WHAT DOES ARTICLE 32 AT HORIZON 2020 MODEL GRANT AGREEMENT IMPLY?
The article 32 of grant contracts within Horizon 2020: Hiring and work conditions for researchers.
Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the framework program established by the European Commission as a tool to finance research and innovation activities. The Grant Agreements are contracts signed between beneficiaries and the Commission. The signature of these contracts, will determine beneficiaries commitments. Here, you can check the Annotated Model of Grant Agreement (AMGA). The responsabilities, as a result of the management of human resources in research, will be covered in the AMGA article 32 under the title “Hiring and work conditions for researchers”. Particularly, this article shows beneficiaries must take necessary measures in order to implement the principles of the Letter for researchers and the Conduct Code to hire researchers, the so called Charter&Code. This principles will be related to:
- Work conditions,
- Transparent and based merits recruitment processess,
- Researchers career development.
The article 32 in the frame of Marie-Slodowska Curie actions and specific conditions for hiring and work.
Marie-Slodowska Curie actions include a grant agreement with a modified article 32 in contrast to the rest of European projects. Responsibilities are of course lined up with the Charter&Code, but the article emphasizes the work contract, the supervision of the researcher, etc…You can check the article’s responsibilities in the AMGA.
In this section, we will treat frequently asked questions by the Spanish institutions regarding the fulfilling of the article 32. The answers to these questions are illustrative, and you are also welcomed to send your own questions to email@example.com.
The most immediate way to fulfil with the article 32 is by the beneficiary institution getting the logo “Human Resources Excellence in Research”. As we further will describe, this logo is an acknowledgement of the European Commission to the institutions that have reported to be in the process to line up their policies with the Charter&Code principles. This process is made up of five steps. You can find information on this link.
It is important to highlight that the logo is one of the recognitions (if not the only one), for the institution to demonstrate that it is giving the necessary steps to implement the Charter&Code principles. In any case, the institution can show with other documents the measures it has taken to “implement the principles of the Letter for Researchers and the Conduct Code to hire researchers”.
It is key to highlight that article 32 is one of those “best effort obligation” type of article; thus, beneficiaries must take all the possible measures to sort out the possible conflicts that may arise between their policies/practices and the principles outlined by the Charter & Code.
We remark this is an obligation for project beneficiaries: under no circumstances, is it an evaluation criteria for Horizon2020 proposals.
The European Commission can verify whether the article 32 is being fulfilled via auditing, project reviews, audits and enquiries by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), where it could be requested to the H2020 grant beneficiary to demonstrate whether the article 32 has been properly applied.
The beneficiary would not fulfill with the article 32 if one of the following cases arises:
- If the beneficiary does not take actions to implement the Charter&Code.
- If the beneficiary does not take actions to sort out conflicts between its policies and the Charter&Code principles.
- If the beneficiary does not have clear policies for the selection and recruitment of researchers.
- If the beneficiary does not publicly publishes the available job offers.
Some examples of the consequences of not fulfilling the article 32 depending on the unfulfilment degree:
- Rejection of the granted costs.
- Refusal of the maximum funding.
- Recuperation of non-justified amounts.
- Finance and Administrative fines.
- Project, contract or payments suspension.
- Early termination fo the project or contract.
- End of beneficiary participation.
What type of documents must the beneficiaries keep in order to show they have fulfilled with the article 32? Can you provide an example of appropriate documentation required? Do the documents that need to be kept need to be only for H2020 related purposes researchers or for all the researchers in general?
The type of documentation that beneficiaries should keep are evidence of the posting of the job offer, recruitment and selection process criteria, work contract, payrolls evidence, proof of the type of work done during the project (lab journals, research publications, etc). As a proof of, researchers can keep their attendance to courses, training.
That applies to all the researchers and third parties in H2020.
Would the recruitment and hiring policy be published in the beneficiary's website and/or the EURAXESS Jobs portal web?
All the research vacancies and funding opportunities must be publicly announced or published. We encourage all the beneficiaries to use international online platforms, such as EURAXESS Jobs Portal, but publishing the job offer could be done in the legal entity’s website if that is the normal way of doing so.
Does the need of publishing researching job offers apply to all the H2020 projects or to all the researching vacancies of the institution?
We encourage employers and funding parties for researchers of around the world to support the Charter & Code, therefore to publish all the job or research offers in the EURAXESS web.
Publishing European Union projects' job offers that are linked to the "Grant Agreement" will be applied according to what it has been stablished in such contract.