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Take care with lump-sum payments, Commission warned

The European Commission must pilot a payment-by-outputs approach in Framework 9 before rolling it out across the programme, research and technology organisations have said.

Plans to increase the use of lump-sum payments in the Framework programme should undergo “a real piloting phase”, according to a paper published by the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations on 2 October. The Commission would be “very wise to take the time” to properly test its ideas, Earto warned.

Under the lump-sum approach, researchers’ project costs are reimbursed on the basis of specific outputs, such as data sharing, rather than explicitly proved spending. Lump-sum payments are already used in the Horizon 2020 small-business instrument and in some coordination and support actions, and the European Court of Auditors has said the system is less error-prone than the more widely used alternative.

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