Online Manual

Grant signature

Signing the Grant Agreement is the last step of the grant preparation phase. It is done directly in the Portal Grant Management System (electronic signature) and demonstrates that both contracting parties formally approve the agreement and its annexes.

The Grant Agreement enters into force with the last signature (normally the EU because the Coordinator usually signs first).

Where? Access to the Grant Management System is available through My Projects > Actions > Manage Project > Proposal Management & Grant Preparation > Sign .

Who? The Grant Agreement is signed by the EU and the Coordinator. The other Beneficiaries do not sign the Grant Agreement itself, but accede to the Grant Agreement through Accession Forms. Affiliated Entities or Associated Partners do not sign and do not become formal parties to the Agreement.

How? You will receive e-mail notifications prompting the tasks needed for grant signature. For more detail, see the list of grant-related notifications .

Signing EU Grant Agreements electronically — What's involved?

The electronic signature in the Portal requires:

  • a chain of trust with Beneficiaries — to guarantee signatories' identity
  • a system of digital signatures protected by multiple security features — to guarantee documents' reliability and authenticity

This type of electronic signature is used for signature of contracts, amendments and cost claims (Financial Statements and invoices).

The chain of trust

LEAR

The Legal Entity Appointed Representative (LEAR) appointed by the Beneficiary's legal representative (blue-ink signature; LEAR documents uploaded in the Participant Register) is the centrepiece of the chain of trust. More in the section LEAR appointment and validation.

LEAR appoints all LSIGNs and FSIGNs for the organisation

The LEAR vouches for the organisation data entered into the system and the nominated persons. They appoint the individuals authorised to sign:

  • Grant Agreements and amendments (Legal Signatories, known as LSIGNs)
  • Financial Statements (Financial Signatories, known as FSIGNs).

The LEAR is responsible for keeping these lists constantly updated.

PaCO selects LSIGN and FSIGN for project

Participant Contacts (PaCo) or Coordinator Contacts (CoCos) have to select the Project Legal Signatories (PLSIGNs) and Financial Signatories (PFSIGNs) from the LSIGN and FSIGN lists nominated by the LEAR. For more information, check the section on Roles and access rights .

Closed system where access rights are strictly controlled.

The chain of trust is built in a closed electronic exchange system. Each individual must identify themselves with their personal EU Login account and access is strictly controlled.

Signing the Grant Agreement

Sign the declarations of honour (DoH)

Before the Grant Agreement can be signed, the PLSIGN of each Beneficiary must sign a declaration of honour (grant declaration). For more details, see Enter legal administrative & financial grant data .

Grant agreement ready for signature

The system prepares the Grant Agreement for signing (PDF document, digitally sealed to guarantee its security, reliability and authenticity).

Coordinator signs the Grant Agreement

The Coordinator's PLSIGN logs into the Portal My Projects > Actions > Manage Project > Proposal Management & Grant Preparation > Sign .

During signature, a pop-up explains that this means the signatory is preparing to sign. It then asks the PLSIGN to confirm that they wish to sign and a second prompt asks the PLSIGN to enter their EU Login password.

After signature, the system creates a new version of the PDF document (with a digital seal, a time stamp, and the signatory's EU Login credentials on the signature placeholder). The validity of the signature can be verified by opening it in a compatible PDF reader and clicking on the image of the digital signature.

The Grant Agreement can be previewed, downloaded or printed (before or after signature) from the Documents screen if desired.

The LEAR of the Coordinator and the other Beneficiaries are informed that the Coordinator has signed the Grant Agreement.

Granting authority signs the Grant Agreement

The EU Authorising Officer is prompted to countersign the Grant Agreement from their side (same procedure as under point 3).

The Participants will be informed and the countersigned Grant Agreement will be available in their Portal Library ( My Projects > Actions > Manage Project > Document Library ).

Participants sign the Accession forms

All other Beneficiaries' PLSIGNs are prompted to sign their Accession Forms (same procedure as under point 3) — within 30 days after entry into force (signature by EU).

The CoCos and LEAR of the Coordinator and PaCo and LEAR of the concerned Beneficiary are notified when an Accession Form has been signed.

Grant Agreement is finalised

Not signed Grant Agreement

  • If the Coordinator does not sign, the Granting Authority may stop preparing the grant and reject the proposal.
  • If a Beneficiary does not sign the Accession Form within 30 days of the Grant Agreement entering into force, the Granting Authority may terminate the Grant Agreement. In this case, in order to continue with the project, the Coordinator must: request an amendment, so that any changes needed to ensure that the project is carried out properly can be made.
    • This request must be made within 30 days after the missed deadline for signing the Accession Form.
    • The request for an amendment does not affect the Granting Authority's right to terminate the Grant Agreement.

The Accession Form template is available for information on Portal Reference Documents.

Project starting date

The project starting date is calculated as from the entry into force of the Grant Agreement (last signature = signature by the EU).

Prefinancing

The entry into force and starting date also determine the baseline date for the prefinancing (i.e. the float that we normally pay immediately after grant signature).

Depending on the programme (see call conditions), prefinancing is either paid 30 days from:

  • Horizon Europe, Digital, SMP, etc: the entry into force or 10 days before the starting date or submission of the prefinancing guarantee (if required) — depending on which is the latest

or

  • CEF, LIFE, EMFAF, Erasmus, etc: the entry into force or submission of the prefinancing guarantee (if required) — depending on which is the latest.