Millions of euros of European research funding are being claimed in error, with potentially half of all projects funded by the European Union (EU) making mistakes in their accounts.
This year’s review of the EU’s spending — conducted annually by its auditors — found problems such as excessive costs being claimed and discrepancies in time-sheets in 74 of the 150 payments related to research from 2011 that were checked1. The main source of error was “over-declaration of costs by beneficiaries” for projects funded under the Framework programme, which doles out research money to scientists across the continent. The mistakes amounted to 3% of the budget, the auditors estimate. The total research spend in 2011 was €12 billion, meaning the errors could total around €360 million.