Are bonuses eligible as Horizon Europe personnel costs?

You’ve got the Horizon Europe funding and you want to pay a bonus to everyone for their hard work on the application. It’s a team success and employees should be rewarded!

But wait. Can you actually charge a bonus to the Horizon Europe project?

The answer is not so straightforward.

The rules for personnel costs eligibility allow bonuses to be charged to the project, however such additional payments must meet the conditions specified in the Annotated Model Grant Agreement. If it’s important for you to include bonus in the project costs, you should first consult the model agreement and check if the payment that you are planning to make is eligible.

As an overview, the Horizon Europe rules are as follows:

  • The conditions for bonuses should be always objective and set up in the internal rules of the company or in the employment contracts. It is recommended to have a bonus policy already in place.
  • Payments should be made in a consistent manner. For instance, bonuses should not be dependent on the work in specific projects or limited to selected employees.

On the other hand, the EC gives a firm NO to bonuses granted on commercial performance or fund-raising targets, paid at the sole discretion of the manager, or to any arbitrary bonuses based on subjective conditions.

So if you are wondering whether the bonus paid due to involvement in the Horizon Europe project is eligible, the answer is unfortunately NO. Such a bonus would be clearly related to a specific project, which is not acceptable for the EC. The logic is that you can charge costs which are incurred according to your usual remuneration practices. In this case it would be hard to prove the consistency of payments.

Do you want to make sure if your bonuses are eligible? Do not hesitate to contact us at