Author: Jelena Kajganovic
So, you have an excellent idea that corresponds to one of the Horizon Europe topics and you feel confident enough to take the role of the coordinator? Congratulations! So, what is your first step? How do you approach the writing? The consortium building? How early should you start? So many questions and it may seem overwhelming at first! But before you panic, or worse yet, decide to give up on your great idea, let us try to give you a few tips and tricks.
Stay within the scope
Collaborative R&I projects are prescriptive, meaning that the outcomes and the scope that you see in the topic text are the main guidelines for your proposal. If your idea doesn’t fully fit into the scope, try to adjust it and make sure that all the outcomes are covered!
Choose the right partners
Expertise and dedication – these are the two things that you will want to pay attention to at the proposal writing stage. Both will be heavily reflecting on your work if the project is funded and you want to have partners on board who are experienced (perhaps not in Horizon projects, but definitely in their area) and who are willing to do the work. Sounds easier than it is, so take note of their contribution and time management at this stage, to react in time if needed.
The coordinator is not the only contributor
A good consortium means that your partners will have the capacity to contribute to the proposal. Don’t “gatekeep” the document, share it, so that everyone can see and evaluate the flow of your narrative. A common mistake is that the coordinator feels responsible to fully develop their idea and doesn’t include the partners enough. If they can’t see the whole document, the others’ contributions, the overall picture of the project – it will be fragmented, repetitive or completely not connected. This is one of the most common mistakes and puts too much burden on the coordinator. You selected good partners – let them help you!
Expect your idea to change and evolve
With everyone on board, collaborating and contributing, your initial concept is bound to change. If the project is granted, your partners are the ones who will be doing most of the work – so appreciate their input and what they see as possible, necessary or important to do. Your initial concept is just the starting idea – the projects are collaborative for a reason.
Always go back to the topic text and leave enough time
After all the meetings, emails, draft documents and very final versions, it is easy to forget what we must accomplish – the outcomes from the topic text. Leave enough time for either a third party or yourself as a coordinator to assess if your proposal is within the scope, you haven’t drifted away from what the Commission wants to see as a result and your idea is clear to someone who hasn’t been to your meetings! One more thing that is easier said than done, believe us!
For more tips and actual stories about all the good, as well as bad steps you can take in this process, join us on 1-3 March in Prague for a comprehensive course to help you in your first steps in proposal writing, budgeting, and project management. Check it out and register here.