Horizon Europe: Early Information on the Proposal Template

UKRO have recently provided some insights into expected Horizon Europe proposal templates.

The Horizon Europe (HEU) proposal templates are currently under development and have not been published yet. However, UKRO has obtained some information regarding the first version of the proposal template, which indicates that there will be several differences when compared with the Horizon 2020 proposal.

The first version of the draft application form for Innovation Action (IA) and Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) demonstrates strong continuity with the Horizon 2020 proposals. It maintains the online Part A for general, administrative and financial information, and Part B for the technical description of the research project – divided into three sections that reflect the Horizon Europe evaluation criteria: Excellence, Impact and Implementation.

According to UKRO, the modifications presented below are under consideration, however are not final and thus subject to further changes.

Part A

  • A new self-declaration on Gender Equality Plans (GEP) has been added; if the proposal is selected, having a GEP will be mandatory for public bodies, HEI and research organisations before signature of the grant agreement;
  • ‘Description of the individual members of the consortium’ has been moved from Part B (former Section 4);
  • For statistical reasons, more information on researchers involved in the proposal can be provided (e.g. gender, career stage, etc);
  • Minor changes to the ethics questions have been introduced (split into two parts: ‘Ethics and Security’); furthermore, a longer ‘Declarations’ list has been included;
  • The ‘Ethics self-assessment’ (narrative part) has been moved from Part B (former Section 5);
  • The ‘Open Data Management Pilot’ opt-out/in section has been removed; a Data Management Plan (DMP) will be a mandatory deliverable by month six of the project and must be covered in Part B together with Open Access practices;
  • The headings in the budget table have been renamed in line with the new financial provisions of Horizon Europe.

Part B

  • New 45-page limit for the title, list of participants and sections 1, 2 and 3 introduced (70 pages in Horizon 2020); former Section 4 (Members of consortium) and Section 5 (Ethics and security) have been moved to Part A;
  • Key elements of the award criteria used in evaluation process and indicative number of pages for each sub-heading have been added;
  • Section 1 “Excellence”: sub-headings have been rearranged and renamed; ‘Open Science practices’ must be described as an integral part of the methodology (with an obligatory Data Management Plan) and not only covered under the ‘Impact/dissemination’ part, as was the case in Horizon 2020;
  • Section 2 “Impact”: major changes to the content and layout are being proposed.
    • This section will now be composed of two sub-headings: ‘Project’s pathways towards impact’ and ‘Measures to maximise impact – Dissemination, exploitation and communication’, complemented by a ‘Summary canvas’ visualising links between the key Impact elements (needs/results/measures and target groups/outputs/impacts).
    • Moreover, new questions/guidance has been added on how to approach the Impact section (e.g. with relation to the Work Programme’s destinations and the topic’s expected outcomes, in terms of scientific, economic/technological and societal impacts) and on how to determine ‘the scale and significance of the project’s contribution to the expected outcomes and impacts’. The requirement to present a draft ‘Plan for dissemination and exploitation including communication activities’ remains and becomes a mandatory project deliverable by month six of the project (not at the periodic/final report stage).
    • If exploitation is expected primarily in non-associated third countries, applicants will need to justify the EU’s interest in the proposal. The draft template does not require a ‘business plan’ explicitly anymore (required for Innovation Actions in Horizon 2020), but where relevant, applicants must still outline the commercialisation path for their innovations in the Plan.
  • Section 3 “Quality and efficiency of the implementation”: the key change is a removal of a dedicated section on the ‘organisational structure and the decision-making mechanisms’; other sub-headings have been slightly rearranged and renamed into: ‘Work plan and resources’ and ‘Capacity of participants and consortium as a whole’; minor changes have been made to the ‘Implementation tables’ (e.g. more classification options for deliverables, dissemination activities and risks) and ‘Costs justification tables’, in line with budget headings (e.g. ‘purchase costs’).

The first HEU calls are expected to open in April after the EU Parliament formally adopts the Regulation establishing the programme.