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How to write a proposal that will receive Horizon 2020 funding

The SME Instrument funding aims to provide funding for accelerating the route to the market of disruptive innovations. This funding program is very popular with SMEs and as a result, the application process is very competitive, with a success rate of only 6%.

Here are some of the tips that we advise companies to follow to ensure that they submit an excellent proposal:

  1. Look carefully at the program target and assess if your project is mature enough and addresses the challenges described in the Horizon 2020 instrument description. This will ensure that you apply for the right instrument at the right time.
  2. Invest in a catching title and a good abstract. They create the first impression of your project for an evaluator, so spend some time to come up with a good title, acronym and a good abstract.
  3. Make sure your proposal is well balanced and covers all aspects of each evaluation criteria (Excellence, Impact, and Implementation). Do not skip any sections of the templates provided.
  4. Tell a good story. Imagine that the evaluators are potential investors in your company and tell a story that has a good flow, is coherent, consistent and credible.
  5. Focus on convincing the evaluators of the commercial potential of your product/ service. Often proposals are too technology oriented and lack enough customer validation and market analysis.
  6. Include concrete realistic figures. Whether it is market size estimates or financial estimates, ensure that the figures are realistic and the process of coming to the estimates is clearly explained.
  7. Take advice on the funding programs from the National Contact Points, EEN or others such as incubators, Horizon 2020 consultants.
  8. Form matters. Include eye-catching images and charts that are easy to read. Double check your grammar and spelling. Cross reference your facts for consistency across the whole document. The little details make a difference, so don’t rush and take the time to check and double-check your application before you submit.
  9. Ensure the Intellectual Property Strategy is solid and includes a ”freedom to operate” assurance.
  10. Research the conditions for selecting subcontractors and make sure that they are clearly defined in the proposal.

Contact us if you would like to set up a free confidential consultation about your next Horizon 2020 proposal.

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