A Beginner's Guide to EU funding| Violeta Martin Gil
EU Grant funding schemes are a great opportunity to reduce the risk of your innovation pathway and overcome the financing gap for SMEs to bring to market your innovation. EU funding has a wide range of calls, however, the navigation portal is not particularly user-friendly, and the legal jargon is discouraging. Here, we would like to highlight 10 easy tips to consider when selecting a grant scheme which optimally adapts to your needs, and when putting together a successful proposal.
1. Determine your initial Technological Readiness Level (TRL).
You will need to evaluate the state of your innovation in the time of the grant submission, and your capacity to reach your upcoming goals. The answers will determine which kind of grant programs best cater to your needs in terms of focus and time scale.
2. Determine your forthcoming TRL.
Establish the goal you want to achieve (i.e. proof of concept, prototyping, validation etc.) after project completion. It is important to design the project scope and to check if the grant aligns with your project goals.
3. Identify your partners.
You will need to check your network. It is a great opportunity to bolster new or existing partnerships. Although grants exist for just one applicant, there are also opportunities for consortium schemes which allow you the chance to expand your network and competencies. Try to balance the expertise of your consortium. For example, if you want to develop new healthcare applications, you might need software competencies as well as medical ones.
4. Evaluate the status of your company.
Check the category of your company regarding EU regulation. Most calls are intended for SMEs or start-ups, or you will need SME partners. Here is the SME definition by the European Commission.
5. Select your call through the EU tender portal.
Check the aims and scope of different grants. Take your time and select the grant which caters to the needs identified above.
6. Pre-evaluate your proposal regarding financials.
Before getting started writing your proposal, it is important to familiarise yourself with the financial requirements of the call to see if it aligns with your financial condition. Find out how much co-financing is required from your side and take into consideration the implications that VAT is not an eligible cost. Pay attention to the structure of applicable costs, grant projects have loads of specifics and you do not want to find out about them too late. Overall, the grant project should involve some activities that you would be willing to finance regardless of grant support.
7. Approach the project as a business plan.
It will help you to leverage the project beyond the grant program. You will be able to use it and adapt it to different scenarios: start up and innovation contests, internal fundraising, strategic R&D partnerships, etc.
8. Place your team in the limelight.
This is the opportunity to showcase your team’s track record. EU grant schemes usually include a gender perspective section, hence pay special attention to gender balance. Male- or female-only teams are not a good look.
9. Highlight the impact.
Acknowledge that the impact of your innovation matters just as much as the innovation itself. You need to have an idea about the market opportunity you are trying to address and provide a detailed description of your customers. Moreover, any pre-orders or letters of intent significantly strengthen your case and give it more credibility.
10. Amplify the public.
Think about project dissemination, as well as bringing your innovation to the relevant stakeholders and the general public. Open Access materials and dissemination activities are a key component for EU grants.
Hopefully with these tips, you will be more confident about writing your proposal. Try to write it as clearly and concisely as possible. And last but not least, do not underestimate the power of visuals and make sure you have the document proofread. Our team has extensive experience in this field, so contact us and we can discuss your possibilities, and assist you during the process.
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