Road to grant: 2. The agreement preparation

29 January 2018. I read the email half-asleep in the morning, “Congratulations. Your proposal has reached the stage of Grant Agreement preparation.”

“High five” by Brian Abeling, used under Creative Commons license, no changes made

I thought YEEEEES! We got it! That’s what congratulations must mean. What’s this other thing, the “stage of Grant Agreement preparation”? I didn’t know that a marathon of European Commission jargon was expecting me. When the project passes the proposal phase, there are a few essential processing steps before the project can actually start. In what follows, I will outline these steps, in order to clarify the at-first-confusing terminology.

In total on that day I received three emails, with the following titles: 1. evaluation results and start of grant preparation, 2. request for additional data to prepare your Grant Agreement and 3. Declaration of Honour.

  1. The “evaluation results and start of grant preparation” is just saying, “yes, you passed, well done, prepare for the burocracy”. When I logged in on the portal (link provided in the email) and clicked on the Manage Project button I saw this line with tasks:

    Step 1 of grant preparation process – Preparation of the agreement
  2. The “request for additional data to prepare your Grant Agreement” asks for completion of details, e.g. start and end date of the project, “Justification: Katerina Kandylaki decided to come to Maastricht on April 1th 2018”. These details are important for the administration of the project. They should be easy to decide upon in a short meeting/call with your collaborating professor. I completed these details on the participant portal myself (link to the portal is provided in the email), after a short skype meeting with my professor.
  3. The “Declaration of Honour” is a document that contains legal confirmation on behalf of the host university (else known as “the beneficiary”). In my case, the project coordinator assigned a Project Legal Signatory in the host university, who completed and signed the declaration. I didn’t have to do anything for this step. At this stage the project coordinator also assigned the role of the Project Financial Signatory to another representative of the host university.

The previous tasks were completed by 12 February 2018. Then we waited.

  • On March 14 the EU proposed the Grant Agreement for signature and I received an email entitled: “request to sign the Grant Agreement”.
  • On March 15 the Project Legal Signatory signed the Grant Agreement and I was notified with an email entitled: “Coordinator has signed the Grant Agreement”.
  • On March 19 the EU signed the Grant Agreement as well; the title of the email I received about this was “Grant Agreement has been signed by the Commission”.

At this stage the line of the grant preparation process in the participant portal looked as follows:

Step 2 of grant preparation process – Signing of the agreement

On March 23 I received an email with the title “pre-financing payment”, which meant that the EU has processed the pre-financing payment for my project. In the process history it was written “EU performed a payment”; also, the line of tasks looked like the process had reached the end stage:

Step 3 of grant preparation – Payment

Shortly thereafter within the same day the EU closed the process of grant preparation.

The money is there, I have a desk in the university and a flat in town. I cannot wait for the project to start. Happy Easter!