Hello there, my fellow EU enthusiasts!
In today’s blogpost I will take you back to the basics, in case you are a new member of our ever-changing but exciting EU bubble. It’s December, so grab a gingerbread cookie and a hot chocolate and gather around because I am about to show you the top 5 most important tools and functionalities that you need to know if you are planning on applying for any EU funding opportunity.
But first, what is the Funding and Tenders Portal you may ask. It is the entry point for participants and experts in funding programmes and tenders managed by the European Commission and other EU bodies. All steps of Horizon 2020 projects are managed via this portal, starting with information on calls for proposals, proposal submission and the signature of the Grant Agreement, project reporting and amendments of the Grant Agreement, as well as all legal documents, Work Programmes, and guidelines. In this blog post I will show you the most crucial functionalities and some interesting features that can help you in your journey of submitting a proposal.
- How to Register your organization and manage the roles
Starting at number one, the Portal displays a number of services available to the general public, but if you want to dive in deeper, participants need an ECAS account (European Commission’s Authentication Service) in order to access the Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal. How can you do that? Let me tell you!
The registration on the Funding and Tenders Portal is done via your email address which will also be used for login. If you already have an EU Login account, you must use that one. After logging in, you can use the personalised services and tools for submitting proposals and managing projects. Within the portal the participants have also the possibility of assuming different functions (roles) which will award them with the respective rights. On completing registration, you will receive your PIC number (Participant Identification Code) which is the unique identifier of the organisation and will be used as a reference by the Commission in any interactions. You will also need to enter LEAR (Legal Entity Appointed Representative) and Account Administrator (Grants and Innovation Office) as Contacts for the Project.
When you select your role, you will have the option of choosing between the main contact or contact person. You would typically select the top-level role (Main contact for most calls) for the Proposal Coordinator organisation during the initial proposal draft creation. If you select the Contact person role (or another role if the call uses specific roles), make sure to add the top-level role (Main contact) in the next steps before you submit your proposal.
Pro tip: You can always use the H2020 Online manual found on the Portal which contains all the detailed information about the portal and the IT How To which has detailed videos and screenshots which will help you navigate on the portal.
- How to find partners
Any company, research organisation or non-governmental organisation can be a partner, regardless of where they are based, provided they are financially viable and qualified to perform the tasks specified in the project proposal.
If you want to build your dream team and find experienced partners, who already have ongoing projects, or if you want to browse in the database of registered organisations, you can visit the Partner Search page of the Funding & Tenders Portal. You can search by keyword/geographical area/funding type, etc. Search results include complete organisation profiles with lists of funded projects and the possibility to contact representatives.
If you have selected your area of interest via the Topic search, you may publish your offer/interest for one or more of the open/forthcoming topics of a call on the Funding & Tenders Portal. All your published offers/interests will be visible on your organisation's page too.
Depending on the funding programme concerned (generally research and innovation programmes), national contact points (NCPs) also provide partner search services, offering detailed partner profiles and active partnership requests. A useful tip would also be looking for partners in the Project and Results tab which is a section that provides more information on the work done in past and ongoing funding projects.
- How to find results
Whether you are a policymaker, an investor, an entrepreneur, a researcher, an innovation, legal, business development or financing expert, or any interested citizen, the Project and Results section is the place where you can discover the wealth of EU-funded research results and get in contact with their creators.
It includes interactive data on programme proposals, success rates, funded projects, and past participants. Here you can find direct access to the Horizon Dashboard which offers public access to statistics on proposals, funded projects and project results, Horizon Project Results platform, Horizon Results Booster, Innovation Success Stories and Horizon 2020, FP7 and Research Fund for coal and Steel projects which by clicking will take you to Cordis where you can find project information and work report summaries.
- How to boost your dissemination
Dissemination and exploitation play a key role in achieving and demonstrating impact on society, economy, environment, and policymaking. Therefore, there is an increasing need to focus the dissemination and exploitation aspects of knowledge circulation on the demand side, making sure that the results stemming from the R&I activities are effectively creating the necessary incentives for the beneficiaries, researchers, and innovators to share their results for use and reuse.
On the Funding and Tenders Portal, within the Project and Results section you can find the Horizon Results Booster which addresses projects that are eager to go beyond their Dissemination and Exploitation (D&E) obligations under Horizon 2020 - steering research towards strong societal impact and concretising the value of R&I activity for societal challenges. Through this platform, the European Commission offers free consulting services in order to help the beneficiaries get a step further and better implement their D&E actions.
The Horizon Results Booster offers 3 types of services:
- Help and guidance for:
- creating a results portfolio with other projects
- creating and executing common dissemination strategy for a cluster of projects
- improving existing exploitation plan
- Tailor made support services to develop a business plan
- Assistance, coaching and mentoring for go-to-market activities.
- How to contact the Helpdesk and NCPs
Finally, on the last tab on the Portal you can find all the support available for the general public If you click on it, you will be able to access the helpdesk and see the support services available that are ready to answer your questions about the tools and processes of the Funding and Tenders Portal.
An important and useful feature is contacting the National Contact Points for H2020 (NCPs). NCPs are national structures established and financed by governments of the EU member states and the states associated to the framework programme.
They can offer personalised support on the spot and in applicants' own languages.
The NCP systems can vary from one country to another from highly centralised to decentralised networks, and several very different actors, from ministries to universities, research centres and special agencies to private consulting companies.
In general, the following basic services are available in accordance with the NCP Guiding Principles agreed by all countries:
- Guidance on choosing relevant H2020 topics and types of action
- Advice on administrative procedures and contractual issues
- Training and assistance on proposal writing
- Distribution of documentation (forms, guidelines, manuals etc.)
- Assistance in partner search
As the NCPs are national structures, the type and level of services offered may differ from country to country.
These are my secrets hidden under the tree, for the rest, I will let you discover and navigate the Funding and Tenders Portal by yourself as it has multiple functionalities and tools which are crucial if you want to master the art of managing a project.