Rules of participation & proposal procedure

In principle, all natural and legal persons can be participants in Horizon Europe. Depending on the part of the programme, further conditions or restrictions will apply. Cooperation projects require at least three independent institutions from three different EU Member States or Associated Countries (see below), including at least one institution from an EU Member State. The participation of an institution from an EU Member State or Associated Country is required for individual measures such as certain Grants from the European Research Council (ERC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). Please refer to the respective Work Programmes for more information on the conditions.

Only institutions with registered offices in one of the following states can receive funding:

  • EU Member States
  • States that have concluded an Association Agreement with the EU to participate in the programme, referred to as Associated Countries
  • Low-income and middle-income countries

A list of eligible States will be provided by the European Commission with the publication of the Work Programme. Funding for institutions from other countries not mentioned here may also be considered in exceptional cases if this is explicitly stated in the respective Call.

The type and amount of funding is defined in the respective Work Programme and in the Call itself. For example, non-profit institutions such as universities and public research institutions receive funding of 100% of their eligible direct costs and a flat rate of 25% of the reimbursed direct costs to cover the indirect costs. This applies for the "Research and Innovation Action" and "Innovation Action" project types. In the case of profit-oriented institutions, only 70% of the respective direct costs, as well as a 25% flat rate for indirect costs will be reimbursed in "Innovation Actions". On the other hand, in projects of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and in calls for which lump-sum funding is envisaged, funding is provided in the form of lump sums per researcher month or per completed work package.

Project proposals can only be submitted in Horizon Europe in response to corresponding calls. The Calls for proposals are published in annual or multi-annual Work Programmes, which contain, among other things, the thematic and structural specifications, the respective dates for opening and closing the Calls, the evaluation criteria and information on the planned budget. The respective Work Programmes will be updated regularly during the term of a Framework Programme.

Work programmes and individual Calls are published by the European Commission via the Funding & Tenders Portal. Applications can also be submitted via this portal, in one-stage or two-stage procedures. In the one-stage procedure, a full proposal must be submitted within the specified deadline for submission. In the two-stage procedure, a project outline is submitted in the first stage and only in the event of a positive review are applicants invited in the second stage to submit a full proposal.

Independent experts assist in the evaluation of the submitted proposals during a peer-review process consisting of various phases. The reviewers assess the applications according to the central criteria and then award points. Depending on the budget situation, the highest-rated project proposal(s) will then receive approval. The European Commission is constantly looking for experts in the various fields for its peer review procedures and offers an application for this via the Funding & Tenders Portal.

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