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Contract with the EU and Project Start

Funding from Horizon Europe entails that the beneficiary enters a Grant Agreement with the EU and that project participants enter a consortium agreement prior to project start. Read about contents and deadlines for the Grant Agreement, including Description of the Action and consortium agreemeent.

Grant Agreement

The Grant Agreement is a contract between the beneficiaries and the European Commission. The Grant Agreement defines the rights and duties of the beneficiary, including eligible costs, requirements for exploitation and dissemination of project results, and requirements for use of EU emblem.

Step 1: Entering Data

First step of preparing the Grant Agreement is to enter a number of legal, administrative, and financial data in ’My Projects page/My Area’ on the Funding & Tenders Portal. The coordinator or the administrative coordinator enters into the Grant Agreement, but all parties must sign it.

In this connection, three roles must be assigned:
1. LEAR (Legal Entity Appointed Representative)
2. LSIGN (Legal Signatories)
3. FSIGN (Financial Signatory).

About LEAR

LEAR is a representative appointed by the management of a business, a university, etc. Most commonly, it is a staff member of the key administration of the organisation who gets the LEAR role.

On behalf of his/her organisation LEAR can correct core administrative data for the organisation, such as address or name. LEAR must approve signatories in the organisation and therefore has an important role during project start and when costs are settled with the EU.

All Horizon Europe participants must have one LEAR. Regardless of the size of the organisation, you can only appoint one LEAR. However, you can appoint Account Administrators to support LEAR.


LSIGN is appointed by LEAR. Normally, a project has more than one LSIGN, and they are entitled to sign the Grant Agreement electronically. LSIGN is at the same level as LEAR, when they are connected to the project as PLSIGN (Project Legal Signatory).

The first action of PLSIGN is to sign a Declaration of Honour. This is a declaration that the organisation will join the Horizon Europe project and that it is eligible.


FSIGN is appointed by LEAR to sign financial declarations of a project when they are connected to the project as PLSIGN (Project Legal Signatory).

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Payment of First Instalment

When the legal, administrative, and financial information has been entered, the EU informs how much pre-funding the project will receive.

Step 2: Preparing Description of the Action, DoA

Next step of the preparation of the Grant Agreement is to prepare DoA (Annex 1). DoA is the original application - where errors detected after submission have been corrected.

DoA is a key document since you must comply with deadlines and deliverables stipulated here. Only costs in connection with activities mentioned in DoA are eligible. In addition, be sure to stipulate here if other parties than the consortium are to assume project tasks in some fields (subcontractors or affiliated entities).

Step 3: Signing Grant Agreement

Last step is that the coordinator and the EU sign the Grant Agreement electronically. In addition, the other project participants in the consortium must sign the so-called Accession Form (Annex 3).

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Consortium Agreement

In parallel to contract negotiations a mutual consortium agreement must be drawn up, describing the terms for cooperation in the project. A consortium agreement is mandatory unless otherwise described in the call in question.

The consortium agreement describes how to deal with different issues under and after the project. These issues are, among others:

  • Project management, division of work, decision-making
  • Financial provisions, including distribution of EU funds
  • Intellectual property rights, under and after the project
  • Exploitation of results, including distribution of rights
  • Dissemination of results, including deadlines
  • Agreements on confidentiality
  • Agreements on liability/indemnification.

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Model Consortium Agreement

The European Commission does not refer to an actual model for the consortium agreement. It may be helpful to use the following model:

This model agreement was specially prepared for 'Research and Innovation Actions' and 'Innovation Actions' in Horizon 2020. It was drawn up by DESCA who has representatives from universities, research institutions, sector organisations, and businesses.

DESCA is presently working on a new model for Horizon Europe projects.

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last modified December 11, 2023