Horizon 2020 Grant Proposals

Horizon 2020: Maximising ‘impacts’ (2/3)

Part one here. Your Horizon 2020 grant proposal includes a solid set of impacts that demonstrates that you

Part one here.

Your Horizon 2020 grant proposal includes a solid set of impacts that demonstrates that you have thought beyond the expected impacts set out in the Work Programme? Then you will have increased your chances of success – provided you convince evaluators that you will be able to maximise these impacts. On behalf of the European Commission, evaluators will scrutinize proposals for strategies and activities aimed at achieving the best possible impacts from a Horizon 2020 project, from January 2021 a Horizon Europe project.


Delivering impact through dissemination and exploitation

Evaluators will check whether a proposal or grant agreement has a good dissemination and exploitation plan that covers


  • Dissemination: This refers to sharing results with stakeholders. You will need to share your results with the scientific community to enable scientific progress. But how will you reach out to end users, policy makers and other stakeholders? If your project delivers a technology that offers SMEs a competitive edge, who will you work with to target the right audience? Working with stakeholders to reach out to end users and policy makers is an effective dissemination approach.


  • Exploitation: The exploitation of project outcomes is crucial for maximising the benefits linked to innovation, new market opportunities and commercialisation. How can you make sure that your project outputs will be properly exploited? This is particularly important for Innovation Actions (AI) and Research and Innovation Actions (RIA). Evaluators will check that any intellectual property from Horizon 2020 projects will be protected and exploited. But they will look beyond commercialisation and consider issues such as a project’s contribution to policy-making.


Communication is key – before, during and after the project

Communicating your project throughout its life cycle including preparation is essential to maximise the impact of its outcomes. You need to communicate about the project, the activities involved, the expected outcomes and its benefits. Evaluators will watch out for a communication plan that sets out what audiences, including media and the wider public, communication efforts target and what and when communication activities will take place. Make sure you use European Commission platforms, such as CORDIS or Innovation Radar for communicating on research and innovation projects. You will also need to work with suitable partners to target, amplify and track your communication efforts.


Three tips for maximising impact

Follow these three tips and show Horizon 2020 evaluators how you will maximise the expected impacts and any further substantial benefits:


  • Analyse and engage with stakeholders. This enables you to target the right audiences and consider all parties that have a potential interest in your project, might be affected by it or even would like to see it fail. There are models for stakeholder analysis. A common approach is to map stakeholders according to interest and influence. This will show you who to reach out to and who to involve, to monitor or to bring on-board. Use this simple matrix for your stakeholder mapping. This analysis allows you to develop suitable engagement strategies:

  • Have a plan for exploiting and disseminating the results. For RIA, IA and SME-focused projects this plan is absolutely vital and needs to address the Open Access approach, data handling, IPR and how you will safeguard exploitation in terms of business models – see also articles 28 and 29 of the H2020 annotated model grant agreement. Will a new technology be licensed out, commercialised by project partners or exploited on the basis of a different business model? Failing to address commercial value could lead to a rejection of a proposal.


  • Partner with stakeholders on dissemination efforts. Your stakeholder analysis will have revealed which partners you need to engage with for dissemination and exploitation. There are numerous European associations you can work with to host dissemination events or reach your target audience. For example, if your project is about nanotechnology, you might want to engage with the Nanotechnology Industry Association and its pan-European membership. Partners like this are vital to maximise impact.


The right strategy for successful Horizon 2020 proposals

Persuade the European Commission evaluators that you will be able to maximise impacts from your H2020 project outputs. European Fund Management Consulting (EFMC) will support you in developing an excellent dissemination and exploitation plan.


Call us on (+372) 604 1400 or drop us an email at info@efmc.eu  for support tailored to your needs.