DESCA (Development of a Simplified Consortium Agreement) is a comprehensive Model Consortium Agreement which offers a reliable frame of reference for project consortia. DESCA enjoys broad support within the EU framework programme community.
The signature of a Consortium Agreement between the partners of a research project is mandatory for most EU research projects. The European Commission offers general guidance for the drafting of consortium agreements, but rightfully does not endorse a specific model consortium agreement. Initiated by key FP7 stakeholder groups, and updated ever since for Horizon 2020 and now for Horizon Europe in consultation with the FP community, the DESCA initiative seeks to balance the interests of all participant categories: large and small firms, universities, public research institutes and RTOs, in the spirit of the Responsible Partnering Initiative.
DESCA is a simple and comprehensive model Consortium Agreement, stripped of all unnecessary complexity in both content and language. The modular structure of DESCA, with various options and alternative modules and clauses, provides maximum flexibility. Great care has gone into making sure that these variants remain consistent with the core text. Elucidation notes with concrete examples and detailed explanations about the various options and clauses are provided throughout the model. These notes will help research managers without legal training and first-time EU project participants make informed choices about the best wording to protect their interests.
The DESCA Model Consortium Agreement is specifically designed for collaborative research projects as the "Research and Innovation Actions" and "Innovation Actions" of Horizon Europe.