How to land a Horizon 2020 EU project

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, Smart Innovation Norway 8. August 2017

Smart Innovation Norway has landed seven EU funded research and innovation projects in two years. What is the reason behind this success?

“Hard work, high prize”.

These are the words of Smart Innovation Norway’s Coordinator of Research and Innovation, Heidi Tuiskula, the woman who has been responsible for writing the company’s EU project proposals for the past two years.

A brilliant idea

Her success rate? 100 percent. Smart innovation Norway (SIN) has received funding for every application she has prepared for the European Commission.

“The most important part of the proposal is a brilliant idea fitting to the work program. Without it, one cannot win”, reveals Tuiskula.

In addition, she stresses the need for a consortium with all the necessary competencies, a solid work plan, a budget that is proportional to the work planned, and finally, motivation for your project.

“All this should be wrapped up within a sales document, a.k.a. proposal, which cannot be ignored”, Tuiskula settles.

Seven projects in two years

As coordinator, SIN has won two Horizon 2020 projects (EMPOWER and INVADE) and two ERA-Net projects (IMPROSUME and E-REGIO).

As a partner, SIN has won two Horizon 2020 projects (PERMIDES and RESOLVD), one ERA-Net project (MATCH), one FP7 project (Smart Rural Grid), and one JU ECSEL project (SCOTT).

“These records are between 2010 and 2017, thus we have won nine projects in seven years, from which seven have been obtained after 2015”, Tuiskula points out.

Heidi Tuiskula. SMART INNOVATION NORWAY

Determined approach

There is no doubt the competition is high. In fact, the overall success rate of eligible full proposals is around 14 percent for Horizon 2020 (EU’s current Research and Innovation funding programme) projects, and around 20 percent for the whole of FP7 (EU’s Research and Innovation funding programme for 2007-2013).

“I would say our success rate is an excellent result of determined approach and work towards being recognized as a top research institution within the ongoing energy revolution”, Tuiskula emphasizes.


To apply for funding, you need to:

  • find a live funding call
  • find partners to form a consortium
  • register on the European Commission Participant Portal
  • read the online manual, which includes step-by-step instructions on preparing your proposal
  • submit your proposal via the portal by the stated deadline

Once you have submitted your proposal the European Commission will check that you are eligible. A panel of independent experts will then assess your proposal. There are standard evaluation criteria, although this can vary for each funding scheme.

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