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Maximizing Impact: Strategies for Optimizing the Impact Section in Horizon Europe Proposals


The Horizon Europe programme aims to support innovative projects that can potentially have a significant impact on society, the environment, and the economy. However, the success of a proposal in securing funding largely depends on how well the project's impact is articulated. In this blog, we will explore the importance of the impact section, the new approach through key impact pathways, and how to optimize this crucial section to secure funding for your project. We will also provide tips on maximizing the expected outcomes and impacts, understanding the difference between project objectives and impacts, and ensuring the quality and efficiency of the implementation.

Understanding Impact in Horizon Europe Proposals

To write a convincing impact section for a Horizon Europe proposal, it's critical to understand the relationship between the project objectives and impacts. The project objectives are the technological and commercial goals expected to be achieved during the project's implementation phase. On the other hand, impact refers to the project's potential to have a societal, environmental, economic, or business impact.

An innovation that does not have a significant impact is unlikely to receive funding support. Unlike Horizon 2020, the Horizon Europe programme has a new approach that emphasizes nine Key Impact Pathways (KIPs). The KIPs are part of the Horizon Indicator Framework, and focus on three impact areas, each with three KIPs. These KIPs were designed not just to evaluate for funding distribution but to help innovators track the projects' impact. Through these, the EU Commission expects to see the impact of EU funding for research and innovation on citizens, legislators, and budget authorities. It is vital to consider these impact areas when writing the impact section of your Horizon Europe proposal.

Maximizing Expected Outcomes and Impacts

To maximize the potential impact of a Horizon Europe project, it is crucial to have a thorough plan in place for the dissemination and exploitation of the innovation. This includes a credible business plan that outlines the pricing and commercial strategies, as well as a plan for geographical expansion. It is also important to identify potential external partners or stakeholders that can help to achieve successful commercial exploitation, which should be listed in your proposal.

Communication activities are also essential for promoting the work during the grant period. This could involve raising awareness through the likes of conferences and industrial expos, publications in magazines and journals, and workshops.

Regulatory issues and protection of intellectual property are critical factors that applicants should not underestimate. It is essential that the proposed work has a clear plan for commercial protection and that it is not heavily reliant on vulnerable-to-change regulations in the target markets. It is recommended to describe the key knowledge items of the solutions, filed and/or granted patents, what they cover, and the countries/regions where they apply. If patentability cannot be achieved, it is still important to explain how the idea will be protected from competition, such as through trademarks or copyrights.

To summarize, the proposal should provide all the necessary measures to ensure the commercial exploitation of the project, including a dissemination and exploitation plan, communication activities, and addressing any intellectual property and regulatory issues. By doing so, the applicant can demonstrate a credible path to delivering innovation to the market.

Key Impact Pathways in Detail

Horizon Europe's impact section emphasizes the Key Impact Pathways, which are divided into three categories: scientific, economic, and social impact. Each category includes three pathways outlining the expected outcomes and impact of the projects.

Scientific impact is focused on the creation of high-quality research. Hence, the first pathway aims at producing excellent research outputs, which will expand knowledge and enhance European research excellence. The second focuses on innovation capacity building, such as developing new technologies, tools, and methods, which will lead to new valuable research insights. Finally, the third pathway is concerned with the development of skills and capacities to train the next generation of researchers.

Economic impact is aimed at contributing to growth and job creation. The first pathway, fostering business investment and innovation, is targeted at supporting SMEs, while the second path focuses on sustainable and smart industrial development. The final pathway aims to promote and increase the dissemination and use of European research innovation.

Social impact is focused on addressing societal challenges. The first pathway aims at improving health and well-being through ground-breaking medical research and developing advanced therapies. The second path focuses on enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities, regions, and cities. The final pathway is aimed at enabling a just, inclusive, and resilient society.

These Key Impact Pathways are essential for applicants to optimize their impact section for their Horizon Europe proposal. With a clear understanding of the expectations and goals set by each pathway, applicants can present their project in a more convincing and promising way.

