Initial lessons from Horizon Europe calls
By Ingemar Pongratz
The European Horizon Europe research and innovation scheme was launched by the European Commission. Horizon Europe started in 2021 and the first batches of calls were launched. There are several novel and interesting features in Horizon Europe. These new features include a mixed grant / capital scheme for SME’s. The EIC Accelerator scheme, the 5 Horizon Europe research Missions which will tackle major societal challenges, increased focus on policy are novelties in Horizon Europe that pose challenges for proposers.
Interestingly, the European Commission in different presentations reiterated that Horizon Europe will resemble its predecessor Horizon 2020. The keyword has been evolution, not revolution. However, there are new rather large changes between schemes that challenge the notion.
Compered the Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe introduces new mixed funding (public and private) modalities, increased connection to policy, and increased connection to the European research divide.
Recently, Science|Business presented a compilation of the first impression from Horizon Europe applicants. Initial lessons from Horizon Europe calls show that there are still areas that applicants need to address in future calls
Applicants experience difficulties to prepare the Impact section of the application. In addition, the countries associated to Horizon Europe associated countries is (still) not clear Applicants write that the maxim size for the applications (45 pages) is very challenging and creates difficulties to introduce all the necessary information.
In fact, Science|Business writes the comment from one researcher. This researcher explains that the administrative section is easier in Horizon Europe. However, the scientific section is considerably more challenging. Other problematic areas include for example the updated requirements for Open Science, limited space for the Impact area and several others.
The impact section for any proposal is always challenging and time consuming. Previous experience is a bonus and knowledge from connection research to policy is beneficial. Researchers often lack experienced how to connect research to policy or societal needs. This takes time and requires experience and knowledge. In addition, the proposals should include an exploitation plan. The plan is also difficult to develop.
A personal observation is that applicants often have the feeling that the increased attention to impact requires long, complicated texts, which is seldom the case. Translation of research towards market is very complex and benefits from previous entrepreneurial experience.
Most likely, the situation will improve in future calls. However, the increased attention to societal impact will create problems for applicants who lack experienced writers.
Ingemar Pongratz is a researcher and entrepreneur in the Life Science area. Ingemar Pongratz established Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting and offers support to researchers from industry or universities with EU funding applications. I Pongratz co-founded also Letavis AB. Letavis AB is a life science SME. We translate research results into new products for the agricultural sector. If you are interested to know more about our consultancy services and how we can support your EU application or if you are interested in collaboration, please contact us through the Online Contact form.