I would be interested in creating with some colleagues a FET Young Explorers project, in which I would be Work Package leader. I've been involved in several european projects, but always as a postdoc recruited by a PI (or WP leader), and I don't have a permanent position yet. So basically, the idea of applying to this project would be to get my full salary paid by the EU project, but I don't know if it's possible.

Indeed, in the FAQ, they say that the applicants need to have a position somewhere. I don't think getting a position would be a problem, but only if I come with my own salary. The question in this case is whether the hosting institution still needs to pay some part of my salary?

EDIT: A precision on the question. From the Guide for Applicants, Section A3/Budget, p. 47, the part about the requested European Commission contribution:

The requested EC contribution shall be determined by applying the upper funding limits indicated below, per activity and per participant to the costs accepted by the Commission, or to the flat rates or lump sums. Maximum reimbursement rates of eligible costs

  • Research and technological development = 50% or 75%*
  • Demonstration activities = 50%
  • Other activities (including management) = 100%

(*) For participants that are non profit public bodies, secondary and higher education establishments, research organisations and SMEs.

So, if the salary of a researcher is included in the Research and Technological development, then does that mean that it's possible to only ask for 75% of it to the EC? (assuming the researcher is employed by a university).

  • 1
    Good question. Those rules are always confusing. We certainly pay for researchers on EU projects, but I don't fully know what goes on under the hood. May 25, 2012 at 8:48

2 Answers 2


So, after quite some time spent on reading the paperwork and talking with helpful staff, I finally understood how this system works. There are different amounts involved:

  • S: the salary of the researcher, corresponding to the gross amount, i.e. before tax. For instance, 50.000 euros per year.
  • r: the overhead asked by the host institution, which basically corresponds to the indirect costs of hosting the researcher (renting the office, paying the admin staff, etc). This is an agreement between the host institution and the european commission, usually calculated as a percentage of the salary. For instance, where I'm working now, it's 67%. In some places, it can go up to 100%.
  • T: the travel and equipments expenses. It basically depends on the expected number of conferences to attend per year, the meetings organised for the project, etc. For instance, based on 4 conferences per year, 2500 euros per conference, that makes 10.000 euros.
  • C = S + rS + T: the total cost of the researcher per year. For instance, that would be 50000 + 33500 + 10000 = 93500.
  • Req = 0.75 * C: is the requested amount to the commission (assuming the host institution belongs to: profit public bodies, secondary and higher education establishments, research organisations and SMEs, 0.5 otherwise). So, for the example, we would request 70.125 euros per year.

Note that the request amount is 10.000 euros above the gross salary of the researcher (deducting the travel costs). In other words, one could consider that the 25% the host institution has to pay are indirectly paid by giving an office and proving staff support (who, in general, would be paid anyway, EU project or not), and therefore it does not necessarily mean that the researcher has to find another funding source for the missing 25%.

  • Disclaimer: I won't pretend this method works for any project/situation, but that seems the case at least for FET-Open projects. I know it's different for Marie Curie Actions, which work more as a grant than a salary, and for which the salary is fixed by the commission.
    – user102
    May 25, 2012 at 9:05

I think this is a function of the EU country in question, and perhaps even the specific institution that you want to work for.

If you have a particular institution in mind, then you should contact them directly to ask about the specific procedures that apply there. Otherwise, you should take a look at the national-level funding agency or agencies that provide the funding that is comparable to the EU-level program. For instance, in Germany, that would mean looking at what the DFG permits as part of their internal practices. [In Germany, this usually shouldn't be a problem, but it might in other countries, depending on their appointment procedures.]

But I think the other thing is that most likely a temporary worker can get a full-time salary from an EU-level grant, but a permanent employee cannot.

  • Thanks for your answer, I also think that it only applies to temporary worker (which would be my case). I just edited my question to emphasise more on the exact problem I'm facing, and it doesn't seem to depend on the country or the hosting institution. I'm still quite a newbie in EU project, so I'm having a hard time deciphering the vocabulary :)
    – user102
    Apr 4, 2012 at 8:46

You must log in to answer this question.