Tips for Writing a Convincing Impact Section

When it comes to writing the impact section of your Horizon Europe proposal, you need to ensure that you are presenting a clear plan for how your project will make an impact. Here are some tips to help you write a convincing Impact Section:

Define clear objectives and impacts: The first step is to clearly define what you hope to achieve through your project and how it will make an impact. This should be done in a way that is concise and easy to understand, so the evaluators can easily see what you are trying to achieve.

Explain the contribution to the expected outcomes: You need to explain how your project will contribute to the expected outcomes of the Horizon Europe programme. This means demonstrating how your project aligns with the wider goals of the programme, including the specific topic area and Destination, and how it will help to achieve these goals.

Provide a credible path to deliver innovation to the market: The evaluators will want to see a credible plan for delivering your innovation to the market. This means having a solid business plan, pricing strategy, commercial strategy, and geographical expansion plan. You should identify potential external partners who can help you achieve success.

Identify potential external partners: Collaborating with external partners can help you achieve greater success with your project. When writing your impact section, make sure to identify potential partners and explain how you will engage with them and how they will contribute to your project's success.

Promote your work during the grant period: Communication activities are a key component of the impact section. You need to demonstrate how you will promote your work during the grant period to raise awareness and visibility. This could include participating in conferences and industrial expos, publishing in magazines and journals, hosting workshops, and more. Be sure to be clear on the differences between dissemination and communication, as explained here.

Consider intellectual property and regulatory issues: Intellectual property, knowledge protection, and regulatory issues are also important concerns. You need to demonstrate that you have a plan in place to protect your intellectual property and ensure that your project is commercially viable.

Overall, the key to writing a convincing impact section is to demonstrate that your project will have a real impact and that you have a credible plan for achieving success. With careful planning and execution, a strong impact section can help secure funding for your project and make a real difference in the world.

Quality and Efficiency of Implementation

Another important aspect that evaluators consider when reviewing Horizon Europe proposals is the quality and effectiveness of the work plan. This includes an assessment of the risks involved and an appropriate allocation of effort based on the capacity and role of each participant, including for dissemination, communication, and exploitation activities.

The consortium as a whole should also have the necessary expertise to accomplish the proposed work. The involvement of a partner focused specifically on dissemination, communication, and exploitation is often reviewed favorably, especially when this partner has expertise in the topical area of the proposal. Linq often participates in Horizon Europe projects as such a partner and provides all related text for proposals. Contact us to discuss further.

Appropriate risk assessment is also critical to ensure successful project implementation and should include market and commercialization aspects. The risks regarding achieving the project impact should be identified, analyzed, and managed throughout the project. Additionally, each participant’s role and capacity in contributing to the impacts and Expected Outcomes should be clearly defined to alleviate the risk of overloading or underutilizing any of the participants.

Finally, the consortium's overall expertise is essential to successful project implementation and exploitation of project results. The proposal should demonstrate how the consortium's experience, knowledge, and skills add to the project's success. This will help to ensure that the project is completed efficiently, effectively, and successfully, while giving credibility to the project’s impacts being achievable.

In conclusion, the quality and efficiency of implementation are crucial components that evaluators meticulously review in a Horizon Europe proposal and should align tightly with the Impact Section. A well-defined work plan, appropriate risk assessment, and clearly defined roles and capacities of each participant that consider achieving the project’s impacts are essential. A strong consortium with the necessary expertise adds significant value to the project and can guarantee its successful implementation.

Conclusion

The Impact Section is a crucial component of the Horizon Europe proposal, as it highlights the impact the project will have on society, the environment, and business. With proper optimization, a strong Impact Section can secure funding for projects. However, it is essential to plan and execute the project carefully to make a real impact. The Impact Section should define clear objectives and impacts, explain how the project will contribute to the expected outcomes, provide a credible path to deliver innovation to the market, identify potential external partners, promote work during the grant period, and consider intellectual property and regulatory issues. As a result, a robust Impact Section can make a difference in receiving Horizon Europe funding.

How Linq Can Help

Linq Consulting and Management specializes in all areas of creating and managing successful proposals and projects, including developing solid Consortium Agreements. Our team of expert researchers, writers, and project managers can help with all aspects of proposals as well as sustainable project management after successful grant funding.


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 info@linq-consulting.com


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

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