Helping businesses secure and maximise R&D tax credits and grants

Horizon 2020 Main Scheme

Horizon 2020 has nearly €80 billion of grant funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation, and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

Horizon 2020 Main Scheme

The Horizon 2020 Main Scheme Explained

What is the Horizon 2020 Main Scheme?

Horizon 2020 is the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation, and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

Horizon 2020 has nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Funding opportunities are set out in two-year work programmes that cover the large majority of support available. Most projects require you to be part of a consortium, usually made up of at least 3 organisations from different countries.

The funding rates depend on the type of project:

  • research and innovation projects, consisting of activities aiming to establish new knowledge and/or explore the feasibility of a new or improved technology, product, process, service, or solution. The funding rate is 100%.
  • innovation projects are activities directly aimed at producing plans or designs for new or improved products, processes or services. These projects have a 70% funding rate.

What type of businesses should apply for the Horizon 2020 Main Scheme?

The work you are doing should be truly innovative. In addition, many Horizon 2020 main scheme calls require a consortium of at least 3 partners from three different EU Member States, with involvement from a mix of academics and scientists, research organisations, SMEs, and industry partners.

Is your innovation ready for you to apply for the Horizon 2020 Main Scheme?

If your project goes beyond incremental change and is truly groundbreaking, the Horizon 2020 main scheme may be the right funding opportunity for you. Your project will need to improve the overall scientific output of Europe and speed up results through internationalisation, collaboration, and creating long-term benefits.

What are the project topic areas for the Horizon 2020 Main Scheme?

The Horizon 2020 work programme for 2016-17 supports a range of initiatives that cover nearly 600 topics. You may be able to get Horizon 2020 funding for projects which:

  • involve ground breaking research or new technologies;
  • improve research training and development, or research infrastructure;
  • create growth in sectors like advanced manufacturing, materials, biotechnology, information and communication technology, nanotechnology, and space;
  • increase private investment in research; or,
  • respond to challenges like climate change, food security, or healthcare.

The Horizon 2020 Main Scheme Grant Application Process

How long does it take to prepare a Horizon 2020 Main Scheme application?

It takes over 400 hours of work to prepare a Horizon 2020 main scheme application.

You will need the right combination of people to cover the proposal’s key aspects: the technology, market knowledge, commercialisation plan, and financial details. If your call requires a consortium, it should be a blend of academics and scientists, SMEs, universities, research organisations, and industry partners.

What's the Horizon 2020 Main Scheme evaluation process?

There are both single-stage and two-stage evaluations. The type of evaluation you will have depends on the call for proposals.

In a single-stage evaluation, if your proposal is eligible and in scope, each evaluator scores the proposal according to three main criteria (‘excellence’, ‘impact’, and ‘quality and efficiency of the implementation’, with each marked out of 5. If your call has an innovation action, the ‘impact’ criterion is usually weighted 1.5 times more.

The proposal then goes to a consensus group, to find agreement on the comments and scores, and then to a panel review. The proposal receives a ranking, and those projects above a certain threshold are chosen to be funded.

The two-stage process is similar to the single-stage evaluation, except that you submit a short proposal which evaluators mark only on the ‘excellence’ and ‘impact’ criteria. If your proposal is above a certain threshold (usually 8 out of 10), you proceed to stage two.

In stage 2, you submit the full proposal, which is evaluated according to the single-stage evaluation process.

What's the success rate of Horizon 2020 Main Scheme proposals?

The overall success rate was 14% from the first 100 calls for Horizon 2020 proposals, which closed by 1 December 2014.

What type of Horizon 2020 Main Scheme proposals are likely to succeed?

An effective Horizon 2020 main scheme application successfully describes the commercial, technological, and financial benefits of the project in a precise and compelling manner. Horizon 2020 grants are often awarded to projects considered too risky for private sector investment.

Proposed R&D projects and costs must also be realistic, with a clear commercial opportunity, and aim to create new markets or exploit significant growth.

It is crucial to keep the European point of view in mind and ensure that you highlight that your project:

  • Provides a solution to a market need
  • Has European value and impact
  • Builds on existing EU projects
  • Provides economic impact and can be commercialised

Who evaluates a Horizon 2020 Main Scheme proposal?

A Horizon 2020 main scheme application is examined by at least three independent experts in the area of innovation identified in the application. In many cases, the application is examined by five or more experts.

How long does it take to receive a decision from Horizon 2020?

For Horizon 2020 main scheme proposals, the grant body aims to provide a decision within 5 months of the submission deadline.

How is Horizon 2020 Main Scheme grant money paid?

For the Horizon 2020 main scheme, funding is based on the reimbursement of costs, although a certain amount is granted at the beginning of the project.

There are three main payment types for the funding of Horizon 2020 projects:

  • The pre-financing payment. There is no fixed amount for this payment. The amount is determined and written down in the Grant Agreement. 5% of the maximum grant amount is retained from the pre-financing and held in a Guarantee Fund.
  • The interim payment. These cover eligible costs incurred during reporting periods, with as many payments as reporting periods.
  • Payment of the balance. This is the balance due by deducting the total amount of pre-financing and interim payment made from the final grant amount, as well as the release of the money held in the Guarantee Fund.

How Myriad Associates Can Help

Why choose Myriad Associates as your specialist R&D grants funding advisor?

Myriad Associates have an enviable track record with R&D grant applications. Using our grant application services can give you a significant competitive advantage over other grant applicants.

We assess your chances of success

We write your grant application

We prepare your financial plan

We submit your grant application

We help you comply with the conditions of your grant

We take care of your application from start to finish

Project Assessment – Our specialist consultants discuss all the relevant technical, commercial and financial details of your R&D project with you and assess your chances of success.

Workshop Session – We will take you through a workshop session so that we fully understand your project in terms of the technical problems and solution, commercial opportunities, market dynamics, project team and financial projections.

Grant Writing – We research, prepare, and write an award-winning R&D grant application for your review and approval.

Submission and Feedback – We complete the online registration process and submit the web-based grant application on your behalf. Grant assessors provide feedback on both successful and unsuccessful grant applications, and we review this feedback with you to give you on-going advice and guidance.

Compliance and Monitoring – When your grant application is approved, we help you comply with all requests from the grant body’s monitoring officers.

For more information on Horizon 2020 Main Scheme grants, download our fact sheet here.

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