Insights into Horizon 2020 research impact: survey findings
The overall success rate of eligible full proposals under the first 100 Horizon 2020 (H2020) calls was only 14%. Many months of applicant time are spent submitting rejected proposals. Research impact is a major distinguishing factor in a winning proposal. We undertook this survey to find out what makes a proposal improve its competitiveness and stand out.
- Partners invest at least a month, on average, in forming a consortium and submitting a proposal for highly competitive Horizon 2020 funding. Most are disappointed by a negative outcome;
- Evaluators are looking for very specific elements in a proposal to score impact highly, which is often the key to success;
- Common weaknesses include not addressing the impact statement adequately, delivering innovations to market, and results exploitation;
- Successful proposals give detailed yet realistic pathways to impact, backed up with credible targets and indicators;
- They involve stakeholders in concept design and consider their research needs carefully, along with interactive communication channels;
- SME partners are often included for their niche expertise but may have different constraints to researchers.