How to build the budget of your proposal

The budget in EU projects consists of direct and indirect costs

Direct costs are all those eligible costs that can be attributed directly to the project and are identified by the beneficiary as such, in accordance with its accounting principles and its usual internal rules. The following is a non-exhaustive list of direct eligible costs in EU projects:

  • The cost of personnel assigned to the project (temporary or permanent, full-time or part-time). 

There are two types of personnel costs to be considered when compiling the budget: 

► If the persons are known at the time of the proposal, the Standard Personnel Costs at CERN should be used (for more information, please contact the External Grants Section of the Finance Department).

► If the persons are not know at the time of the proposal, the Average Personnel Costs at CERN should be used. 

  • Travel costs and related subsistence allowances for people taking part in the project (are eligible if they are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices on travel).
  • The purchase cost of durable equipment (in accordance to the depreciation system of each beneficiary).
  • The costs of consumables, materials and supplies provided they are identifiable and assigned to the project.
  • Cost for sub-contracting, when it is indicated in the Description of Action.

Indirect costs, also called overheads, on the other hand, are all those eligible costs that cannot be identified and calculated by the beneficiary as being directly attributed to each project. Overheads comprise costs connected with infrastructures and the general operation of the organisation such as hiring or depreciation of buildings and plant, water/gas/electricity, maintenance, insurance, supplies and petty office equipment, communication and connection costs, postage, etc., and costs connected with horizontal services such as administrative and financial management, human resources, training, legal advice, documentation, etc.

In H2020, the indirect costs are calculated on the basis of a 25% flat-rate of the total direct eligible costs, excluding direct elgible costs for subcontracting and financial support to third parties. 

More information about the budget of EU projects, including the use of the overheads at CERN is described in the following note

Please refer to the External Grants Section for guidance, examples and templates.