How to decipher the EC’s expectations

Practice with us on an existing call!

Repeat with us: “My idea has to match the work programme topic requirements. My idea has to match the work programme topic requirements. My idea has to match the work programme topic requirements”. If you are wondering “what is this woman blabbing about” and the notion of call analysis does not ring any bell, then you are definitely at the right place my dear readers.

An accurate analysis of the topic requirements is considered step 0, the pillar of a sound proposal. For this reason, Ömer and I will deliver a 2-hour webinar on call analysis on the 12th of June, where theory will be coupled with a hands-on exercise.

We will practice on an existing call LC-SC3-EC-1-2018-2019-2020: The role of consumers in changing the market through informed decision and collective actions, and regardless of your domain of interest, this methodology can be applied to any other topic.

According to the Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020 published in 2017, it is estimated that it costs Horizon 2020 applicants between EUR 1,908.9 million and EUR 636 million annually to write proposals. Of these costs, it is estimated that EUR 1.7 billion would be spent on writing proposals that do not get funded, including EUR 643.0 million for non-funded high-quality proposals alone.

Especially interesting for the seasoned FP7 applicants is the evidence that, despite a reduced bureaucracy and streamlined processes in Horizon 2020 compared to FP7, the effort of writing winning proposals has almost doubled since FP7 calls, creating overall higher costs of participation to Horizon 2020.

When it comes to success rates, the picture is not getting any lighter. The increasing interest in Horizon 2020 means that demand vastly outstrips supply, leading to oversubscription. According to the same source, it is calculated that an additional EUR 62.4 billion would have been needed to fund all the proposals evaluated as high quality. The average success rate of Horizon 2020 dropped to 11.6 % compared to FP7, which had an overall proposal success rate of 18.4 %. I am not particularly good at maths, but you can draw your conclusions on the chances of getting funded. For sure, the worst trap in which you can stay locked up is trying to force your idea into something you are not really required to do.

The figures speak for themselves, and probably it will not get any better in Horizon Europe – the successor of H2020. While the vast popularity and high application rate show that the different work programmes are meeting the needs, too much oversubscription could cause disillusionment and dissatisfaction and leave good proposals unfunded or, in some cases, resubmitted.

A sound call analysis of your topic of interest is required if you want to succeed. The foremost important thing when applying for H2020 topics is to be within the scope, namely, to address the specific challenge laid down in the topic call, and fall within the specified scope, set out in the work programme. If a proposal fails to do so in any meaningful way, your hard work will be considered “out of scope”, therefore not evaluated and rejected. But, if you have a lucky star, the evaluators might recommend your proposal for another topic, more suitable for your proposal.

Addressing the topic description adequately is part of the eligibility conditions, along with other criteria such as having the right number of participants on board any other specific eligibility conditions set out in the call or topic page. Another dramatic case for H2020 applicants is inadmissibility, for proposals failing to address admissibility conditions, such as having a draft dissemination and exploitation strategy or a complete application.

All these scenarios described above can be easily avoided, and we are here to help you understand what the EC really wants from your project.

Join us on the 12th of June, and let’s practice together step 0.

For those of you who want something more than call analysis, and need a full immersion into H2020, our European Funding Academy is coming soon – and is fully online!

Apply here and reserve your spot!

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