Why you shouldn’t cheer down and throw a non-awarded proposal away!
Before starting, we would like to motivate you a bit. You should know that a proposal rejection is NOT a rejection of your interests or not even necessarily a rejection of the quality of what was proposed. According to the Horizon 2020 statistics, only 12.6% of proposals were retained for funding in the first three years of Horizon 2020 even when 74% of the proposals submitted where considered as high-quality proposals. So, there are many complex reasons for proposal rejection and high-quality competitors is clearly one of those reasons!
My proposal was rejected, what to do now?
Well, rejection makes your next proposal better. A turned down proposal can result in a granted project with some rethinking and reworking efforts. Having already gone through the evaluation process, you have already an advantage over newly created proposals! You don’t only have a big part of the work done, but you are also aware of which are the weak points and strong ideas in it.
So how to start?
Firstly, target new potential topics under the different EC’s Call for Proposals or under other programmes that relate to your topic.
Got one? Then we suggest you consider three things:
1. The requirements of the new topic description
Go over the requirements of the new topic carefully, bearing in mind the differences with the requirements from the past submission process.
Identifying the similarities and differences between both calls will help you to understand how your proposal fits and to move on to our second point to consider.
2. What doesn’t work anymore from your proposal under the new scope
Now that you assessed both call requirements it is time to start the clean up and take out what is no longer fitting from your proposal under this new topic.
Be sure to cross-check the body of your revised proposal with the scope of the new call. Mark all parts that don’t fully suit but that could potentially work with some adjustments either on the focus, or the approach, maybe the methodology or the target audience. Similarly, identify all the parts that don’t make sense anymore and erase them to leave space for new ideas to come. Make sure that any changes to the body of the proposal are also addressed in all the other sections.
3. Strengthen the weak points pointed out by the evaluators
Identify the type of problems identified by reviewers.
Determine the strengths of the proposal that were stated in the review.
And remember! The evaluators are experts who were assigned given their expertise, judgement and a stated process and rules. So be responsive to the comments in your evaluation summary report and try to address all the concerns that were aroused.
- Clearly connect your responses to specific reviewer concerns.
- Resist the urge to defend yourself.Avoid disagreeing with a reviewer.
- Though if you must disagree with a reviewer, focus on the science.Avoid using cost or logistics as a rationale for not being responsive to a reviewer comment.
- Acknowledge your mistakes or lack of clarity.
- Don’t skip any reviewer comments.
Resubmission provides you an opportunity to fine tune your proposal, emphasize identified strengths, address concerns, and fully articulate/revise the text to include more relevant details.
So, venture out and give your proposal one more shot!
You already put a lot of effort on it, give the last push and go get that funding!