- How can I write a competitive proposal?
- How do I obtain "outside reader" support to help me enhance the competitiveness of my proposal?
- What university internal procedures do I need to follow to submit an EU funding proposal?
- What is the basic information about the university often required for applications (e.g. the PIC code 999848938).
How do I write a competitive Horizon 2020 funding proposal?
To write or not?
Please give this question enough consideration before starting to work on a proposal. The competition for EU funding is intense. Average success rate is 20% - in ERC lower. This means that a great deal of time and energy is needed to write a successful grant - how much depends upon the proposal type, and the preparation you have already done. A rule of thumb is 2 to three months minimum, ideally spread out over a year before submission in order to allow the proposal to "ripen." Please discuss this decision with colleagues and/or the EU-Referentin. Sometimes it is wiser to wait a year. This is particularly the case vis-à-vis ERC grants; see Bottom Up Funding: ERC page.
There are a few tips to keep in mind - most not written anywhere - no matter what programme you are writing your proposal for:
- Policy solution: The main aim of H2020 is to address the political strategies set out in the EU2020 and Innovation Union documents. If you are not already familiar with these, you should at minimum skim through them and identify one policy area – and ideally one specific policy – that your project addresses. Especially with top down calls, it is essential that you can convince the evaluators that your project provides the best solution - is a sine qua non for them to reach their policy goal. In many cases, related policy information is provided as background in documents along with societal challenges calls.
- Innovation: It is good if you can indicate at least the potential for your ideas to eventually move "from the lab to the market”
- Interdisciplinarity: topics, especially the societal challenges, are expected to be addressed in an interdisciplinary Fashion.
- Broad range of actors: research that incorporates a broad range of actors are more likely to be funded - and are often a requirement of the call.
- European value added - what the project adds that cannot be obtained without Europe/international collaboration - should be emphasized as much as scientific excellence.
- Where appropriate, standardization should be aspired to and emphasized.
- All key terms from the call must be taken up and used in the proposal, so evaluators can clearly see the links between the two and the suitability of the project to meet the call aims.
- Because H2020 topics are more open, the “fit” with the topic has less importance in evaluation than impact. The proposal format should follow the impact criteria.
- The chances of obtaining funding would be enhanced via
lobby work, be it with relevant EU personnel and/or
national actors. The EU-Referentin can support in this process.
Expert “outside reader” support
A proposal is like wine; it needs to ripen. It is important to allow your ideas sufficient time to “perculate”, and for others to provide comments on it. It should be written well enough that an intelligent non-specialist can follow it.
- The draft can be shown to trusted colleagues, as well as be presented in one form or another in talks, to obtain feedback for your ideas.
- The EU Referentin, with significant expertise as a researcher as well as EU-Referentin, can provide an expert “outsider” perspective on your draft proposal. Please submit your draft with sufficient time for input - a month is ideal, a minimum of two weeks is required to ensure enough time for feedback and its integration.
- Draft proposals can also be submitted to KOWI or the EU national
contact Offices; the EU-Referntin can help you get in touch with
Proposal forms: Useful information
Proposals have an administrative section (A), and a “scientific” one (B). Guidelines for filling these out are included with the application documents.
A Forms - Information often requested from coordinator:
- PIC code / number: 999848938
- Legal representatives' contact information (those able to sign legal documents on the university's behalf)
- Prof. Katharine Krause, President
- Biegenstr. 10, 35032 Marburg
- Tel. 49 (0)6421 28 26000
- Fax 49 (0)6421 28910
- Dr. Friedhelm Nonne, Chancellor
- Biegenstr. 10, 35032 Marburg
- Tel 49 (0) 6421 26100
- Fax 49 (0) 6421 28949
- Financial signatory: Fill in the contact information for the person in the finance administration assigned to administer your projects. If you do not know who this is, ask Frau Keller if you are in FB20, otherwise Frau Schild.
- Administrative contact persons: This is the person in your department responsible for the day to day support to ongoing projects. In the case of ERC grants, however, it is the EU-Referent/in.
- Institutional letter of support: Some applications require a letter of support from the university administration before they can be submitted. If yours does, please make your request to the EU Referent/in at least two weeks in advance, specifying form required (mentioned in the application). A (draft) proposal, including budget, must be submitted with request, before the letter can be brought to the President to be signed.