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Grant Writing 101: Keys to Writing a Successful Horizon Europe Proposal

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

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With a total budget of €95,5 billion, Horizon Europe is the largest programme for research and innovation ever funded in Europe. Every company involved in sustainable technology development should be applying for funding; however, many deserving startups and established organizations are overlooked because of lacking or incomplete grant proposals. Some projects do not clearly communicate their relevance for industrial or governmental needs; for others, the grant writing process is unfamiliar and difficult.

LINQ Consulting has extensive experience writing successful project proposals, including several that have received funding from Horizon Europe. We can assist with your project proposal and help ensure that your collaborative efforts are successful.

What is Horizon Europe?

Horizon Europe is the successor of the largely successful Horizon 2020 program that awarded tens of billions of euros to projects that aimed to improve sustainability in many ways. Horizon Europe specifically aims to tackle climate change, support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and boost the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting, and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

Additionally, Horizon Europe creates jobs, fully engages the EU’s talent pool, boosts economic growth, promotes industrial competitiveness, and optimises investment impact within a strengthened European Research Area.

New elements in Horizon Europe (improvements from the preceding Horizon 2020 program)

  • European Innovation Council: Support for innovations with potential breakthrough and disruptive nature with scale-up potential that may be too risky for private investors. This is 70% of the budget earmarked for SMEs.

  • Missions: Sets of measures to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. There are 5 main mission areas as part of Horizon Europe.

  • Open science policy: Mandatory open access to publications and open science principles are applied throughout the programme (Factsheet: Open science in Horizon Europe)

  • New approach to partnerships: Objective-driven and more ambitious partnerships with industry in support of EU policy objectives

Horizon Europe is open to everyone, with calls for proposals for universities, corporations, small & medium enterprises (SMEs), and governments. The overarching goal of Horizon Europe is to help promote cutting-edge science, remove barriers to scientific innovation, and facilitate private-public sector partnerships in R&D.

How does the Horizon Europe Process Work?

Completing a proposal involves a considerable amount of work. Interested applicants must complete the call for applications through the project’s electronic system while also identifying national and international partners.

Applications must fulfill the needs of three main pillars of progress: applicable scientific value, societal impact, and industrial leadership. Unfortunately, most applicants only address the scientific aspect of the program, neglecting much needed coverage of industrial or societal concerns.

Familiarity with the Horizon Europe grant process is essential

The Horizon Europe grant process is a multi-step process with specific rules and success criteria. If researchers assume what is required without assessing the detailed requirements, there will most likely be a gap between proposal content and what reviewers are looking for in the grant application.

Ideally, a proposal must be scientifically sound, include partnerships with relevant organisations, demonstrate tangible societal impact or industrial leadership, and have a working roadmap to accomplish the proposed work. For those more focused on the research itself, writing a proposal might result in added distress as well as a failure to secure funding.

Given that the familiarity with the Horizon Europe grant process is essential for project success, it might be worth considering professional technical assistance.

Click here to see how LINQ Consulting can help you navigate the grant writing process

Collaboration – especially with industry – matters

Collaboration with the right partners is a key component of a winning proposal. Collaborative partnerships are recognised by local governments and government agencies, including the EU, as a safer and more reliable return on investment from grants. This is, in part, why collaborations are appealing to grant programs such as Horizon Europe and other funders.

Collaboration with stakeholders has become a necessary skill in grant writing, proffering advantages such as shared resources, access to a depth of experience, joint knowledge, and error reduction. However, difficulties often arise from partners giving preference to their own goals. Ultimately, confusion or contention around roles, goals, and duties within the partnership stand as key impediments to success. In short, collaboration is necessary, yet can be a difficult endeavour.

Keys to collaborative success

Successful collaborations are productive and cooperative at all stages of the grant application process. These collaborations are most successful when:

  • Partners share norms and principles that inform project goals

  • Roles and duties are clear, understood, and embraced by members

  • Roles and duties minimise redundancy and make significant progress toward goals

  • Partners realistically evaluate their goals, plans, and actions and remain adaptive to changes

While collaboration is key to the successful completion of a Horizon Europe grant proposal, managing a collaborative project is a considerable amount of added work and requires involved management to make the process of submitting a grant application run smoothly.

How Linq Consulting can assist with your project proposal

The dedicated experts at Linq Consulting are available to assist with Horizon Europe proposals at every stage of the writing and application process.

With our expertise in grants management, we can help you secure funding from Horizon Europe, as well as any other grant opportunities that may be available.

Whether you represent a large organisation or run a small business, Linq Consulting will help locate funding opportunities and secure funding for your project. Get in touch with us today.

If you or your organisation would like to secure available funding set aside for sustainability research and development, contact us at

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @linq-consulting and connect with us on LinkedIn as well.

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