Horizon 2020 & Horizon Europe - Legal status of the academic institutes and research entities of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
These institutes were validated under FP7 rules as ‘non-public body’, and they would like that the Commission reassess their status.
There is a difference in definition and interpretation of legal status between Bulgarian legislation and EC Regulations for the institutes of BAS. Such difference poses legal issues and limits or prevents them from applying with and participating in FP projects, whereas according to your their equivalents in other EU countries do not have this problem.
In accordance with the EU Funding & Tenders rules on legal entity validation, LEAR appointment and financial capacity assessment (http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/grants_manual/lev/h2020-rules-lev-lear-fvc_en.pdf ) the European Union (EU) Financial Regulation requires that all recipients of EU funds must be validated. Legal entity validation comprises two distinct actions: (a) the verification that the entity exist as legal entity and (b) the verification of certain special legal statuses that are used in EU funding programs.
These checks are done during the selection procedure by the Commission Validation Service in the Research Executive Agency (REA), who is the central validation body in the Commission in charge of validating all legal entities to be recipients of EU funds. Once the validation has been done the participant has to appoint a Legal Entity Appointed Representative (LEAR). Requests for modification of a validation will only be accepted if submitted by the participant’s LEAR (via the EU Funding & Tenders Portal electronic exchange system), and must be accompanied by the relevant supporting documents (i.e. upload in the Participant Register).
Taking this into account, in your case there are two important elements to consider:
- The validation rules have not changed over the years, the definition of ‘public body’ in force under FP7 remains the same under Horizon 2020. In addition, it also has to be noted that as from January 2018 the validation rules in force are corporate, they currently apply to all participants in all EU grants and procurement activities, and the definition of ‘public body’ has remained unchanged.
- As far as we understand, the institutes and BAS are not bringing additional legal evidence compared to the one provided at that time of their validation, and that was deeply analysed by the Commission Validation Service and by DG Research and Innovation (DG RTD).
In this context, since the definition of ‘public body’ has not be changed, if the Institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences would like that the Validation Service revise their status, they will have to provide additional legal evidence compared to the one provided at that time to support their view point (such as a revised/new legislation on the qualification of the institutes operating under the BAS’ umbrella). Otherwise, unfortunately the revision of the EC assessment will not be possible.
In this sense if the Institutes can provide additional evidence, if:
- The new evidence is related to the general national law of BAS and its institutes, please send it to the attention to the REA Validation Services via the Participant Register.
- The additional evidence is related to specific institutes (as they may have different historical origins), in this case, it may be advisable that the concerned institute(s) directly contact REA Validation Services through the appointed LEAR (by submitting a specific request in the system with the supporting documents).