What Everyone Must Know About the New DESCA Model

Four Consortium Agreement Key Changes You Need to Be Aware Of

What Everyone Must Know About the New DESCA Model
Four Consortium Agreement Key Changes You Need to Be Aware Of

With the dawn of Horizon Europe, we’ve also been impatiently waiting for all the other necessary documents to prepare for our new projects. The closer we were to the ESR results for the first Horizon Europe projects, the more we’d ask ourselves: what about the legal agreements? Has anything changed so far?

If you relate to this, then, like me, you had no clue about what to do with your Consortium Agreement. But now, all changes considered, the time has come for a new “model Consortium Agreement”!

And here we are with the newly updated DESCA model Consortium Agreement, bringing in some new clauses, shedding light on how to solve some disaster scenarios for which we project managers could hardly find a solution before.


Fantastic four core topics and their updates at a glance

General issues and new terminology.

Watch out for the new terminology! Since your Consortium Agreement is complementary to your Grant Agreement, all the new buzz words have been integrated into DESCA too – affiliated entities, entities under the same control, participants, other participants.

GDPR-friendly? Always! New clauses are added to your DESCA to make sure you’re in line with your project’s GDPR and the Data Management Plan of your project.

User-friendly governance provisions.

The new DESCA comes with more user-friendly text and details for a more workable voting process – it is now stated clearly that you would need 51% of the parties for a certain approval to pass. Moreover, there are more details on how to deal with decisions without a meeting and less complex governance structures.

Are you involving external experts? No problem. The new DESCA has got you covered with a new option on mandating the coordinator to sign an NDA with external expert advisory board members on behalf of the consortium. The NDA would then be annexed to your Consortium Agreement.

Finance – new clauses, more elucidations, and lump sums.

There are new provisions for excess payment in case you, coordinators out there, are in conflict with partners not wanting to pay back the excess budget they got. Additionally, new options for lump sum grants will be introduced in the new DESCA later, based on the experience from the first lump sum projects to come in Horizon Europe.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

The new DESCA model comes with new additions for IPR, ownership and transfer of results. Teaching activities are now included for the use of jointly owned results, and elucidations were added to address non-commercial research. When it comes to the dissemination of results, you can now make a difference between several forms of dissemination with different timeframes.

Since teaching activities are now included, you will find that Section 9 on Access Rights will also mention the teaching purpose in access rights to results for internal research. In addition, there are more elucidations on Access Rights to Background and entities under the same control. The Module on IPR SC on Software also has a new option for cases in which software is introduced under controlled license terms.


That’s all, folks!... in a nutshell. As a tip from us to you, always read your Consortium Agreement carefully when you’re receiving it and don’t hesitate to ask for expert advice for issues such as results, exploitation and IPR if you need it. Generally, the DESCA model has got you covered with everything you need to know as a Horizon Europe project manager.

Until next time… make sure you know your rights and obligations!


Would you like to learn more about the Consortium Agreement and other legal documents? Join us at the European Funding Academy on 17-24 March 2022.

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