The legislative framework for the EU’s Cohesion Policy, the “Regulation laying down common provisions (EU) No. 1303/2013 of 17 December 2013”, set the course for supporting the use of synergies between different sources of funding. The title is: “Principles and concept for synergies between the ESIF and Horizon 2020 in the legal framework for the ESIF in the Common Strategic Framework (CSF) – Regulation on common provisions (EU) No. 1303/2013 of 17 December 2013”.
Recital 30: Synergies between ESI Funds and Horizon 2020 for investments in the area of research and development
“Key mechanisms for achieving those synergies should be the recognition of flat rates for eligible costs from Horizon 2020 for a similar project and beneficiary and the possibility of combining funding from different Union instruments, including the ESI Funds and Horizon 2020, in the same operation.”
Art. 4 (2): Principle of complementarity
The Commission and the Member States will ensure complementarity in support from the ESI Funds and other European Union instruments.
Art 13 (1): Synergy guidelines for beneficiaries
The Commission will prepare guidelines for the effective access to and use of the ESI Funds and on how to exploit complementarities with other instruments from relevant Union policies.
Art. 15 (1) b) i): Arrangements for synergies
Partnership agreements must include arrangements that ensure coordination between the ESI Funds and other Union and national funding instruments and with the EIB.
Art. 65 (11): Combination of support
A project may receive support from different EU funding programmes (or from one or more ESI Funds or from one or more programmes and from other Union instruments), provided that the expenditure item does not receive support from another Fund or Union instrument, or support from the same Fund under another programme.
Art. 67(5)b and Art. 68 (1) c): Alignment of funding rules
Regulations for funding scales for the ESI Funds (grants and repayable support) can be aligned with the provisions of Horizon 2020 (and other EU programmes) for unit costs, lump sums and flat rates for a similar type of operation and beneficiary.
Art. 70 (2): Funding for projects outside the scope of the programme
This article allows for up to 15 % of funds from the ERDF and the EMFF at the level of priority (or up to 5 % of EAFRD support at programme level) as well as up to 3% of funds from an ESF-OP (Art. 13(3) ESF) to be allocated to measures outside the scope of the programme.
Art. 96 (3)d and (6)a: Coordination in the Operational Programmes
Mechanisms to ensure coordination between ESIF and other Union and national funding instruments must be set out in the Operational Programmes (OP). If relevant, the arrangements for interregional and transnational actions within the Operational Programmes with beneficiaries located in at least one other Member State must be indicated.
ANNEX I (CSF; Sections 3 and 4): Ensuring synergies, effective coordination and complementarity of different programmes
The Common Strategic Framework (CSF) stipulates that Commission and Member States should ensure synergies, effective coordination and complementarity of different programmes, explicitly those between the ESI Funds and Horizon 2020 (Section 4.3).
Synergies between policy areas should be supported both at programme as well as project level:
For example, Operational Programmes must set out mechanisms to ensure coordination between ESIF and other Union and national funding instruments. Synergies can be achieved through the joint or parallel funding of projects. Equally possible is sequential funding, where follow-up projects are supported by other funding instruments. This can be both “downstream” through the commercialisation of results from Horizon 2020 projects in local or regional consortia but also “upstream” if capacities for successful implementation of cutting-edge research projects are built up using ESIF support.
The European Commission has published a guide entitled “Enabling synergies between European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020 and other research, innovation and competitiveness-related Union programmes”.
Further information on how to make use of synergies between the ESIF and Horizon 2020, in particular an overview of relevant Horizon 2020 announcements, can be found on the “Synergies” portal of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research: