Expertise relevant to the Targeted Network
I give trainings to researchers and research managers on all aspects of European Research grants especially also on the rules and regulations (started with FP6 and now on Horizon 2020). I deal administratively with amendment requests in relation with EU grants and support the researchers with all queries that involve legal issues in EU grants. With my colleagues, I am responsible to check and if necessary negotiate the consortium agreements (excluding the parts on IP rigths). I have been the main point of contact for an audit of EU grants performed by the Europ. Court of auditors and by an external auditor sent by the EC.
As a project manager in an FP6 project I experienced the importance of a solid legal framework in case of conflicts.
Our office is the first “problem solving” contact for all scientists with EU funded grants and we also prepare the financial statements. I can therefore also contribute to the other BESTPRAC working groups finances and admin.
The University of Bern is a full university with 8 faculties and 160 institutes to which more than 15’000 students are enrolled. As per end of 2013 we are involved in more than 120 FP7 grants, with 13 ERC grants, 5 COFUND and 60 collaborative projects (4 as coordinator). Following the principle of freedom of research, researchers are free to submit proposals to all funding agencies without previous checks or signatures if they are not required by the funding agency. There is no central support for national grants, while for EU (“FP”) grants there is support from the Euresearch office in the vice rectorate research covering pre- and post-grant phases. Euresearch supports e.g. with budgeting issues (templates) and checks the forms (proposal, GPFs). Only when signatures are required for EU grants, the PIs must go via Euresearch that checks the grant and consortium agreements and organises the required signatures. If so agreed with the PI, Euresearch keeps the contacts with the Project Officer and/or the Coordinator in the pre-grant phase. For consortium agreements the IPR sections are checked by the Technology Transfer office Unitectra.
In the post-grant phase, researchers get in most cases administrative support from the institute’s secretary. Newcomers are offered a briefing by Euresearch staff on the specific rules in relation with eligible costs in FP grants. Euresearch is contacted when there are very specific FP-grants questions. Employment contracts and work permits are issued and organised by the central HR unit alone, with the exception of Marie Curie grants, where the Euresearch office works with the HR office. The grant holders are personally responsible for the financial sound management of their grants. The funds are on a dedicated project account at the central financial department and the bookings are approved by the researcher in charge and released by the financial department. The FP Financial Statements (and CFS if necessary) are prepared upon request of the researcher by the Euresearch office in collaboration with the scientists and their secretariats. For ERC grants, the Euresearch office also prepares the management reports. Euresearch organises regularly workshops for the staff in the institutes, administrative and scientists (e.g. on the Horizon2020 rules and regulations). In a sentence, the Euresearch office is THE competence centre in the University of Bern for all questions related to EU grants (FP7, H2020).
Studies of natural sciences (Biology), University of Bern 1996-2001: Consultant and project manager at Naturaqua PBK, Bern (private company) since 2002: Advisor and EU grants specialist for Euresearch at the Regional office Bern (at University of Bern) 2007-2010: Project manager of an FP6 Network of Excellence (“LINEE”)