any cost during the cruise (subsistence and other) would be covered by national budget.
Activities within RMPs can be carried out without further interference of the General Coordinator and Management Office. Thus in case an RMP has decided to go for some cruises, and the RMP leader fully approves the activities as being a part of the RMP, the participating institutes can pay that with MarBEF funding up to the maximum agreed in the JPA (Joint Programme of Activities, wherein is indicated which institute is investing how much funds in which RMP on what kind of activities - the RMP-leaders have an overview).
In case an institute or RMP did not foresee some activities, and it has not been written in the JPA, then it is not possible to spend MarBEF money for such activities. Only with specific permission of the General Coordinator such is possible.
Indeed for Associated members there is no specific fund that may help them. Only some limited funds from the Central Budget are given to Associated Members in order to participate in the most essential integration activities of MarBEF. The cruise that you mention should have to be essential and a core activity in the specific RMP in order to receive some funding for Associated Members. Such a cruise should be written in the JPA. If it is an essential core activity, then this should have to be substantiated by the RMP leader.
Also it is possible that regular members of MarBEF ask permission to put the costs for some students (for training on board) on their own MarBEF account. Again the relevance for MarBEF should be made clear.
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- No expenses made because of lack of ‘in cash’ funds. Is it possible to cover planned expenses within RMPs from our MarBEF budget (e.g. consumables or equipment) later, in the next reporting period, because we still have not received more money for RMPs?
Planned expenses for RMPs or CSP activities within MarBEF can be made any time.
From your request we do however abstract that you want only to make expenses at the moment you have sufficient funds "in cash". Yet, in the EC NoE's, as MarBEF, you can make costs (expenses) in advance, and get those costs refunded afterwards. Thus, in MarBEF you will get costs reimbursed. If you did not make sufficient costs, you will not get something reimbursed.
It is thus much better to make more (eligible) costs than you have at this moment "in cash". Only then you can get some reimbursement next year.
There are many more colleagues who make the same (psychological) mistake as you do. This has led to the fact that already for this year more than 50 % of the colleagues will not get anymore funding because they still have sufficient funding "in cash". Only the institutes who made sufficient costs and do have no/hardly money "in cash" will get some reimbursement.
We will make the MarBEF colleagues aware of the fact that they first have to spent the money to get later (the next year) some reimbursement.
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- What are eligible costs in RMPs and what costs are allowed in CSP?
After 18 months, the budget was divided into three parts (excluding audit): general activities, RMPs & SCPs and input to the key actions, events and courses. Is it possible to allocate general activity and key actions funds into cost categories such as personnel, consumables or local travel costs? These are very common costs while organizing local events or training courses. I assume that's possible, but confirmation would be highly appreciated.
In order to know how the budget after 18 months can be used, we split the budget in two main categories:
- budget within RMPs (max 40 k€, in some cases allowed for 42.5 k€):
- allowable costs are Travel, Subsistence, Fees, Personnel, Consumables
Expenses can be made when described in (according to) the agreed RMP plan and with permission of (in agreement with) the RMP leader
- budget outside RMPs (CSP, training courses, GA, etc...) :
- allowable costs are Travel, Subsistence, Fees.
Other costs (as personnel or consumables) are NOT allowed, UNLESS in very specific cases, as e.g. for organizational costs for workshops, PERMISSION has been obtained ON BEFOREHAND from the General Coordinator. For detailed information see the website (rules & guidelines).
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- Are payments to students eligible costs in RMPs and what of these costs are allowed in the CSP?
We have a question on funding MA students. The member institutions might face problems with hiring of MA students for our RMP. It could be an option to recruit MA students from other institutions. Is that allowed? If so, can we fund them (e.g. with travel funding to the research areas or to an RMP training course)? Or?
It will be very helpful if you can provide me with answers or guidelines.
There is flexibility within the RMP budget and the additional Central Budget, where you can use funding for T&S, fees, temporary personnel and/or consumables.
Within the CSP funding there is no flexibility, and funding can be used only for T&S and fees.
Thus, within the funding allocated to the RMPs (and the funding allocated from the Central Budget to some activities) you can pay BSc or MSc students at your institute. In these activities, as RMPs, it then depends on how the partners among each other have agreed how the budget is spent, and whether this includes hiring students at your institute.
Be aware that the students should be on your pay-roll when hiring them (i.e. your administration has to pay them directly, and not through the university/institute where they come from). You can not pay an invoice from another institute for hiring their students – that would be in fact a subcontractor – and those costs are not eligible within MarBEF without having the other party (subcontractor) signing all official documents).
