Horizon Europe General Rules

Horizon Europe published some preliminary work programmes, most of them related to COVID. They, like all other future work programmes, can be found on the Funding & Tenders Portal. Furthermore, the first version of general rules “WP13” were published that follow the rules of Horizon 2020 – with some “small print” changes:

Gender Equality takes a specific, important role in Horizon Europe. Public institutions, Higher Education as well as research institutions must show a “gender equality plan” as eligibility criterion. Furthermore, when evaluated proposals have a tied score, they may be prioritized according to H2020 rules: 1. coverage of all (sub)topics, 2. higher score in sub-criteria excellence and impact (impact first for Innovation Actions). But at the third place for prioritization, there is gender equality among the staff of the beneficiaries, as described in the application. This raises some questions to the author: Does it mean real and true gender equality (50:50) that would propel a tied scored proposal higher, or should it be read as “gender bias”: the more women, the better? And what about the not yet documented cases of transgender staff? As often, such well meant rules raise a lot more questions than they solve…

Another new issue refers to the redress procedure, if an applicant is unhappy with the evaluation of the proposal: “Only the procedural aspects of an evaluation may be the subject of a request for an evaluation review. The evaluation of the merits of a proposal will not be the subject of an evaluation review”. So, no more fear that a wrong formulation of the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) can lead to unwelcome complaints.

The first version of the Model Grant Agreement shows also an interesting new aspect: The financing institution (in most cases, probably the European Commission) can carry out an “impact evaluation” during but also after the project, depending on the Grant Agreement, to check how far impact promises were implemented in reality.

Last but not least: Application forms (Part B) are limited to 45 pages, 30 pages for CSAs. Only the new “Programme Co-fund action” is allowed 70 pages. So train yourself in clear & concise drafting before the first Calls are published!

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