The Presidium of the Czech Science Foundation has approved a number of measures in response to the ever-changing pandemic situation and various restrictions. The goal of these measures is to help Investigators and their teams to handle the situation.
Similar to last year, the changes involve more flexibility in the use of the grant funds, such as the eligibility of telecommunication and computer equipment, or the costs of childcare. We have also expanded the options to change workloads and modify project budgets,” says GACR President, Prof. RNDr. Jaroslav Koča, DrSc., adding: “I trust that Investigators of projects to be completed this year will appreciate a six-month extension, which we have already approved. We are also helping Applicants by extending the project proposal submission deadline.”
1. Budgets Unexhausted in 2021 May Be Carried over to Future Years
You may carry over and draw unlimited amounts from unexhausted targeted aid in future years – and this is already possible on the basis of Tender Documents and in compliance with Decree 367/2015 on Principles and Deadlines of Financial Reconciliation with the State Budget, State Assets, and the National Fund (hereinafter “Financial Reconciliation Decree”). Thus, GACR makes it possible already now to carry over and use the funds received in any previous year to the following year(s) of the project.
2. Items of the Basic Composition May Be Shifted in 2021
Measure: Items of the basic composition of the grant funds allocated to a Beneficiary or another participant may be shifted by up to CZK 100,000 until the end of 2021 without a special request, and it is not necessary to amend the Agreement on Grant Funding nor obtain a new Decision on Grant Funding.
The Beneficiary must properly explain any changes or carry-overs in drawdowns in the next Interim or Final Report. The Beneficiary must prove that such changes or carry-overs have served a purpose, that they were economical, effective, and necessitated by the covid-related situation, limiting people’s movement and communication.
It is still possible to shift items worth CZK 100,000 or more on the basis of an individual request approved by the Presidium, and an amendment to the Agreement.
ELIGIBLE COSTS IN 2021
1. Eligible costs covered by grant funds may now (and until the end of 2021) include the expenses defined below if such expenses have been incurred as a direct consequence of the restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic:
• Travel Expenses
Measure: Eligible expenses may now include the costs of COVID-19 tests if required for travel abroad in order to carry out a grant project. The amount of eligible costs will be reduced appropriately if the grant project is not the exclusive reason for your travel abroad.
• Postponed Conferences
Measure: You may still include costs incurred while carrying out a project among eligible costs (i.e. advances paid while the project was being carried out) if those costs were related to a conference which was postponed due to COVID-19 and was/will be held after the completion of the project, but no later than a year within such completion.
• Cancellation Fees
Measure: Eligible costs may include cancellation fees for cancelled conferences, including travel costs for cancelled business trips, both up to 100%, provided that the trip was cancelled due to COVID-19.
If the supplier refunds the costs or if you travel on a different date (e.g. using a voucher) but the trip is not related to specific project, you will be required to include these amounts in the project-related revenues.
• Telecommunication Cost
Measure: Until the end of 2021, eligible costs covered by grant funds may include the costs of telecommunication services and the costs of purchasing, maintaining, or repairing ICT devices and appliances (drawn from the material purchases or investments account), excluding phones, recorders, and readers.
2. Eligible costs coved by grant funds, specifically the overhead costs, may now include the additional expenses related to the covid crisis:
• such as the cost of childcare for the children and other dependants of the project team members.
3. Eligible costs coved by grant funds, specifically the material or personnel costs, may now include the additional expenses related to the covid crisis:
• costs of remuneration paid during e.g. a leave of absence or sick leave which is not covered by the government during the state of emergency;
• computer equipment used exclusively in a direct relation to the grant project.
1. Total Dedicated Workloads of a Team May Now Change by up to 35% without Prior Approval
Measure: If it is impossible to work on a project according to an approved plan due to COVID-19, the changes in professional teams that include a change in the total dedicated work capacity (workload) of up to 35% of the team’s total dedicated workload as defined by the Agreement (workload), including a change in the Investigator’s or Co-investigator’s dedicated workloads, are now possible through 2021 without a request for prior approval, and such changes do not require an amendment to the Agreement on Grant Funding nor a new Decision to Provide Grant Funding.
2. Decrease in the Minimal Dedicated Workload of the EXPRO and JUNIOR STAR Project Teams in 2021
Measure: If it is impossible to work on a project according to an approved plan due to COVID-19, the Beneficiary may request a reduction in the dedicated working hours of the individual team members carrying out the project pursuant to Article 5.1. of Annex 4 to the Tender Document.
1. Postponed Evaluation of the Final Report
Measure: If the Beneficiary requests a deadline extension for the evaluation of the Final Report, and such report is to be submitted by 31 July 2021, the deadline for the submission of the Final Report is now extended until 31 August 2021.
The option to postpone deadlines for projects to be completed in 2021 by six months has already been granted.