Researchers working on EU-funded research and innovation projects will receive at least as much salary as they would get if they were working on national projects, and will be eligible for an additional bonus of up to €8000 per year.

This is now guaranteed by a fresh amendment to the provisions of Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, presented by the European Commission today. The disparity between EU and national projects had, in some countries, created an obstacle for researchers to participate in Horizon 2020.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: «A solution to this serious issue has been found, facilitating the participation of all EU researchers in Horizon 2020 projects. It will contribute to the narrowing of the salary differences between researchers in EU-funded projects, and eventually help countries retain their best talents. This proves how much importance we give to spreading excellence and closing the innovation divide.»

The Commission has tackled the problem by adjusting the salary concept in the Horizon 2020 Model Grant Agreement, and putting it in line with national practice. Under Horizon 2020, the definition of basic salary and additional remuneration is used for calculating reimbursement of personnel costs.

According to a new, broader definition, some of the top-up bonuses that researchers previously received as additional remuneration will now be treated as part of their basic salary, to the level that they would receive when working on nationally-funded projects. In addition, the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation still allow the payment of additional bonuses under certain conditions, capped at €8000 per person per year.

Before this change, Horizon 2020 provisions had some unintended side effects on researchers in some countries with a low basic salary, whose pay in nationally funded projects is improved with larger bonuses. Commissioner Moedas pledged to address the problem in a speech in November 2016. The new measures will apply retroactively to all on-going Horizon 2020 grants.

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