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Showing 1 - 20 of 125 results

Decision in case 2218/2019/MDC on the Research Executive Agency’s decision to consider ineligible certain costs claimed by a partner in an EU-funded project on the interoperability of unmanned vehicles (DARIUS)

Wednesday | 16 September 2020

The case concerned the decision of the Research Executive Agency (REA) to consider ineligible certain costs claimed in the context of a project that was co-funded by the EU: the DARIUS project on the interoperability of unmanned vehicles in search and rescue operations.

The complainant considered that the REA had acted in a contradictory and inconsistent manner, and should not have deemed the costs ineligible. It raised various concerns about the findings of the audit on which that decision was based .

The Ombudsman found that the REA acted reasonably and in line with the grant agreement. She therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 968/2020/DL on the European Commission's refusal to grant full access to documents relating to a meeting between the Commission, Member States and stakeholders on scientific cooperation with China

Wednesday | 16 September 2020

The case concerned the refusal by the Commission to provide access to briefings and e-mail exchanges relating to a meeting between the Commission and stakeholders about scientific cooperation with China.

The Commission granted partial access to the requested documents. It stated that the redactions it made were necessary to protect its ongoing decision-making process, international relations and the privacy of the persons whose names are mentioned in the documents.

The Ombudsman agreed that releasing the documents without having made the necessary redactions could undermine international relations. As regards the redaction of names, the complainant did not put forward a valid reason for transferring this personal data to him.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 1491/2018/VB on the alleged failure by the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking to protect the complainant’s patent rights in the context of a project financed under the Horizon 2020 programme

Wednesday | 13 May 2020

The case concerned a project organised by the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking (CS2JU) and funded under the EU Research and Innovation programme ‘Horizon 2020’. The complainant claimed that a device developed in the context of the project breached his intellectual property rights.

The Ombudsman finds that the CS2JU has dealt with the complainant’s concerns in a reasonable manner and that it provided him with the appropriate advice to contact the competent national authorities.

The Ombudsman closes the inquiry with the finding that CS2JU’s handling of the complainant’s concerns about the alleged infringement of his intellectual property rights does not reveal maladministration and that no further inquiries into the other aspects of the complaint are justified.

Decision in case 1698/2019/MDC on procedural shortcomings in an audit managed by the Research Executive Agency

Monday | 20 April 2020

The case concerned the decision of the Research Executive Agency (REA) to recover funds from a company, following an audit of its work on two EU-funded projects. The complainant considered that the audit should be declared null and void due to procedural flaws and the fact the process had taken over four years.

The Ombudsman found that the REA’s failure to abide by the deadline set out in the grant agreement for issuing the final audit report was regrettable. However, in spite of the REA’s delay in issuing the final audit report, the complainant had been able to contest effectively the findings of the audit. Moreover, the REA had engaged in a second, exceptional revision of the audit report. This resulted in a reduction of 85% in the amount of funds the REA was seeking to recover.

As the REA acknowledged its failure to abide by the deadline set out in the grant agreement, apologised for the delay in this case and also took steps to seek to avoid similar problems in future, the Ombudsman closed the case.

Decision in case 560/2019/KR on alleged conflicts of interest of experts who participate in the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism

Monday | 30 March 2020

The case concerned whether the European Commission has in place processes to ensure that scientific experts who advise it have no conflicts of interest.

The complainant, a civil society organisation, had raised concerns about the independence of scientific experts that contributed to an advisory report on plant protection products (commonly known as pesticides).

The Ombudsman found that the Commission has systems in place to assess the independence of experts. However, with a view to improving these systems, she asked the Commission to ensure that all relevant financial interests are included in experts’ declarations of interests, and that these declarations are assessed and published. She closed the case with these two suggestions for improvement.

Decision in case 1766/2019/JAP on how the Research Executive Agency dealt with a request to accommodate the needs of a researcher with a severe medical condition, who was selected to carry out a research project

Thursday | 26 March 2020

The complainant is a researcher, who was selected to carry out research for an EU-funded project at a university in a different country from his country of residence. The Research Executive Agency (REA) and the university signed a grant agreement to implement the project.

Before the project was due to start, the complainant was diagnosed with a chronic illness. As a result, he asked if he could carry out the research at another research institute, closer to where he was living, so he could work on the project without disrupting his medical treatment.

The REA initially declined this request, which it considered incompatible with the rules of the grant agreement. Following further correspondence with the complainant and the university, the REA offered a different interpretation of the rules, which the complainant viewed as inconsistent.

In the course of this inquiry, the Ombudsman’s inquiry team proposed a solution to the situation. As a result, the REA approved the request to transfer the grant agreement to a research institute closer to where the complainant was living, and allowed him to work part time. The Ombudsman was pleased to note that a solution had been found and closed the case.

Decision in case 2037/2019/MH on the European Personnel Selection Office and how it assessed a complainant’s talent screener in a selection procedure for the recruitment of EU civil servants in scientific research

Wednesday | 12 February 2020

The case concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) decision not to admit the complainant to the next stage of a selection procedure for the recruitment of EU civil servants in scientific research. It did so because the complainant had not scored sufficient points at the talent screener stage.

The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the complainant’s qualifications. She confirmed that EPSO carried out a review of the complainant’s talent screener based on objective criteria, which it was entitled to keep secret. The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 2038/2019/MH on the European Personnel Selection Office and how it assessed a complainant’s talent screener in a selection procedure for the recruitment of EU civil servants in scientific research

Wednesday | 12 February 2020

The case concerned the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) decision not to admit the complainant to the next stage of a selection procedure for the recruitment of EU civil servants in scientific research. It did so because the complainant had not scored sufficient points at the talent screener stage.

The Ombudsman opened an inquiry into how EPSO assessed the complainant’s reply to a question in his talent screener about his qualifications. The Ombudsman found nothing to suggest a manifest error in how the selection board assessed the complainant’s reply to this question. The Ombudsman therefore closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.