How to Create Winning Proposals for the EU

When it comes to securing funding from the European Union (EU), the competition is fierce. To emerge successfully from this challenging journey and obtain coveted European funding, applicants must be able to create winning proposals. Currently, there are various calls for proposals that affect a wide range of sectors (health, social sciences and humanities, digital, food, and more) within the framework of the Horizon Europe program. Therefore, it is the perfect time to consider the possibility of accessing one of these open calls, such as those for Cluster 2, focused on Culture, Creativity, and Inclusive Society; Cluster 5, on Climate, Energy, or Mobility; or even the Marie Sklodowska-Curie postdoc scholarships.

To help with this, we provide some key points that coordinators or projects should consider in order for their proposal to align with EU priorities and be favorable to evaluators.

1. Clarity and Relevance: The Foundation for Any Proposal

A fundamental pillar of a winning EU application is having clear and relevant objectives. The EU is committed to funding projects that align with its policies and priorities. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the project’s objectives are not only well-defined but also firmly rooted in the broader context of EU policy goals.

2. Partnerships and Collaboration: Unity Strengthens Proposals

 Building a strong consortium is another crucial element. Establishing partnerships with organizations that possess complementary skills and expertise not only enhances the proposal’s credibility but also broadens its potential. Therefore, it is highly beneficial to consider collaborating with entities from diverse geographical locations, disciplines, and sectors (both academic and industrial) to maximize the synergy of your project.

3. Innovation and Impact: The Key Factor

A winning proposal must offer innovative and high-impact ideas. In the midst of a sea of applications, the EU seeks projects that promise significant change. Highlighting how the project brings innovation to conventional solutions and demonstrating its potential to create a positive, quantifiable, and lasting impact is crucial.

4. Methodology and Planning: Attention to Detail

A well-structured and feasible work plan is fundamental. It is essential to clearly define the methods and techniques that will drive the project to provide evaluators with confidence in your approach. Be cautious! The methodology section should not be an extension of the description of work packages but should reflect the project’s justified starting hypotheses, as well as the different methodologies/technologies and their clear interrelation, providing data and explanatory diagrams not found in the work packages. Additionally, visualizing the interrelation of work packages through a “PERT chart” and a realistically reflected schedule in a “Gantt chart” is essential. Likewise, an appropriate calculation of the effort of each entity for each work package (commonly known as “Person Months”) justifying a budget

5. Review and Professional Guidance:
Engage Experts

 Before submitting a proposal, it is very beneficial to seek out experts or colleagues with experience in EU proposals to evaluate the final version. Specialized consultancies, such as Euro-Funding, are familiar with the requirements and demands of the EU. This experience, coupled with our highly technically qualified team, allows us to provide advice on how to structure projects to increase funding chances and address potential weaknesses.

6. Viability and Sustainability: Beyond
the Funding Period

The viability and sustainability of a project are fundamental considerations. Winning proposals articulate a clear path for the project’s continuity or scalability beyond the funding period. Demonstrating a commitment to the long-term success of the project and the dissemination of its results enhances its appeal.

7. Communication and Dissemination:
Tell Your Story

 It is necessary to create a comprehensive communication and dissemination plan in the proposal, providing numerical justification of the project’s impact in the short/medium/long term, depending on the types of channels used and the potential interested parties or entities, also known as “stakeholders,” who must be properly identified. Effective communication and dissemination can significantly increase the visibility and influence of the project.

8. Regulatory Compliance: Navigating
the EU Rulebook

 It is important to ensure strict compliance with current EU regulations governing ethics, data protection, environmental standards, among others, and to duly reference them in the proposal. Failing to meet these requirements can lead to the rejection of the proposal, even if it is highly promising.

9. Tailored Approach: Customization is Key

Each EU program has specific criteria and objectives. Therefore, the proposal must be meticulously tailored to the specific requirements and guidelines of the funding program you are applying to. This also demonstrates the commitment and dedication invested in the project.

10. Learning from the Past: Successes
and Failures

Finally, but not least important, we recommend reviewing past successes and failures. Analysing previously successful and unsuccessful proposals provides valuable insights to implement in the current application.

In conclusion, obtaining funding from the EU requires a strategic and comprehensive approach. Creating a winning proposal is not a matter of luck but a meticulous process that combines experience, innovation, and alignment with EU priorities and guidelines. By always considering these principles, your chances of obtaining the necessary funding to carry out your proposed projects will increase.