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Trust researchers, auditor says

The European Commission should give researchers more leeway when monitoring their use of Horizon 2020 funding, a senior member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has said.

The Commission should consider introducing a line in its regulation asking officials and auditors to use common sense when assessing researchers’ compliance, auditor Alex Brenninkmeijer told the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee on 10 November.

It could even consider providing funding in advance as a lump sum, and evaluate researchers’ use of the funding based on their performance, Brenninkmeijer suggested. The existing system of reimbursing researchers for proven costs is more prone to errors, he said. “We are applying the financial rules very strictly. But at the end of the day, is what we are doing common sense?” Brenninkmeijer asked.

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