Here you can find all upcoming conferences, seminars and workshops in their chronology. If you wish to view the events according to their topics, please visit these links: EU Funding, Law & Taxes, State Aid, Audit, Energy & Environment, HEI and R&D, IT, Internal Affairs & Security. The event language for all events will be English. Click here for an overview of our German events.
Higher education and research institutions face unique challenges in Internal Audit. Their complexity, individuality and diverse foci and fields of work make for a wide array of issues, which are not covered by common place Internal Audit knowledge covered by the private sector.
As research results become increasingly important for international rankings and external funding, it is crucial to figure out how to compare research. How can research results be compared across different subject areas? Where to find the right counterparts to benchmark the institution’s research performance? Which tools are available to assess research quality?
The European Union’s State aid rules in the field of energy and environment differ significantly from State aid rules in other areas. Due to the complexity of the rules, many practitioners still find their correct implementation challenging.
Closure of Operational Programmes 2007-2013 has to be conducted simultaneously to the management of the new programming period 2014-2020.
Higher education institutions are under increasing pressure to guarantee the highest possible quality of teaching and learning.
As one of the world’s major donors for development cooperation, the European Union and its Member States provide a broad range of funding opportunities.
EU Funds Project Managers have to deal with several challenging management tasks specific to EU Funds. Their work refers to different aspects and phases of project and programme management which require a high level of expertise.
The correct handling of irregularities in EU funded projects is still a very difficult issue for all bodies involved in the management and control systems of EU funds. As the number of irregularities reported remains very high, the European Commission stresses that Member States need to continue their efforts in order to minimise the rate of irregularities. Thus, the topic of irregularities has to remain a priority for Member States as well.
With the new public procurement directive 2014/24/EU, which has come into effect in 2014, the European Commission has introduced a number of opportunities that allow for more flexibility in the procurement process while upholding the basic requirements of competition, transparency and equal treatment.
Quality is an increasingly talked about catchword in higher education. The Bologna Process as well as national legislation have made the management of quality a requirement for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Furthermore, ensuring the quality of teaching and education is crucial for HEIs in the daily competition for funding, reputation, students and researchers.
Most public institutions use social media tools in their communication. It is a key part of any communications planning and long-term strategy in today’s media landscape. Some organisations use in-house competence, whereas others chose to source out this area and work with external experts.
Technical Assistance (TA) for European Structural Funds has been in use for several years now. However, there are many changes that will apply to Technical Assistance in the new Programming Period 2014-2020.
Knowledge, technology and innovations created at universities and other research entities have to make an impact outside of faculties and laboratories. Commercialisation of research is a mean to fulfil this task. Once a research project or innovation carried out by a university, research institution and its researchers is ready to achieve commercial results, it has to be decided how it can best be commercialised. Which is the most promising way to pursue?
Energy projects are at the centre of attention in the current programming period 2014-2020. Projects in the fields of energy efficiency (EE), renewable energies (RE) and CO2 reduction have a special focus due to their importance in reaching the Europe 2020 goals.
The EU Member States have already prepared their Operational Programmes (OPs) outlining the investment plans for EU Structural and Investment Funds for the 2014-2020 programming period.
The current Programming Period 2014-2020 holds lots of opportunities to fund innovative ideas and projects. The architecture of European Funds and direct grants continues to offer a wide range of funding opportunities in the Member States. However, funding is often not used as effectively as possible or it may be denied due to lack of knowledge or poor planning. Although the numerous programmes and initiatives have different features, the development and implementation of projects in practice follow common rules.
Internationalisation has become a credo for European universities during the last years. While nobody doubts Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) need internationalisation to remain successful, HEIs struggle to find the way towards successful planning and implementation of their internationalisation strategy.
In times of austerity, audits of public procurements have gained in importance. However, practitioners from public administrations often find auditing public procurement processes to be one of the most challenging and complex fields to audit. Misspent public money in low quality services and goods can endanger both the financial and operational integrity of an organisation.
