Participating in Horizon Europe
These notes are supplemental to the official Horizon Europe documentation on how to participate and are offered as guidance specific to Imperial College London. Contact the relevant Research Services Manager and team for your school or Faculty for all questions relating to the eligibility of costs and Worktribe proposal development.
Finding an opportunity and building a consortium
All Horizon Europe funding opportunities are published on the Funding and Tenders Portal which offers a search by keyword, call, programme part, along with a partner search and an online manual. Limit the search to Horizon Europe by first selecting “Programming period: 2021-2027” and “Programme: Horizon Europe” in the left-hand side menu. You can also use the checkboxes to search for only calls that are currently open or are due to open shortly.
The individual topic page includes deadline dates, available budget, action type, topic and destination description, conditions and documents (Work Programme, template application and evaluation forms), and a link to the online submission system.
The UKRO Factsheets (subscriber access) on “Preparing and Submitting a proposal” offer useful advice. As a subscriber organisation to UKRO, anyone with an Imperial College London email address who has registered a profile with UKRO can access the factsheets: Building a consortium; Applying for funding; Evaluation of proposals; Legal and financial basics.
Review the College’s pages for preparing a proposal.
All proposals are submitted online by the organisation leading the proposal (Coordinator) who will provide each participating organisation (Beneficiary) access by inputting each organisation’s unique Participant Identity Code (PIC) into the proposal form fields. The Coordinator will complete online, with the assistance and access of the participating organisations, the relevant content for the proposal.
As a multi-year participant in EU research projects, Imperial has completed all necessary steps for organisation registration. Organisation information necessary at the proposal stage is the validated PIC (999993468) and organisation legal name: Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. Do not use any other PIC that you may find for Imperial College London online as those are invalid. Review our Guide to Horizon Europe Part A proposal form.pdf for step-by-step images of other elements of the proposal form.
Any Principal Investigator who wishes to participate in a Horizon Europe project must register individually for an EU Login account to be able to access the proposal system.
The following people must be given roles in any proposal which uses Imperial’s PIC:
• Principal Investigator (Main Contact)
• The Research Services Manager for the relevant Faculty or School (Contact Person). Each RSM already holds an EU Login account for access to any proposal to which they are identified as a Contact Person.
The Coordinator has sole functionality to submit the proposal directly to the European Commission for evaluation. Differently to applications to UK research council and other funders, there is no participating organisation institutional e-submission approval or alert. The Coordinator must affirm in the proposal form that it has obtained the consent of the participants to the proposal. Imperial Principal Investigators must obtain internal Faculty approval for proposal participation prior to affirming this consent to a Coordinator.
All Imperial proposals to Horizon Europe must be approved on Worktribe. Principal Investigators must follow proposal development and approval practices for the College and timelines for their Faculty or School.
If you wish for Imperial to act as Coordinator of a multi-party collaborative project, you must discuss in the first instance with the Research Services Manager for your Faculty or School who can advise you on what Faculty approvals may be needed.
Types of action and funding rates
Each topic page will specify the available action (project) type for the topic. The main action types in which Imperial participates are listed below and the funding rate for non-profit legal entities such as Imperial is 100% eligible direct costs and 25% indirect costs. (*other entity types are funded at 70% direct costs in IA). (**The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and the European Research Council use their own action types and funding rates.)
Research and Innovation actions (RIA) ‘Traditional’ multi-national, multi-partner collaborative research and innovation projects
Innovation actions (IA) Actions which might include limited research and development activities but where the main focus is on innovation, including new or improved products, processes or services
Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) ‘Traditional’ multi-national, multi-partner support actions or accompanying measures. CSAs do not provide funding for the actual research costs but for example for co-ordination of research policies, networking activities or, in some cases, studies and events
For RIA and IA, unless otherwise provided for in the call conditions, the standard minimum requirements for eligible consortia are the inclusion of at least one legal entity established in a Member State of the EU, and at least two other independent legal entities each established either in a different Member State (MS) or an Associated Country (AC). A CSA may be submitted by one or more legal entities, which may be established in a Member State of the EU, Associated Country, or in exceptional cases and if provided for in the specific call conditions, in a third country. This means that a single legal entity from the UK would be eligible to apply to a CSA.
