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Slow and steady

Major changes to ERC’s granting process must be handled with care

“Complex and error-prone”: that is the European Commission’s own assessment of the process of funding projects under its R&D Framework Programmes. It’s not a phrase to warm researchers’ hearts.

Despite efforts to streamline bureaucracy in these schemes in recent years, the Commission—like myriad other research funders—knows it needs to do more. This has led it to pitch a huge roll-out of lump-sum funding, under which researchers submit detailed cost plans up front and are paid for completing work, rather than having the actual costs of projects reimbursed.

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