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Andy Clark 

Tips for winning Horizon 2020 proposals

Andy Clark

(Guest blog from Prof Elena Gaura, Horizon 2020 assessor for ICT.)
I gave a talk at Enterprise Europe Network's event on nanotechnologies & advanced materials. Here’s a summary of the main points.
horizon 2020 technology readiness levels

The value of being informed, strategic, prepared and networked

I can’t over emphasise enough how important it is to be:
  • informed: read past successful bids, attend info days, understand criteria
  • strategic: bid as part of a clear business plan to engage with sponsors, at specific TRLs, on specific themes
  • prepared: start early and allow 2 weeks for fact checking / proofreading - errors will mean you fail
  • networked: use Enterprise Europe Network to help you find international partners, Knowledge Transfer Network to help you find UK partners and your sector National Contact Point for help advice and as a sounding board.

Your time to shine

Treat this like a pitch, and think through the project proposal from a “delivery” perspective.
Write to the call, for the expert evaluators. Give them clarity of the big picture which follows through to the detail. Keep a concise style and pepper with evidence throughout.
Proposals are evaluated by a panel of 3-4 people from industry and academia who’ll reach consensus on scores. As evaluators, we get excited about feasible and outstanding science. Don’t repitch with a redress and previously rejected idea / science – respond to new calls with ideas to match!


Commercial exploitation, whilst addressing societal challenges

Understand the market that the outcomes will enable/grow/address and be ready to justify with business and technical detail.
Look also beyond the individual funding call, and consider EU strategy and H2020 purpose (tackling society biggest challenges).

Find the right partners

Having the right partners - from concept to implementation - is critical to a successful bid and Enterprise Europe Network have a live database of potential partners to consider. Ask yourself whether potential partners have a track record in what they’re being put forward for, have impressive credentials as well as the past work to back it up.
Know and present the whole consortium’s strengths and bear in mind that assessors look at your website to check-up your claims.
Winning consortia offer the lot: full business chain from research excellence to scale business exploration; track record that matches the call and concept; exploitation partner is committed and able to deliver as required at scale.


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