The subsidising of selected proposals for medium- and large-scale research infrastructure amounts to 70% of the subsidisable costs. In order to stimulate cooperation between centres of knowledge and between centres of knowledge and third parties, this percentage can increase to:
- 90% of the subsidisable costs if the proposal is made by research groups from more than one body eligible for subsidies and it is demonstrated in the proposal that all applicants account for at least half of the amount they would have to pay if the remaining 10% of the subsidisable costs were proportionately distributed. This is to emphasise that there must be a real contribution and commitment from all applicants, and that it is not simply a formal construct.
- 100% of the portion of the subsidisable costs to be funded by the university or university college itself if at least 25% of the qualifying costs are borne by a body other than a university or university college.
Cost categories eligible for subsidy
- Costs for research investments, i.e. the costs of purchasing the research infrastructure itself or purchasing the construction components for the foreseen research infrastructure, including the non-refundable portion of VAT. Also the costs of upgrading, i.e. substantially improving, existing research infrastructure are included;
- Personnel costs for the development and construction of the research infrastructure. This also includes the personnel costs for upgrading existing research infrastructure; i.e. this does NOT include operational or maintenance personnel once the infrastructure is up and running;
- Maintenance costs over the entire depreciation period, i.e. the costs arising from maintenance agreements or research infrastructure upgrades;
- Since when installing medium or large-scale equipment, institutions often need to modify the buildings, and the efficient use of research equipment calls for specialised personnel in some cases, it has been provided that, spread over the five-year depreciation period for the initial investment, a maximum of 15% of the subsidy per dossier allocated to the application can go towards:
- costs of modifying buildings and connection costs relating to the research-infrastructure;
- equipment repair costs;
- personnel costs for the permanent maintenance and operation of the research infrastructure. These may be the costs for personnel already in service on a permanent or contractual basis at the receiving institution and already in possession of the competencies needed to ensure the permanent maintenance and operation of the research infrastructure, or personnel to be trained specifically for this purpose. However, they can also relate to costs for personnel to be recruited by the receiving institution.
The costs associated with educating, training and retraining personnel in the use of the research infrastructure are subsidisable under the Hercules initiative. To ensure the proper operation of the research infrastructure it is essential that competent personnel be recruited or that existing personnel be trained or retrained.
The so-called 15% rule described above does not mean that “no more than 15% of the total sum requested as a subsidy” can be spent on the costs above.
Shifts within the depreciation period do not present a problem; the 15% rule is designed as an average rule applied across the depreciation period as a whole.
Costs not eligible for subsidy
- Operating costs relating to the research infrastructure. These costs are normally borne by research projects using the infrastructure;
- Costs for infrastructure facilities, such as costs for buildings, facilities chargeable to normal housing, with the exception of costs for modifying buildings, and connection costs specifically related to the research infrastructure in question.
Duration of large-scale investment projects
For practical reasons, the duration is defined as the period of time starting at the point of signature and ending 18 months after the end of the depreciation period.
In principle a fixed depreciation period of 5 years is assumed, with the exception of ICT equipment (hardware and software) where the depreciation period is set at 3 years. The calculation of the depreciation period is carried out in conformance with the rules of the institution of the promoter-spokesperson.