Costs of third parties (non-beneficiaries) in Horizon 2020

Third parties (non-beneficiaries) contribute to an action without themselves being a beneficiary, e.g. by providing contributions in-kind or by providing services for beneficiaries against payment.

"Overview third parties"


Subcontracting (Art. 13 GA)

Detailed information can be found on our thematic page "Subcontracting in Horizon 2020".


Contracts (Art. 10 GA)

Detailed information can be found on our thematic page "Costs of other goods and services in Horizon 2020".


Linked third parties (Art. 14 GA)

Linked third parties are not beneficiaries, but carry out tasks within the project and declare their own costs (non-profit rule!) in a separate financial statement.
They are subject to the same eligibility rules as the beneficiaries. Linked third parties are eligible if they are named in the Grant Agreement (GA) together with their tasks. Linked third parties may only be parent/subsidiary/associated companies of a beneficiary ("affiliates") as well as organisations with a legal link to a beneficiary.

International Partners (art. 14a GA)

These are organisations that are not eligible for funding (legal entities established in a third country not listed in Annex A to the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020 or international organisations other than international European interest organisations (art. 2.1(12) of the Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation).

Their estimated costs need to be indicated in Annex 2, but will not be reimbursed and will not be taken into account for the calculation of the grant amount.

Please note
International Partners are not beneficiaries. But they perform their action tasks directly (this means they work on project tasks).

For these international partners the obligations under the GA do not apply directly, as they do not sign it. Still beneficiaries must ensure that the international partners comply with the obligations of art. 22, art. 23, art. 18.1.1, art. 20.3(a), art. 20.4(a), art. 20.7, art. 35, art. 36 as well as art. 38.


Third parties providing in-kind contributions (Arts. 11 and 12 GA)

So-called "third parties providing in-kind contributions" provide in-kind contributions to a beneficiary.
Such in-kind contributions may consist of equipment or research infrastructure, or personnel employed by the third party and working for the beneficiary ("seconded personnel"). Please note: Not to be confused with staff provided by a temporary work agency (= "contracts"/"other direct costs").

The costs eligible are the actual costs incurred by the third party for his/her in-kind contributions, even if the beneficiary has received the in-kind contribution free of charge and not against payment.  If the in-kind contribution was provided free of charge, the funding received for this shall be considered as receipts of the project. In any case, the third party and the type of in-kind contribution must be indicated in the GA.


Financial support to third parties by beneficiaries (Art. 15 GA)

Third parties may receive financial support from the project budget in the form of fellowships, prizes etc. only if this is explicitly foreseen in the work programme and if Article 15 is shown as an option in the Grant Agreement. If this is the case the following minimal requirements must be met:

  • maximum amount of EUR 60,000 per third party
  • criteria for calculating the exact amount of financial support
  • a closed list of the types of activities that qualify for financial support
  • the (groups of) persons that may receive financial support AND
  • the general criteria for giving financial support.

Financial support to third parties may also be provided in the form of prizes. More detailed information about the specific prerequisites can be found in Article 15.2 GA.
Non-compliance with the requirements mentioned above may lead to a reduction of the grant.

Consortia that grant financial support to third parties within their Horizon 2020 action are referred to the document “Guidance note on financial support to third parties under H2020".


Please note: As third parties do not sign the GA, the beneficiary remains responsible towards the EU-Commission. Therefore it is recommended to conclude a contract between the beneficiary and the third party. In this respect you may use our Sideletter for Contracts for Services as template.

More detailed information about all types of non-beneficiaries can found in the Annotated Grant Agreement (AGA), Artikel 8 bis Artikel 15.


Questions & Answers

Question: Can a beneficiary simultaneously be a third party of another beneficiary in the same action?
Answer: No.
Explanation: Third parties are organisations that have not signed the Grant Agreement. Therefore an organisation cannot simultaneously be a beneficiary and a third party (“non-beneficiary”).

Question: Can a beneficiary simultaneously be a subcontractor of a linked third party of another beneficiary?
Answer: No.
Explanation: Subcontracts between beneficiaries of the same action are not eligible for funding. Since linked third parties are subject to the same accounting rules as the beneficiaries, this rule must be applied accordingly.

Question: Can a linked third party charge costs of contracts, subcontracts and in-kind contributions?
Answer: Yes.
Explanation: Linked third parties are subject to the same accounting rules as the beneficiaries and can therefore also charge the costs of contracts, subcontracts and in-kind contributions.

Question: How should the costs of linked third parties be allocated in the proposal?
Answer: The costs of a linked third party should be allocated to the beneficiary to which it is linked (i.e. personnel costs of the linked third party are added to the personnel costs of the beneficiary; other direct costs of the linked third party are added to the other direct costs of the beneficiary etc.)
Exception: In Innovation Actions (IA), the costs of the linked third party must be specified separately from the costs of the beneficiary.


Mag. Martin Baumgartner
Mag. Martin Baumgartner
National Contact Point: Legal and financial matters
T +43 5 7755 4008
Mag. Tamara-Katharina Mitiska
Mag. Tamara-Katharina Mitiska
Expert: Legal and financial matters
T +43 5 7755 4009
Robert Worel
Robert Worel
T +43 5 7755 4611