Unlocking the doors of funding for your innovative research and development projects can be an overwhelming task, but with the Horizon Europe program, the possibilities are endless. Are you ready to take the leap and apply for a Horizon Europe grant? Follow the recommendations presented in this blog article and increase your chances of success.
Writing a Horizon Europe proposal – The steps to be followed
The process of writing a Horizon Europe grant proposal varies depending on the specific program and call for proposals. In general, this process involves the following steps:
Research: Review the Horizon Europe program and call for proposals ((Funding & Tenders portal, Horizon Europe corresponding program). This will allow you to understand the goals, priorities, and requirements. Look for similar projects (on Cordis website, for example) funded in the past. The aim of this action is to get you an idea of what a successful proposal looks like.
Concept development: Develop a clear and compelling concept for your project. This should include a problem statement, objectives, and expected impact. By the end of this step, you should be able to generate a concept note of your project. Then, you can share this note with the potential partners and arrange the consortium.
Partners identification: Identify potential partners and collaborators, within and outside your organization. Horizon Europe encourages international and interdisciplinary collaborations. In most calls for proposals, you must submit a proposal along with three partners from three different EU or associated countries. At least one of the 3 partners must be from an EU country. You can find a list of the associated countries here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/common/guidance/list-3rd-country-participation_horizon-euratom_en.pdf
Budget preparation: Prepare a detailed budget for the project, including personnel costs, equipment and travel expenses, and any other necessary costs (subcontracting, purchase costs, etc.). The budget must correspond to the volume of work of each partner. For more information, check NETO Innovation blog page about eligible costs in Horizon Europe: Personnel cost, Travel and Equipment, Subcontracting.
Proposal writing: Write a clear and well-structured proposal. Your proposition must meet the requirements of the call for proposals. The technical part of the proposal should include:
a. An Excellence part including:
i. an introduction,
ii. a description of the project and its objectives,
iii. the scientific and technical key performance indicators,
iv. and the methodology paragraph.
b. An impact section addressing:
i. the wider economic, scientific, societal, and environmental impacts,
ii. the barriers,
iii. the dissemination, exploitation, and communication plan.
c. An implementation section with a detailed work plan.
The main parts of the proposal are the excellence, the impact, and the implementation. Keep tuned, NETO Innovation will be issuing posts about the writing of these three parts. Our aim is to offer you a complete detailed guide for Horizon Europe proposals writing.
Review and feedback: Have the proposal reviewed by experts in the field. Then, incorporate their feedback.
Submission: Submit the proposal before the deadline.
The key elements to be considered in a Horizon Europe grant proposal
To prepare a successful Horizon Europe proposal, you must consider the following elements:
Write your proposal in English.
Show how your proposal align with the priorities of the selected topic. Your developments should prove how the desired project’s outcomes line up with the broader goals of the call. This means that the proposed project must be relevant to the topic. It should address the European policies, priorities, and roadmaps.
The proposal should show the added value of the project. This includes its potential impact and the transferability of the results to other fields. This way, you can illustrate the long-term benefits of the project. Indeed, to enhance your chances of funding, you need to:
o Demonstrate the potential of your project to make a significant contribution to the market.
o Establish how your project’s results can be used in other contexts (economic, scientific, social, environment, etc.).
The proposal should prove that the project is scientifically and technically sound. You must show that the team has the necessary expertise to succeed your project.
The proposal should include a clear and realistic work plan and budget. This is to ensure that you will complete your project in a timely manner and within the allocated budget. A work plan should include milestones and a timeline. The budget should include estimated costs for materials, labor, and other resources.
Tips and best practices to improve your odds of success
You can find some tips here on how to make sure your proposal gets reviewed and selected as excellent.
Understand the Horizon Europe objectives and the specific funding topics:
It is important to understand the overall goals of Horizon Europe and the specific outcomes and impacts expected under the selected topic and its destinations. Indeed, you need to align your proposal with the program's priorities. For instance, if you are applying for a project to develop a new type of vaccine, your research should focus on the biomedical, public health, and societal impacts of the vaccine. You should also relate your development to the EU policies and roadmaps.
