How to use DESCA

The DESCA Model and the different Options and Modules

DESCA aims to provide, as far as possible, a single model which balances the interests of all types of project participants. In addition DESCA recognises the difference between Actual Cost Grants and Lump Sum Grants in Horizon Europe. Moreover, different projects will have different objectives. The interests of the partners may also differ. To accommodate such differences, the DESCA Model Consortium Agreement offers:

  • Alternative subsections for collaborative projects of Horizon Europe funded via Actual Cost Grants (marked grey) and Lump Sum Grants (marked purple).
  • Alternative modules for small and medium projects and large projects.
  • An optional module for projects with a strong software focus.
  • Options marked in yellow.

We recommend that you proceed as follows:

  • Download and read carefully the latest DESCA with elucidations. The elucidations offer explanations to the DESCA legal text, examples and extra clauses.
  • Decide whether you have a Small or Medium Project or a Large Project, and try to align as much as possible the management part of the project proposal with one of the DESCA options (so as to avoid inconsistency between the description of the action and the CA). 
  1. The DESCA Small and Medium Project module will normally be fit for purpose for projects with a modest number of work packages, and provides for a General Assembly of all project participants.
  2. Some projects are more complicated and require an intermediary governance structure. The DESCA Large Projects module provides a General Assembly and also an Executive Board.
  • The IPR section offers various possibilities. Two options are provided for the clause on conditions for Access Rights to Foreground for Use:
  1. Option 1 provides for fair and reasonable conditions
  2. Option 2 provides for royalty-free access
  • In the Finance Section two options are provided regarding the transfer of EC contribution:
  1. Option 1 provides for a security mechanism
  2. Option 2 provides for an immediate forwarding of all Community funds
  • If your project has a strong software focus, you may choose the module for Software which provides more detailed provisions on sub-licensing rights, open source code, etc.


  • Download the latest DESCA Wordversion to adapt it to your project. DESCA aims to be user friendly. To this end, the standard DESCA text has been drafted for "mainstream" projects and does not attempt to take account of all the potential alternatives for a given situation.

    Once that you have selected the DESCA scenario which best corresponds to your type of project, you will need to fine-tune the text to the specific needs of your project and consortium. Fine-tuning requires careful consideration of critical issues and of internal policies. Expert advice might need to be sought on certain matters.

Please bear in mind that DESCA is only a model – please adapt it to the needs of your project!