Developing a good project concept and proposal under Horizon Europe can sound like a big chunk at first. But like all complex tasks, it also can be split into several smaller ones, and you can start with a few key steps to make sure you will develop a strong proposal in the long run.
Your project idea – is your starting point in your proposal journey. When exploring the call of your interest in detail you should start developing a deeper understanding of the wider context. Let yourself brainstorm on all parts of the call and pay attention to the details that capture your thoughts the most. In parallel, you should dive a bit into the relevant background knowledge in order to make that brainstorming more effective. Formulating your core idea is an iterative process, as reformulation and polishing can take place during its development, to reach a comprehensive concept.
The call – together with the ideation, the focused analysis of the call text is essential to understand what this project should be about. That means you scan and filter the call text using some guiding questions, like What challenges should the proposal respond to? What are the objectives? Are there any hints on the methods to be used? What outputs should be delivered? What kind of partners should be included? This information can lead to the development of the core concept, your set of objectives, the expected outcomes and impacts, the ambition, and the work plan.
Sharing your idea – in order to help you in ideation, share your vision with that colleague whose feedback you deeply value, or the one you would like to involve in the proposal development process. The ideation process is better when more than one person is involved, and the guiding feedback (from well-experienced colleagues) can also be valuable to enhance your proposal concept.
Finding potential partners – since this is a “team game”, you will need to find the relevant partners and develop your consortium. For that you can search your list of known contacts, take part in the EC’s Brokerage events designed for connecting interested parties from various countries around certain Horizon Europe clusters or calls, and you can reach out directly to organizations that seem to be a good fit for your consortium, either based on your concept or because they were mentioned in the call.
So, make sure you start with these few first steps in your proposal development journey. And for more advanced tips, I definitely encourage you to join my colleagues and trainers, Ömer and Jelena May 9th, and explore all their insights in writing successful proposals, from call analysis to submission. Check out more and register here.