Many Horizon Europe schemes (for example MSCA, ERC, EIC) have specific consortium composition conditions outside of those listed above. These will be stated in the relevant Work Programme and call conditions on the Funding & Tenders Portal.
Horizon Europe proposals are evaluated on three criteria: Excellence, Impact and Implementation which are given equal weighting (other than in ‘Innovation Actions’, where the Impact criterion is weighted at 1.5). In some topics, additional criteria or higher thresholds can apply. In MSCA and ERC selected or other criteria are applied.
The conditions for dealing with ex aequo proposals may include the following criteria:
• The extent to which the proposals address aspects of the call;
• Score awarded for Excellence. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for Impact. In the case of Innovation Actions, the score for Impact always prevails;
• Gender balance among the personnel named in the proposal who will be primarily responsible for carrying out the project;
• If necessary, any further prioritisation will be based on geographical diversity (new) or other factors related to the objectives of the call, or to Horizon Europe in general. These may include, for example, enhancing the quality of the project portfolio through synergies between projects or, where relevant and feasible, involving SMEs.
The quality of the project’s Open Science practices will be evaluated in the proposal under the Excellence and Implementation criteria (proposal Part B sections 1 and 2).
Open Access Beneficiaries must ensure immediate open access to peer-reviewed scientific publications (ie no later than the publication date) through trusted repositories and must retain sufficient intellectual property rights to comply with open access requirements. Publication can be made in any suitable venue but only the publication fees in full open access venues for peer-reviewed scientific publications will be eligible for reimbursement from the grant. To assist beneficiaries with Horizon Europe Open Science requirements the Commission launched a no-cost, full open-access, peer-reviewed publishing service Open Research Europe.
Research data management Beneficiaries must include a Data Management Plan (DMP) for FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) research data. Data sharing must be as 'open as possible, as closed as necessary'. DMPs will need to be delivered within the first six months of the project start date. Beneficiaries must deposit research data in a trusted repository and ensure open access through the repository, as soon as possible and within the deadlines set out in the DMP.
The call conditions may specify additional Open Science requirements including public emergency conditions and use of or federation of the repository with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).
Review the College’s open access and research data management resources and policies including Imperial’s trusted repository Spiral.
Review the Horizon Europe Programme Guide and the Annotated Model Grant Agreement for further guidance. Review the UKRO factsheet summary of Open Science in Horizon Europe.
Gender Equality and Inclusiveness
Gender equality is a horizontal priority running through all parts of Horizon Europe. Applicants must address Gender Equality (gender balance in the research teams and the gender dimension of project research content). Any applicable gender dimension of the research is evaluated in the proposal under the Excellence criterion (proposal Part B section 1). Gender balance among researchers involved in projects will be considered as a ranking criterion for ex aequo proposals.
To be eligible to participate in a Horizon Europe project, organisations such as Imperial must affirm in the Part A of the proposal form that we hold a Gender Equality Plan. Imperial meets the European Commission’s Horizon Europe requirements for an organisational Gender Equality Plan (GEP) through our Athena Swan work and action plan. Imperial was a founder member of the Charter in 2005 and currently holds a Silver award. Our Athena Swan work is supported through the College Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre and takes place in the wider framework of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. The College also has a range of activities focused on closing our Gender Pay Gap.
Ethics and Integrity
Every proposal must complete an Ethics Self-assessment (proposal Part A Ethics Issue Table). If the proposal affirms the existence of any issues in the table, the applicants must elucidate in the proposal form and any additional supporting documents. Refer to the Commission’s How to complete your ethics self-assessment guide to complete the table.
