Horizon Europe - Latest Updates on the Implementation Strategy
UK Research & Innovation has made a summary on the new details of the Implementation Strategy for the new Horizon Europe programme. This following information is based on their views. According to UKRO, it seems that while many aspects of the strategy are based on the early "Orientations towards the Implementation Strategy of the Research and Innovation framework programme Horizon Europe" document and might not come as a surprise, there are some new and interesting details that have emerged only recently.
The Implementation Strategy is intended to be a living document and while the Commission does not intend to make it publicly available, an early draft confirms plans for the following things:
Work Programme and Calls – simpler and clearer calls and Work Programmes; more multi-annual topics to prevent applicants from missing out on funding opportunities; calls launched under European Partnerships (including current Public-Public Partnerships) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to appear on the Funding & Tenders Portal.
Evaluation and Submission – less information to be requested in the application form; management structures to be removed from evaluation criteria due to the fact that a limited number of models are used by applicants; maximum proposal length for collaborative projects to be reduced (maximum 50 pages); 'right to react' (rebuttal) pilot to be trialled in early years of Horizon Europe; anonymised first-stage submission to be piloted in several early calls; some changes to the evaluation criteria to be introduced (e.g. geographical balance to be taken into account for proposals with the same final score).
Corporate Model Grant Agreement – one model for all centrally-managed EU programmes, with specific provisions for Horizon Europe where necessary (e.g. IP rules); simpler mandatory formula to calculate actual personnel costs with no need for timesheets; possible further use of lump sums, based on the Horizon 2020 Lump Sum pilot; introduction of a quick-glance data sheet for projects; introduction of an online Annotated Grant Agreement (with basic and expert modes).
Dissemination and Exploitation – incentives for continued reporting on D&E after project's end date; greater focus on feedback to policy makers.
Data and Reporting – clearer links between project reporting and the scientific, economic and societal indicators of Horizon Europe (Key Impact Pathways); collecting more information on individual researchers participating in collaborative projects in part A of the proposal using unique identifiers (preference for ORCID iD).
Control Strategy – introduction of the Systems and Processes Audits (SPA), which can lead to a reduced audit burden for large and active beneficiaries; exploring the possibility of enhanced cross-reliance of audits and assessments.
The Commission is currently testing the SPA on some Horizon 2020 projects.
Digital transformation and Outreach – further improvements of the Funding & Tenders Portal, which will become a one-stop-shop for all centrally-managed EU programmes; setting up national support structures (National Contact Points).
International Cooperation – increased use of joint calls to strengthen international cooperation with non-EU countries; special feature for organisations from third countries to participate without the need to sign the grant agreement (Associated partners); improved validation process for international participants; better guidance for the implementation of calls requiring international participants.
UKRO understands that other elements of the Implementation Strategy include Gender and participation of organisations from the so-called 'Widening countries' which are not as active in the current EU Framework Programmes as others. In relation to the latter, the Commission is considering a new 'hop-on model' that would allow organisations from the relevant countries to join existing Horizon Europe consortia – this new feature would require additional evaluations of the new work packages and beneficiaries being added to the original projects, as they would receive additional funds.
The Implementation Strategy is being developed in parallel with the ongoing legislative process and the draft document also includes the provisional timelines for each part of the Strategy. It is expected that all elements related to implementation of the future programme will be in place by the end of the year.