Grant application: the main differences between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe

New programming means new ways of setting up your projects: let’s spot the seven differences between the Horizon 2020 proposal template and its successor Horizon Europe. Euronovia guides you to discover the particularities of the new Standard Application Form!

1) The shorter the better

One of the biggest changes in the Horizon Europe proposal template is the reduction in the number of pages. Project applicants will now have 45 pages to present their project in detail, compared to 70 in the previous Horizon 2020 programme.

Thus, some parts have also been merged to shorten the length of the proposal. For example, the “Objectives” and “Ambition” sections are now combined into a single 4-page long section.

2) What’s new in online Part A?

Part A (online forms) has undergone several changes under Horizon Europe. As a reminder, this part is generated by the IT system and is based on the information filled by the participants through the submission system of the Funding and Tender Opportunities Portal.

  • The description of the partners is no longer in section 4 but in Part A
  • A table of researchers involved in the project will have to be filled in. This table has been included as an indicator for the monitoring of the Horizon Europe programme. It does not aim at identifying researchers but rather studying the link between funding and its influence on researchers’ careers.
  • The role of each participating organisation will have to be specified. In a table, the role(s) of the organisation should be ticked off from a list. For example, there may be roles related to “education and training” or “communication, dissemination, and engagement” activities.
  • Participants will have to specify whether they have a gender equality plan.
  • The information on ethics and security will have to be fully completed in Part A, and not in a separated annex as in Horizon 2020.

3) The effort to clarify the expected content of Part B

To make the programme accessible to new participants and to guide them as best as possible in the drafting of their applications, the European Commission has made significant efforts in Part B. As a reminder, Part B is the proposal and technical description of the project and consists of three sections, each corresponding to an evaluation criteria (Excellence, Impact, Implementation).

The proposal template has been completed with a glossary of definitions. This encourages a more consistent use of the terminology for key terms – such as : milestone, deliverable, critical risk, etc-. in each phase of the project (from the work programme to the proposal and report).

Besides, detailed explanations of what is expected and should be included by the Commission have been added in each section.

4) More space for inter-disciplinarity, gender, and SSH in Section 1 – Excellence

Social sciences and humanities, inter-disciplinarity, gender aspects are strengthened in the Excellence part of the Horizon Europe template.

First of all, project leaders will have to demonstrate the inter-disciplinarity of the proposal, showing the relationships between the different expertise or research fields. If not, project coordinators will have to justify why inter-disciplinarity is not included in the proposal.

Secondly, the gender dimension must be addressed more consistently by integrating it into the research and innovation activities of the project. However, in certain cases specified in the call, this won’t be mandatory.

Finally, integrating social sciences is becoming essential. Their role must be justified ifmentioned in the work programme.

5) Open Science, new to Section 1 – Excellence

According to the EC, Open Science is “an approach based on open collaborative work and the systematic sharing of knowledge and tools as early and widely as possible in the process”. This includes, for example, upstream and open access sharing of the project research results through pre-publications; free and immediate access to research results through open access publications; or active participation of society.

Open Science was previously included in Section 2 – Impact under Horizon 2020. It will now be included in the Excellence section of the project (scientific methodology). Project leaders will have to describe how they integrate open science practices in their methodology. If this is not the case, they will have to justify it.

Besides, data sharing should be subject to the principle “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. A data management plan must be provided for the research data/results and be in line with the FAIR principles (i.e., be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable).

6) The concept of ‘pathways’ in Section 2 – Impact

A summary table at the end of Section 2 – Impact is now included in the proposal template. This table sums up all the different impacts of the project in a comprehensive and synthetical way.

The table includes six categories:

  • The specific needs of the project,
  • Expected results,
  • Dissemination, exploitation, and communication measures to maximise the impact of the project,
  • Target audiences,
  • The outputs achieved during the life of the project,
  • And finally, the scientific, economic, and societal impacts generated beyond the project.

7) Farewell to countless annexes!

Under Horizon Europe, experts are instructed to ignore hyperlinks and annexes as a disguised way of overdeveloping the proposal and thus circumvent the page limit.

Annexes related to subcontracting activities switch to Section 3 – Implementation and the sections on Ethics and Description of Partners are to be completed online in Part A.

The only annexes allowed concern 3 exceptional cases:

  • In the case of financial support to third parties;
  • Projects related to clinical trials;
  • And calls related to Security.

Useful links

Interested in setting up a Horizon Europe project? Euronovia has designed a special support offer for project leaders. To multiply your chances of success thanks to our team of expert consultants, do not hesitate to contact us!