All proposals above threshold and considered for funding will undergo an Ethics Review carried out by independent ethics experts. The Ethics Review Procedure focusses on the compliance with ethical rules and standards, relevant European legislation, international conventions and declarations, national authorisations and ethics approvals, proportionality of the research methods and the applicants' awareness of the ethical aspects and social impact of their planned research. If the Ethics Review deems the content in the proposal insufficient there can be delay to the signature of the Grant Agreement.
Although management of ethics issues is not explicitly evaluated cross-cutting issues such as ethics and integrity are relevant to the quality of the project implementation. Adequate resources and planning for management of ethical issues should be considered in project implementation.
Review the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.
Activities carried out under Horizon Europe must comply with applicable security rules and rules on the protection of classified information against unauthorised disclosure.
Security issues are systematically checked in all Horizon Europe proposals starting with a self-assessment in the proposal form (proposal Part A section 5). The proposal must complete a Security Issues Table with Yes/No responses to questions asked and a form field for further content. The researcher completing the proposal must complete the table based on his or her own knowledge of the proposal content and applicable law and regulations.
The UK is a non-EU country for the purposes of the questions in the Security Issues Table therefore any proposal incorporating UK beneficiaries will need to tick 'yes' to 'research undertaken outside of the EU'. There is an agreement between UK and EU in security of info matters (Security Issues Table question “Do the non-EU countries concerned have a security of information agreement with the EU”). If there are no security issues present in your proposal, no further content need be given in the form field section.
The self-assessment checks may trigger further scrutiny for those projects deemed to include classified or security sensitive information. This content does not count towards the evaluation score but will be material should the proposal be positively evaluated and invited to negotiate a Grant Agreement.
Review the College’s Research Codes of Practice for a discussion of issues which may restrict research by operation of law or Imperial standards.
Dissemination and Exploitation of research results
The project’s ability to achieve the Impact described in the call is an evaluation criterion (proposal Part B section 2). The suitability and quality of the measures to maximise expected outcomes and impacts, as set out in the dissemination and exploitation plan, including communication activities, are evaluated.
Beneficiaries must disseminate and exploit the project results. Dissemination means public disclosure by appropriate means (other than resulting from protecting or exploiting the results), including by scientific publications in any medium. Exploitation means use of results in further research and innovation activities other than those covered by the action concerned, including commercial exploitation such as developing, creating, manufacturing and marketing a product or process, creating and providing a service, or in standardisation activities.
The project must submit a detailed plan within six (6) months of Grant Agreement signature. Unless otherwise specified in the proposal form, the proposal should provide a strategy and impact pathways summary (proposal Part B section 2.2). Obligations persists up to four years after the end of the project. The strategy should therefore anticipate the obligations and costs associated with any activities continuing post project (eg maintaining a website).
If the beneficiary does not exploit the results within a year of the project end, the beneficiary must use the Commission’s own Horizon Results Platform to publicise the exploitable results. The Commission offers initiatives such as the Horizon Results Booster and Innovation Radar to support post project D&E efforts.
Contact the EU team for guidance on Grant Agreement terms and Imperial IP policies prior to discussion of ownership of project results.
Review the Horizon Europe Programme Guide and the Annotated Model Grant Agreement for further guidance. Review the UKRO summary of dissemination and exploitation in Horizon Europe.
You are welcome to contact us in the EU Team with questions about Horizon Europe. Any questions about the eligibility of costs, proposal and Worktribe approval, and questions on grant management should be directed to the Research Services Manager and team for your Faculty or School.
Imperial is a subscriber to the UK Research Office (UKRO) in Brussels. Amongst the benefits, Imperial staff can register to receive UKRO’s email updates on Horizon Europe and European research news and opportunities. You can choose both the topics and the frequency of receipt of these emails which are a useful tool for keeping up to date with developments in your area.
National Contact Points (NCPs) offer information and guidance on many areas of Horizon Europe funding. For the UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Global Alliance and Innovate UK offer UK NCP services for many areas of Horizon Europe Pillar 2 (Global Challenges and Industrial Competitiveness). Contact the NCP for your areas of interest and sign up to their email distribution lists for news and events. UKRO is the UK's National Contact Point for MSCA and ERC.