NCURA Named National Contact Point for Legal and Financial

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Open for Business:
NCURA is Horizon 2020 National Contact Point
be called upon to submit an application to Horizon 2020, to evaluate the terms and conditions of the template agreement, and to ensure compliance with European Commission grant regulations.
What is a PIC, and how can you obtain one through the URF, and
why do you need authentication from ECAS before you can do anything? New as all these acronyms and designations are for many
U.S. research administrators, why isn’t there a specifically designated person to help you figure these things out, or are you expected to call the European Commission’s Help Desk in Brussels?
The good news is that as of September 2014, NCURA is designated,
on a pilot basis, as the U.S. National Contact Point (NCP) for legal
and financial issues for Horizon 2020, which is the European
Union’s €80 billion (~$100 billion) grant program for 2014-2020.
In the same way that generations of research administrators have
turned to NCURA to make sense of the U.S. federal grant regulations
and the latest policy changes and on-line systems from U.S. federal
funding agencies, U.S. research administrators can turn to NCURA
for legal and financial questions regarding Horizon 2020. Thus, we
can tell you that all Horizon 2020 applicant institutions must first set
up an account with ECAS, or the European Commission’s Authentication Service. Only then, can an institution register through the
Unique Registration Facility (URF) to obtain a Participant Identification Code (PIC), which is a unique 9-digit identifier for every validated institution.
With more than 6,000 applications and an impressive 20% success
rate in the previous grant program (2007-2013), U.S. researchers
have been one of the most successful groups of applicants for European Union research grants. In addition, the European Commission
has been very explicit in welcoming even greater participation from
U.S. researchers for Horizon 2020. Thus, the likelihood is high that
U.S. research administrators, if they have not already done so, will
NCURA’s new role as Legal and Financial NCP will enable us to connect with the relevant units within the European Commission to do
the following:
• Provide information at the earliest possible time on work programs and roadmaps, upcoming calls, changes in priorities or administrative procedures, and funding statistics.
• Resolve common and systematic issues identified by U.S. researchers and administrators who encounter difficulties in submitting proposals, accepting awards, and managing projects.
• Partner with other countries’ Legal and Financial NCPs to advocate
for simpler and more efficient policies and procedures.
In fact, Kathleen Larmett, NCURA Executive Director, participated as
the first U.S. NCP of any kind in an NCP meeting with the European
Commission on Horizon 2020 legal and financial matters from November 10-11, 2014, in Brussels, Belgium. She was warmly welcomed
by the European Commission and the other NCPs, and then they all
proceeded to work through 155 questions that the NCPs had submitted
based on the issues that their researchers and research administrators
encountered in Horizon 2020. In addition to this annual meeting of
Legal & Financial NCPs with the European Commission, NCURA now
has access to the entire network of NCPs from other countries ranging
from Ireland to New Zealand (and everywhere in between), all of
which have had a more established NCP system than the U.S. This is in
addition to the contacts that NCURA already has developed with the
Legal & Financial NCPs from Germany and Austria, who generously offered insights and shared best practices on how to encourage and facilitate researchers from their respective countries to participate
successfully in Horizon 2020.
The following resources are critical for U.S. researchers and research administrators who are applying for or managing Horizon 2020 grants:
• What is Horizon 2020:
• Short video, fact sheets, and pocket guides:
• Participant Portal:
• Current Horizon 2020 calls and search tool:
• Five-step process for proposal submission:
Also be on the lookout for updates from NCURA Global and BILAT USA 2.0:
NCURA Magazine