The proper handling of the rules for the eligibility of expenditure in EU funded projects has proven to be very challenging and remains difficult in the new period 2014-2020. Disregarding the rules for eligibility of expenditure causes many irregularities.
For a contracting authority to ensure that contractual terms and conditions are realised in the execution phase, contract management is key. During the public procurement process a contracting authority puts a lot of time and effort into identifying reliable business partners, negotiating favourable terms, and ensuring a strong basis for the award decision.
European research locations are constantly competing for talent with higher education institutes (HEI) in other areas of the world offering excellent conditions for researchers and lecturers.
Managers of organisations, programmes and projects funded by multinational, international, European and national funds need to ensure that they achieve the highest results.
Many authorities within the management and control system of EU Funds still face considerable difficulties and uncertainties when it comes to detecting and handling (suspected) fraud cases. They are presented with the challenge of distinguishing these cases from irregularities as well as identifying necessary actions.
At least since the recent Court of Justice of the European Union’s judgement on the regional airport of Leipzig/Halle in Germany further implications for financing infrastructure projects have arisen for all member states and stakeholders. At the core of this is the aspect of economic vs. non-economic purpose of an infrastructure.
With the integration of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) into a single Common Provisions Regulation for the programming period 2014-2020 and the introduction of single rules for management and control of all European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the management and implementing bodies of EAFRD and EMFF have to follow the single set of rules, decisions and procedures.
Higher Education institutions (HEI) and research entities are operating in a new era of national and European regulation: Their legal department staff is confronted with very complex issues in diversified legal areas such as the support of university management, the edit, control and follow-up of legal acts, agreements and/or claims, but also juridical disputes and several other complex proceedings.
The European Union (EU) and its Member States are the world’s biggest donors, providing more than half of all development aid worldwide. However, in order to cooperate with the EU successfully and to benefit from the external cooperation funds, beneficiaries have to comply with a multitude of accounting regulations for projects financed by the EU.
The European Commission has set out detailed arrangements on the management and control systems to be operated by Member States for the EU Structural Funds in both programming periods (2007-2013 and 2014-2020).
Until the 1st January 2015 the Member States have to establish systems of separate collection for recyclable materials like glass, metal, paper and plastic according to the EU Regulation 2008/98, if they do not want to face the harsh consequences of an infringement process from the European Union.
EU Member States have already made some practical experiences with Financial Engineering Instruments. However, in the last programming period, only 5% of the entire ERDF resources were distributed through Financial Instruments (FI). For the current programming period 2014-2020, the European Commission demands an increased use of this innovative tool.
Advanced hands-on experience, operative know-how and thorough knowledge of procedures and risks are necessary to ensure clear, effective and reliable procurement procedures. While the new EU procurement directives require more flexibility, transparency and fulfilment of high qualitative, environmental, social and innovation standards, many contracting authorities still favour lowest price criterion as the safest and fastest procedure. Yet, many examples prove that the lowest price does not always mean lowest costs and therefore needs to be extended by additional criteria.
The European Union provides various funds and instruments to support stakeholders such as universities, research centres and companies in the fields of research and development and the commercialisation of research results. However, financial accounting and reporting of EU-funded projects are considered very time consuming and complex.
The New Programming Period has begun and the National Programmes are in the process of their submission and examination by the European Commission. With the new year, comes the practical implementation of the rules and regulations for the two remaining Home Affairs Funds: the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF).
R&D projects and cooperation, whether with or without European or national funding, need a safe and sound legal contract design. In most cases, the legal framework decides about the success of a project and lays the foundation for a smooth pursuit of research activities.
The ESI Funds 2014-2020 offer the possibility to support an operation comprising a series of works, activities or services of a precise economic or technical nature (for which the total eligible costs exceed 50 million Euro) as well as operations contributing to one thematic objective (where the total eligible costs exceed 75 million Euro) such as transport, water, waste and energy projects.
The rapid growth of Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and their accelerated adoption over the last decade have put ICTs at the centre of both Information Society and Digital Economy: today, more than 75% of people on the planet have access to a cell phone.
