Horizon Europe proposal writing perspectives

What to consider from a coordinator perspective and what to consider from a partner perspective

What to consider from a coordinator perspective and what to consider from a partner perspective when starting a proposal

Introduction and checklists

Do you want to be a partner, or do you want to be a coordinator in a research and innovation project? Not an easy question to answer, and our Horizon 2020 and especially our first six Horizon Europe projects have shown us how important it is to find a suitable project coordination team.

Remember that, as a coordinator, you need to consider a few key issues

  1. When you start putting together a partnership, you need to have a good idea and concept on your mind

  2. When you start thinking about what your project should be about, you need to do your homework thoroughly – you need to research the target groups in the work programme, be sure to know what the European Commission wants from you through these projects, what will they be financing, and what do the evaluators wish to see; 

  3. And finally, you have to invest a lot of effort in finding the best partners for your consortium.


After these are sorted, and after the partners join, there are still bits and pieces you need to be careful about: 

  1. Make sure you understand all the questions and have an overview of the crucial issues. The partners will help you with this, but it is essential for you to understand what the concept will look like. You have to know how the approach is going to be presented to the evaluators, and what the methodologies will be. 

  1. You need to know how to put together the scientific sections

  1. And what kind of past projects are you going to be building on; 

  1. The overview of putting together different packages will be up to you; 

  1. Take into consideration milestones and risks

  1. Pay special attention to developing a budget

  1. And finally, you need to be aware of what different partners have to put in their profile, since this will convince the evaluators that you have the best team to implement this specific project. 


Since, as a coordinator, you have to put in a lot of effort, the key question is do you have the capacity to put the entire project together. We admit that it takes a lot of time and effort, and it requires a lot of different skills. This is why it can seem scary for many organisations, especially if you haven't done it before. Therefore, many organisations only want to become a partner, not the coordinating organisation. But what the practice shows is - if you invest the effort once, you will be invited back to a partnership. We are aware of many organisations that love working together on projects and are just switching the coordination role. 


If you only want to be a partner, still read through this list:  

  • you still need to understand the idea,

  • and know what the commission intends to finance because you will be requested to contribute to the proposal and convince the evaluator that your perspective can benefit the project,

  • you have to check the budget for your organisation,

  • you need to have a good partner profile and showcase your role,

  • you have to contribute to the administrative tasks,

  • you have to help with the work packages and do the tasks after you commit.


Remember that it is not your only task to fill in the partner profile, as some partners sometimes believe. Next time you accept the partnership, ensure you have the capacity to commit to the tasks, since consortia members are not keen on partners are not proactive, don't reply to emails, who can't attend meetings and workshops, etc. After all, coordinators are assigning budgets based on the roles, and no coordinator wants to give you a high budget for no or very little commitment. When you say YES to a partnership, please understand that it requires commitment, attention to details, and deadlines, too. 

As a coordinator, you need good partners who will write parts of the proposal, and as a good partner, you need to be able to write parts of the proposal. The joint effort that the partners are putting into the proposal writing is visible to the evaluators, and the Horizon Europe proposal is good only if it presents the joint work. Not only will the evaluators see good cooperation expressed in a well-written proposal, but the actual project management will be smooth when all the partners are devoted from the very beginning.

Please note that just because you think you won't be a strong coordinator, it doesn't mean you shouldn't have a key role in proposal development. Even if you are not a coordinator, you can and will most probably be included in the active discussion with the partners.

If you are a new coordinator and you are struggling with kicking off your Horizon Europe project, we are here to support you during the first months, from Grant Agreement to Continuous Reporting. This will be one of the first things we will do for you this autumn.

And if you are still indecisive, stay tuned for our next post, where we will talk about the first steps of the proposal writing, the impact section and working together with your consortium members. The final part of this series will bring in depth view of the budget section and final conclusions that we believe can help you decide. 


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Great information
Thank you for the article, the information you provided have made it much more clear. I will now send the link to every partner I work with so they are clear on what they need to do.