Seconded persons in your HE project – how to charge the costs

Personnel costs usually account for a significant portion of the budget in Horizon Europe projects. While employees are the most common type of eligible personnel costs, there are other options in the mix. One of them is the costs of seconded persons by a third party against payment.

First things first, what does the term “seconded persons” mean?

Seconded persons are individuals employed and paid by a third party, such as universities, research institutes or other legal entities that are temporarily transferred to work for the beneficiary on the HE project. They are at the disposal of the beneficiary and work under its control and instructions, however the legal arrangements stay with the original employer.

Eligibility conditions

Including seconded persons in your HE project can be easy or challenging, depending on several factors. Let’s not forget that we are talking about public funds so of course there are specific eligibility conditions that must be met:

  • their involvement and work performed must be linked with the project, be in line with its objectives and must be incurred during the project timeline
  • the secondment arrangements must be clearly defined in the legal agreement between the beneficiary and the employer of the seconded person
  • they must work under similar conditions to those of employees, in particular regarding their work being organised and supervised by the beneficiary and similar presence requirements
  • the results of their work (IP) must belong to the beneficiary
  • the costs cannot be significantly different from costs of the beneficiary’s employees performing similar tasks

Associated costs – what can be included in the project

The costs associated with seconded persons are eligible as personnel costs (A.3 category), but it is important to note that there are limitations. First of all, the costs of the seconded persons must be declared as actual costs. Like the costs of employees (A1 category), the seconded person costs include their gross salary, social security and employer’s contribution. The only limitation is that the costs cannot include any profit for the original employer.

Finally, let’s see what it looks like in practice – check the example below

A researcher works as a technical expert for a company X implementing an HE project. He is employed by a public university which also pays his salary. According to the secondment agreement, the beneficiary (company X) must reimburse the university an amount corresponding to the paid salary of the researcher. The reimbursed amount is a cost for the beneficiary and is recorded as such in its account. Finally, the beneficiary will declare the amount reimbursed to the university in the financial statement.

What if the seconded person is located in a different country? Can the costs still be included as personnel costs? If you want to explore this topic further, drop us a message at