The internal logic of research and science as well as efforts of the European Union have developed a global perspective in research, innovation and technology transfer. Almost no university or research institution can survive without cooperating on a multinational level.
In recent years, cases of food fraud have shaken the European Union. From the melanin contaminated baby-milk to horse meet in pre-cooked meals. All these scandals have in common, that they pose a great threat to public health, the perception of security in the population and trust in government regulations while they offer huge profit margin for the criminals.
The ESI Funds have been redirected to fulfill special requirements and needs of the European Union until 2020. This means that there are new requirements to meet when applying for ESI funding.
The new EU Directives on Public Procurement implicate a number of modifications and bring in some significant changes, particularly to the range of contracts subject to the EU public procurement regime.
The European Summer Academy “State Aid” provides extensive and case-study based training on almost every aspect related to state aid. During three days in June, experienced and reknowned practitioners in the complex field of European state aid work on real cases and thus explore the legal and practical framework for state aid in Europe.
Nowadays, young people are faced with hard competition for job opportunities. So they make the choice for their Higher Education Institution (HEI) by deciding which environment offers them the best foundation to have good job opportunities after graduation. Universities have recognised this challenge but the circumstances make it hard to fulfill these very complex needs – the same is true for identifying and implementing the tools to fit those needs.
In current times of tight public budgets, public administrations must set and achieve their goals in the most effective, efficient and economical way. This new obligation also alters the responsibilities of auditors in the public sector. To ensure that public institutions operate most efficiently and effectively, auditors can no longer focus on their traditional task of financial audits.
The practical introduction of eCohesion systems requires Member States to establish electronic data exchange systems which allow the exchange of all information between Managing, Certifying and Audit Authorities as well as Intermediate Bodies, on the one hand, and beneficiaries, on the other hand, to take place electronically.
With the start of the new programming period 2014-2020 new regulations and rules regarding financial management, control and audit have been introduced. On the basis of the Common Provisions Regulation, Fund-specific rules as well as delegated and implementing acts EU-Member States have created and set up management and control systems for the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) 2014-2020.
Revenue generating projects under Art 61 of the Regulation (EC) 1303/2013 are projects that generate net income after their completion. These include investments in infrastructure which generate direct incomes (net revenues) for their utilisation.
For the actual programming period 2014-2020, the European Commission pay increased attention to communication as well as to results and outcomes. Managing Authorities have to carefully set up a Communication Strategy, or revise the existing one if needed, in order to make their projects visible and transparent.
Fraud and corruption in the public sector heavily harm the economy, lower investment levels and reduce public finances. Anti-fraud and anti-corruption strategies are often not effective enough and damages done to public institutions and their budgets by fraud and corruption can be enormous ranging from financial loss to reduction of organisational performance, reputation, credibility and public confidence.
2015 is a crucial moment for experts dealing with EU Funds. Most Operational Programmes have been published, so that it is time to start new projects and write new project proposals in the current programming period 2014-2020. The Commission emphasises an increased use of financial instruments and aims at simplified and more coherent solutions.
The European Union (EU) and its Member States remain the world’s biggest donor, providing more than half of all development aid worldwide. However, in order to cooperate successfully with the EU and to benefit from the external cooperation funds, beneficiaries have to follow a multitude of administrative regulations and fulfil all external audit requirements.
There is a range of fundamental services that are of major importance to citizens and their everyday life which have to be supplied by public authorities. Providing and financing these services – for instance in the social or transport sectors – needs to be in accordance with European State aid regulations and the provisions for Services of General Economic Interest.
Whether internal or external, strategic, financial, operational or reputational risks – these can significantly hinder the work of your authority. In the current economic and financial context the lack of an adequate approach to risk management is an enormous and real threat to the work of any public administration, since nowadays work efficiency and effectiveness in the public sector are more important than ever before. For that reason, it is of extreme importance that public authorities do not rely solely on their intuition in dealing with risks, but use professional formalised risk management as an integral and ongoing part of their general management process.