FAQ - Academic Research Programme

What are the eligibility criteria for principal researchers?

Principal researchers must be academics who are affiliated to a research centre located in a contracting state to the European Patent Convention (EPC). This research centre will act as the applicant for the research proposal. Non-academics can participate as co-researchers.

Can principal researchers submit more than one proposal?

Principal researchers cannot submit multiple proposals for one stream. They can, however, submit separate proposals for different streams.

They are free to join other applications. However, the Scientific Committee will try to avoid selecting the same teams twice for different research schemes.

Does collaborative research here mean collaboration with an EPO department or could it be any type of collaboration?

Firstly, we encourage applicants to submit proposals involving collaboration between different academic teams and institutions. In addition, we also expect the research proposals to generate useful and relevant results for the EPO. This includes, for instance, the production of datasets and indicators that could be further employed by the EPO for its own analyses and studies, as well as results relevant for the European patent system. Interested EPO departments will therefore help select the projects and supervise their progress, and may provide advice, suggestions and input, where appropriate.

If the applicant is awarded a grant, will the EPO cover all or only part of the expenses? In other words, should the winning research institutes expect to provide co-funding?

All eligible expenses approved in the project proposal are reimbursed. No co-funding is required.

The application form includes different budget categories. In the event of a grant being awarded, is it possible to transfer some of the budget between categories due to unexpected changes? Is there any threshold for such changes?

Project expenses should conform to the approved budget proposal in section 8.7 of the application form. The budget lines can only be adjusted in exceptional cases, backed by solid reasons and subject to prior EPO approval.

What is the time limit for submitting an amendment?

A request for amendment should be sent as soon as changes are foreseen. An amendment agreement may follow.

Is non-deductible VAT an eligible cost? For example, if our research institute cannot recover the VAT from institutional activities, can we claim the cost of an outsourcing expense (VAT included) in our financial report?

For reimbursables, expenses with VAT can be reimbursed if the VAT rate and the amount are clearly shown on the supplier's invoice and the grant receiver declares they are not able to recover the VAT paid.

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