The Good, The Bad, and The Ambiguous: A Closer Look at the New AGA

Horizon Europe’s Annotated Grant Agreement (AGA) has gained weight, jumping from 185 pages to a hefty 328. But can we rely on the extra pages to simplify the trickiest rules? Let’s investigate three promising and three potentially thorny outcomes.


Positive output:

The long-awaited Annotated Grant Agreement is finally here (published on April 1st of all days), providing guidance and more clarity for grant beneficiaries. After a year and a half since the pre-draft version, it’s a positive milestone that will help ensure everyone knows their obligations and rights.

Negative output:

The published Annotated Grant Agreement is still a draft version and subject to revisions before becoming final. Grant beneficiaries can use the current version, but it’s uncertain if a final version will be available before the end of Horizon Europe. Still, who doesn’t love a little uncertainty in the world of innovation, right?


Positive output:

Another positive point is the improved clarity and consistency in the new AGA. Additional clarifications and examples have been included, which should help with better understanding of the legal and financial requirements of Horizon Europe. A few examples of these clarifications are explained in point 3.

Negative output:

On the negative side, the new AGA still uses imprecise language, such as “usual” (150+ times), “normally” (almost 100 times), and “significant” (30+ times). This can lead to disputes with auditors, as these terms can be interpreted in different ways. Let’s hope that future updates to the AGA will reduce the guesswork.


Positive output:

The new AGA Horizon Europe has finally answered some of the burning questions that have kept grant beneficiaries up at night, with important clarifications on personnel cost calculations, such as:

  1. Clarification on month duration for personnel cost calculation: the new guidelines now specify that a month for personnel cost calculation is considered to be 30 days long. While this may not be the most exciting news, it will surely make our lives a little easier.
  2. The document now includes a detailed example with calculations to clarify any doubts about end-of-contract indemnity. While it’s unfortunate that such indemnity sometimes becomes necessary, this addition should make personnel cost calculations more accurate.
  3. The new draft provides clarity on how to calculate personnel costs for employees with hourly rates instead of fixed salaries in their contracts. This is a key addition that ensures grant beneficiaries with these types of contracts are not disadvantaged.

Negative output:

As much as we would like to keep floating on the clouds of positivity, we have to come back down and face the reality that the new AGA Horizon Europe still has some confusing points, especially related to personnel cost calculations.

Here are 2 examples:

  1. The GA and AGA have conflicting instructions on how to calculate daily rates. While the GA requires the calculation to be done by financial year, the AGA suggests it should be done by reporting period. To add to the confusion, a new addition to AGA rules allows the calculation to be done separately for each calendar year within the reporting period. So, which calculation method should grant beneficiaries follow? This topic is complex enough to warrant a separate article on our blog, so stay tuned.
  2. You know what they say: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” Unfortunately, it seems that the new AGA Horizon Europe has missed the memo, at least when it comes to tracking time per day. While claiming to be a simplification, the system of converting hours to days has become overcomplicated, especially for part-time employees. The latest clarifications added to the draft AGA may have muddied the waters even further. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on this topic, if you dare.

So there you have it: the good, the bad, and the ambiguous of the new AGA. We’re not exactly doing cartwheels over here, but we’ll give credit where it’s due – some of the clarifications are helpful. And while we wait for the next version, we’ll keep our hopes up for a little surprise. Maybe the next AGA will come with a free GPS system, so we don’t lose our way in the maze of rules and regulations!