Public Emergency Provisions

​In addition to the standard rules on project implementation, Intellectual Property management and Open Science, the Horizon Europe Model Grant Agreement includes some specific provisions that can be triggered by public emergency situations.

'Public emergency' has been defined as 'an emergency characterised by a genuine and sufficiently serious threat undermining European Union's security, public order or public health.' For Horizon Europe calls supporting European efforts addressing these urgent situations, the relevant Work Programme can impose additional obligations on the beneficiaries, in accordance with the - yet to be published - General Annexes to the main Work Programme (Part G - Legal and financial set-up of the grant agreements) as well as the Model Grant Agreement. These would be related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), background and results, access rights and rights of use (Article 16 and Annex 5); and under Communication, Dissemination, Open Science and visibility of EU funding (Article 17 and Annex 5).

In order to ensure the availability of Horizon Europe results to all stakeholders involved in public emergency management, the Commission reserves the right to request beneficiaries to 'grant non-exclusive license, under fair and reasonable conditions, to relevant legal entities that need the results to address the public emergency and commit to rapidly and broadly exploit the resulting products and services at fair and reasonable conditions.' This provision applies during the project duration and up to four years after its end.

Moreover, the public emergency provisions can extend an immediate open access rules beyond publications to cover also the data. The Commission can request beneficiaries to 'immediately deposit any research output in a repository and provide open access to it under a CC BY licence, a public domain dedication (CC 0) or equivalent. As an exception, if providing open access would be against the beneficiaries' legitimate interests, the beneficiaries must grant non-exclusive licences, on fair and reasonable conditions, to legal entities that need the research output to address the public emergency. These legal entities must commit to rapidly and broadly exploiting the resulting products and services on fair and reasonable conditions. This exception is limited to 4 years after the end of the action.'

Similar conditions, although narrower in scope and limited to public health emergencies, were included in the Horizon 2020 Grant Agreement to ensure special access to data for relevant stakeholders. They were used, for example, with projects funded under the H2020 SC1 Covid-19 emergency calls in 2020.

The Commission has already activated the above-mentioned Horizon Europe public emergency provisions for the currently open rapid calls linked to the COVID-19 variants