Identify a clear societal and/or economic challenge
Your proposal should clearly identify a specific societal and/or economic challenge. Then you need to explain how the proposed research and developments will contribute to addressing these challenges. For example, if you are proposing to develop a new type of solar panel, you should explain:
how the improved efficiency will decrease carbon emissions,
and how the effective low cost will lead to enabling energy access.
Show that your proposal is innovative and ambitious
Your proposal should demonstrate a high level of scientific and/or technological excellence and should be innovative and ambitious in its approach. Indeed, to be successful, your proposal must be a clear expression of your expertise and ambition. Your proposal should show that you have a full understanding of the subject, and that you have the tools, knowledge, and resources necessary to achieve your goals. It should also display creativity, as well as a willingness to take risks to achieve the desired outcome.
Develop well-designed research plan
Your proposal should include a clear and detailed methodology and work plan, including specific objectives and milestones, and a robust approach to data analysis. A research plan is a document that outlines the work packages, resources, and timeline for a project. It is crucial to have a work plan to keep the project organized and on track. Yor workplan should be represented as a workflow complemented by a Gantt.
Build a strong consortium
Your proposal should include a multidisciplinary team with the necessary expertise and experience to carry out the proposed research. This team should show how the proposed collaboration will enhance the impact of the project. Having a team with diverse backgrounds and experience can bring new insights, fresh ideas, innovative solutions, and a broader depth of understanding to the research. This allows for a balanced representation of the different perspectives and skillsets that are needed for a successful project.
Develop a dissemination and exploitation plan
Your proposal should include a plan for how the results of the project will be communicated and transferred to target groups and society in general. Some examples of dissemination and communication activities can be the creation of a website to communicate the project's results to the public, and the organization of workshops for stakeholders to provide feedback and discuss potential applications of the research findings.
Pay attention to the budget and the duration of the proposal
Your proposal should be realistic and feasible, with a well-justified budget and a reasonable duration. It should be realistic in terms of the resources needed to complete it, and it should be feasible in terms of the timeline and the goals you are trying to achieve. The budget should be reasonable and justifiable, and the duration should allow for sufficient time to complete the project and reach the desired outcome.
Proofread and edit
Your proposal should be well-written, clear, and concise, and should be proofread and edited to avoid errors and inconsistencies. Finally, Follow the instructions and guidelines provided by the Horizon Europe program carefully, and make sure to submit the proposal before the deadline.
To conclude, applying for a Horizon Europe grant can be a challenging process. But, with the right approach and preparation, it is worth it. By understanding the priorities of the program and the requirements of the call, developing a clear and compelling concept, identifying potential partners, preparing a realistic budget, and submitting a well-written proposal, you can increase your chances of success. Remember that the Horizon Europe program is a great opportunity to fund your innovative research and development projects and to collaborate with other researchers and organizations across Europe. Don't miss this chance, and good luck with your application!
Are you interested in the Horizon Europe funding scheme? Are you looking for support to prepare your grant application? Contact NETO Innovation team here: https://www.neto-innovation.com/contact-neto-innovation
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The references below should provide you with a good starting point for researching the process of writing a Horizon Europe grant proposal and gaining a deeper understanding of the program's priorities and requirements.
1. The official website of the Horizon Europe program, which provides information on the program's goals, priorities, and calls for proposals: https://research-and-innovation.ec.europa.eu/funding/funding-opportunities/funding-programmes-and-open-calls/horizon-europe_en
2. The Horizon Europe Participant Portal, Funding & Tenders, which provides information on the application process, forms, and templates: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/home Funding & Tenders also provides information about the different calls for proposals and their deadlines
3. The European Commission's guide to Horizon Europe proposals, which provides detailed information on the proposal development process: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/horizon/guidance/programme-guide_horizon_en.pdf
4. The European Commission's Horizon Europe evaluation and selection process, which provides information on the evaluation and selection of proposals: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/docs/2021-2027/experts/standard-briefing-slides-for-experts_he_en.pdf
5. The European Commission's Horizon Europe partner search tool, which helps researchers and innovator find potential partners for their proposals: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/how-to-participate/partner-search