Finding, securing and claiming Horizon Europe funding

Horizon Europe is the world’s largest research and innovation programme with a budget of over £80bn to be allocated between 2021 and 2027.

Along with a number of other countries such as Canada, New Zealand and South Korea, the UK has associated to this programme. That means UK organisations are fully eligible to apply for funding through the published competitions and, if successful, will be funded by the EU for their activities.

On 21st May the NEAA hosted a Horizon Europe Funding webinar in partnership with Horizon Europe UK National Contact Point for Mobility at Innovate UK, Louise Mothersole and Fawzi Abou-Chahine, Grant Funding Director at NEAA member FI Group. This focussed on the current and future opportunities of domestic and European funding, whilst offering practical advice on how to obtain this.

As Louise explained: “Although the UK is no longer part of the European Union, the UK still has access to Horizon Europe funding, and UK organisations are fully eligible to apply for funding through the published competitions. If successful, they will be funded by the EU for their activities.”

With funding available for SMEs, such as the “Pump Priming” scheme that pays an upfront grant of £6,000 to eligible businesses to contribute towards travel costs to meet with potential consortia and partners and attend events, the time is now to get involved.

However, securing a slice of this sizeable funding pie requires strategy and precision. Navigating the complexities of the Horizon funding framework can be daunting and off-putting to those new to the competition. The webinar smoothly guided attendees through the intricate maze of pillars, clusters, and destinations, emphasising the importance of identifying the right topic or competition.

“Within the destination is a call for proposals, and within that call will be a number of topics – that’s where the competition lies,” Louise said. As the UK’s contact point, Louise is always available to help guide and advise anyone looking to take advantage of these exciting opportunities available to UK businesses.

Joining Louise was Fawzi Abou-Chahine, Grant Funding Director at FI Group, a global consultancy business. Fawzi offered invaluable practical advice for navigating the application process, stressing the need for a robust business case and a cohesive consortium. He advised that “Checking your project meets the scope, identifying the right competition, ensuring you have the right partners and writing with one voice before submission” are essential to a successful application, whether you are seeking to secure domestic or Horizon funding. Putting together the right consortium that complements and covers all aspects of the call is also a critical success factor.

“If you’ve not done Horizon Europe before, don’t try to be the coordinator. Instead, find an existing consortium with a “YOU” shaped missing piece you can fit into,” Fawzi recommended and suggested resources like the Cordis database to identify potential partners with proven track records.

The webinar highlighted that tapping into Horizon Europe’s vast potential requires careful navigation and strategic collaboration but for those willing to embrace the challenge, the rewards could be transformative – unlocking horizons of innovation and propelling businesses to new heights of success.

A recording of the session can be viewed at: