You’re preparing a grant application for a H2020 project as a coordinator? Setting-up a balanced consortium and finding complementary partners is a key aspect for the success of your proposal. In this post, you will find 5 tips for partner search, to help you expand and strengthen your network.
Criteria for a balanced consortium
The consortium’s capacity to reach the project’s objectives is a central evaluation criteria of your Horizon 2020 proposal. The eligibility criteria for H2020 projects stipulate that consortia have to be composed of at least 3 partners from 3 different Member States or Associated Countries. But in reality, more partners are often needed!
Horizon 2020 is a research and innovation programme which aims at boosting EU performance for competitivity, growth and employment. This is the reason why private organisations (i.e. non-academic, SMEs, industry…) are encouraged to take part in the programme. They will play distinct roles depending on the calls for proposals, for example:
- Participation to research activities,
- Implication as final users of technologies,
- Knowledge transfer,
- Training of PhD students etc.
On-line tools for partner search
To face this issue, the stakeholder organisations involved in the H2020 programme have created several on-line platforms to support consortium building. In general, these tools propose a double approach, with:
- a “partner search” section, for coordinators who need to strengthen their consortium;
- a “skills offer” section, for organisations willing to join a proposal.
You have to fill a project sheet or a form which will be submitted on-line. Try to be clear and precise, especially regarding the H2020 call topic you’re interested in, key words, sector, experience in EU projects, etc.
Here are a few on-line tools dedicated to partner search:
- The participant portal, the entry point of H2020 calls;
- The network of H2020 National Contact Points (for example, NCPs CaRE for the Environment challenge);
- Your national NCP;
- The Enterprise Europe Network, which gathers numerous technological partners.
Existing and on-going projects
A complementary approach: finding partners within the consortia of projects already funded by the EU, according to:
- The research and innovation area;
- The topic of the call;
- Key words (sector, technologies…);
- The type of structure.
Although this task may sound tedious, it can lead to good results: participants in on-going H2020 projects are more likely to prepare new proposals, particularly when their projects (and therefore, their funding) are coming to an end.
The complete list of EU-funded research projects (including their consortia) can be found on the Cordis website.
Info Days and Brokerage Events
Regularly, the European Commission and the National Contact Points organise Information Days on Horizon 2020 calls. Not only those events provide precious tips to prepare your project proposal, but also aim at bringing potential partners closer. In that context, networking sessions and individual meetings are often organised.
More specifically, B2B (business to business) and brokerage events are often organised in parallel of large conferences and fairs. They consist in bilateral business meetings between potential (and often industrial) partners. You can find the list of the main B2B events on the Enterprise Europe Network website.
The registration to this kind of events is free… but mandatory. They can be fully booked several weeks before they take place. So make sure to plan well ahead!
Your presentation matters!
A clear project fact sheet, a great project pitch for networking events, an attractive mailing to contact potential partners, etc.: all those elements count to make a good impression for a first contact. In particular, make sure that the project’s objectives, the specific skills you offer or search for, and the topic of the calls are clearly identified.
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