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- Refund for MarBEF (training) course. I attended a MarBEF course and I would like to know, who I or my Supervisor should write about the €750.00 that I should become as a support for traveling costs?
Participants related to Full MarBEF Members can claim a refund of their costs in MarBEF courses from their own institute, as far it has been agreed by the responsible person for MarBEF at that institute. The MarBEF institutes can put the costs (T&S and fee up to max. 1000 Euro) on their MarBEF account.
Participants related to Associated MarBEF Members can claim a refund of their costs in MarBEF courses from the organizer of the course. The organizer of the course can claim the costs of the course from the MarBEF Central Budget.
Depending on the status of your institute and the arrangements made with the course leader, you should send your bills to the administration of your institute or to the course leader.
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- Costs of endorsed events. We have agreement from the Coordinator for participation of 3 persons in endorsed events (course and symposium). The costs of participation in these endorsed events covers about 20 % of our travel & subsistence costs in the present reporting period - is it OK ?
Participation with 3 persons in MarBEF CSP or RMP activities has been given case by case (mostly with a limit per person or for the total, e.g. max 1000 Euro p.p.).
If you wish to book "endorsed" MarBEF activities the general rule is that the costs of only 1 person can be booked on the MarBEF account. For these activities there is in general no permission for going with 3 persons, but sometimes we have given a case by case permission to go with more persons (also with a financial limit p.p.).
In case permission was granted to go (with more persons) to endorsed activities, then it is no problem that the costs of these activities exceed 20 % of the total T&S costs.
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- Why is the refund lower than the requested EC refund? The amount of the intermediate payment that we received was much lower than the requested sum. We received less than 40 % of the requested sum.
That is because many partners still have too much money ‘in hand’. This means that you did not spend the money of the received advance payment and first intermediate payment. Probably you are conservative in spending MarBEF money.
On the one hand this is positive, because this proves that you value the MarBEF resources, and that you are able to run the NoE with a minimum of resources. On the other hand it works out negatively since the EC assumes that the network still has sufficient money to keep on working for a full year in the way we/you did until now.
This last assumption seems to be strange in view of the many requests that the Management Office received from the members for information about the intermediate payments. Most members indicated that their budgets run low, and they fear to spend more money than they have in hand. Thus, the Management Office has c
alculated the amount of funding that is still available to the members, i.e. is “in cash” at the institutes.
We had to come to the conclusion that the members have on an average still 44 % of the payments made available to them still ”in cash”. There is in total still 1.5 Million Euro “in cash” available in the MarBEF community.
When counting the number of partners that still have more than 40 % of their advance payments in cash it is even more amazing: 33 members, i.e. 59 % of the members, still has sufficient money “in cash” !! We have then indeed to agree with the EC administration that, with the present rate of spending of the MarBEF funding, the members easily could pay a third year from what they have already “in cash”, and the reimbursement has consequently to be low.
We have the impression that some kind of psychological effect is playing a major role and affecting the participation in MarBEF in a negative way. Having only a small budget makes us sober and we do not want to spend the small amount of money before more money is visible. Whereas there is sufficient money to be more active, what in fact is a very luxury situation, since in principle the EC wants us first to spend the money only after which they will reimburse the costs. Therefore, we again want to stress the fact that the principle of the EC installments is based on reimbursement of costs! You need to spend the money first and the costs will be reimbursed afterwards.
The advance and intermediate payments give you some money in hand. The costs will be reimbursed up to the maximum allowable budget as has been specified in the DoW. This means that when you spend more than the money that you have received from the EC (creating a temporary deficit) this will be compensated during the next intermediate payment (up to the maximum agreed budget).
So please do not let it happen that your participation in MarBEF will be limited by the wrong impression -feeling- that you cannot spend more than you have in hand. We hope that this delicate financial issue will not prevent you from being further active in the MarBEF NoE. We even hope for many of you that you will be able to be more active and to have higher expenditures within MarBEF.
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- Short reports on endorsed activities
In the guidelines for the endorsement of activities by MarBEF there is a note on making a report.
Is it possible to prepare a detailed report about endorsed activities in the management report of our institution, like in previous reports?
We prefer short reports (of 1 to 2 pages max) on endorsed activities that are sent separately to us.
For the annual management report you will receive a model-form that you can fill in, and where extensive reports of meetings are not needed (only short summaries).
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