All eligible proposals will be evaluated by independent experts supporting the European Commission or Executive Agencies. The evaluation procedure takes place either in a single or two-stage procedure and consists of several steps.
Step 1: Proposal eligibility check
In a first step the eligibility of the proposal is being checked. The basis for this purpose are the criteria, which are defined by the work programme of Horizon 2020 (Annex A and C) and by the work programme of the specific call. Additionally it will be checked whether the proposal generally corresponds to the topic of the call.
Step 2: Evaluation of the proposal
A Group of at least three, in some cases five or more experts is being assigned with the evaluation of the proposal. To make sure that the evaluation process is fair and free of conflicts of interest independent experts may be assigned as observers. The award criteria of the evaluation are excellence, impact, and quality and efficiency of implementation. Each of these criteria will be given scores of 0 to 5. The work programme defines the minimum thresholds, which have to be achieved. The evaluation process is split in three phases.
- Phase 1: Evaluation by each expert, who gives an individual evaluation report (IER) with comments and scores on every criterion.
- Phase 2: The experts form a consensus group and develop a common report with comments and scores (consensus report). If it is not possible to find a consensus, the report will represent the majority and the minority views.
- Phase 3: A panel, guided by a chairperson of a commission or executive agency staff, reviews all evaluated proposals of the call. In case of open questions, the applicants may be invited to a hearing. Finally the panel compiles the panel report, which provides also a table with the final scores (panel ranked list).
Step 3: Information on the outcome of the evaluation
The successful evaluation of proposals is based on the final ranked list and the available budget. An evaluation information letter will be sent to successful applicants. It invites to start the grant agreement preparation phase. Thus, the letter is not a commitment that the project will be funded. Rejected applicants will receive a proposal rejection letter, which concludes information on the redress procedure.
Some calls apply a two-stage submission and evaluation procedure. In this case a short-outline proposal has to be submitted in the first step, which will be reviewed by remote evaluation. If this comes to a positive result, the applicant is invited to submit a full proposal. This proposal will now pass the complete procedure with all three steps. In case it is successfully evaluated, an invitation to start the grant agreement preparation phase is being sent.