3 grant writing tips from our experienced team on how to write a successful Horizon 2020 full grant proposal

Published: 10 January 2017

You have been invited to submit a full proposal to the European Commission after positive evaluation of your pre-proposal. You now feel that you are almost there – the Horizon 2020 money is practically in your account – but you need to leap one final hurdle. These tips may help you on your way to write a convincing full Horizon 2020 grant proposal

1. Do not fall in love with your Horizon 2020 pre-proposal

Although conceptually your pre-proposal resonated with reviewers, you are not there yet for two reasons:

  • The pre-proposal was primarily assessed on only one of the criteria (Excellence), while the full grant proposal will also (or more extensively) be assessed on two of the other key criteria (Impact and Implementation). While your strategy may sound excellent in the pre-proposal, it might not score optimally on impact and implementation in the full proposal.
  • You have scored above the threshold (typically top 30%) but you do not know whether you actually stand out (you likely will need to be in the top 5% to eventually be funded). Consequently, it is recommended to critically evaluate the strategy you proposed in the pre-proposal and assess whether it also comes together when addressing the other criteria.

2. Less is more (and a clear structure is even more) when writing a full grant proposal

The full proposal template offers you dozens of extra pages to flood the grant proposal reviewer with additional information. But more is not necessarily better. The reviewer still needs to be convinced in the first couple of pages of the full proposal and he or she still needs to be able to easily identify the answers to the questions that those first pages raise. So, when writing a full grant proposal, make sure that all texts serve a purpose, that reviewers can easily distinguish key points and that the overall structure of the full proposal is logical and easy to comprehend.

3. Leadership and organization are key to preventing grant writing stress when writing an H2020 full proposal

For a successful full proposal, a lot of elements must come together. Large consortia, with partners that each have their own (political) agendas, complicate the process. And all of that needs to be achieved in just a couple of months. Therefore, your leadership will be key to the success of the full proposal (and minimization of your stress levels). Our FFWD method may help you to simplify the process and focus on the most important steps first:

  • First, reassess the FIT and see whether the consortium and goals of the project need to be refined.
  • Then, develop the FRAMEWORK. This will help you to delegate key parts of the full proposal.
  • Only then, start producing texts (WRITE).
  • In parallel, DEVELOP the business plan and consortium management strategy

Horizon 2020 project management

ttopstart can manage your entire Horizon 2020 project, or we can provide project management modules for example in assisting in the Grant Agreement, EC reporting, financing and many others. We can either be EU partner in your project or subcontracted. Our experienced project managers are trained in the PRINCE-2 project management method. Contact us if you would like to learn more about ttopstart’s Horizon 2020 project management.

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