H2020 project suspension – how does it work?

Projects are meant to be completed.  No-one likes to leave unfinished business. But there are situations that come up from time to time in which the project can’t be completed or is put on hold.

If the execution of your H2020 project becomes impossible or excessively difficult due to exceptional circumstances, you may request to stop the project for a period of time and suspend the Grant Agreement (GA) implementation.

When can project suspension be applied?

Suspension can occur for a number of reasons.

  • The most common include problems with project financing or technology limitations that require major changes in the scope of the work.
  • It’s also possible to request suspension of the project for professional, personal or family reasons (including parental leave or long sick-leave).
  • The project can be also stopped as a result of natural disasters, pandemics or diverse accidents, defined as force majeure (Example: the Covid-19 pandemic).

Whatever the reason, be aware that GA suspension may be used only exceptionally if it is necessary to stop the action in order to fix specific problems.

It should NOT be used in situations that cannot be resolved through a temporary interruption; in such cases the GA should be terminated.

How does it work?

  • The European Commission (EC) must be formally notified of the suspension, the request should include the reasons why and the expected date of resumption.
  • In principle, suspensions (other than for parental leave) should not exceed 30% of the project duration.
  • The suspension will take effect the day the notification is received by the EC.
  • During the suspension, no work may be done. Ongoing work packages must be interrupted and no new work packages may be started.

Costs incurred during a suspension of the action implementation are not eligible and therefore cannot be claimed.

End of the suspension period

Once circumstances allow resuming the project, it is necessary:

  • to inform the EC and sign an amendment to the Grant Agreement to set the date on which the project will be continued,
  • to extend the project or make other changes (if necessary) to adapt to the new situation.

Consequences of project suspension

Costs incurred during suspension are not eligible. Additionally, payments from the EC will be delayed while the project is on hold. This situation impacts cash-flow and doesn’t help things to improve.

Furthermore, after a suspension period the EC will evaluate the feasibility of the project and consider whether the project should be continued. If the evaluation is not positive which means that resumption is impossible or project requires too many significant changes, the EC may terminate the Agreement.

Would you like to know more about this topic? Contact hello@getpolite.eu for more information and guidance.