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“Engaging in Horizon Europe projects: What’s first?” was organised in the context of Fit4NMP, a support action funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme to increase the participation of talented newcomers from underrepresented regions in the Horizon Europe programme in the fields of nanotechnologies, advanced materials, and new manufacturing processes (NMP). More than 20 participants, most of which represented Luxembourg organisations that are new to the Horizon Europe programme, joined the event to listen to inspiring stories and relevant tips for a successful participation.

The first steps for Horizon Europe newcomers

Joining the rather complex process of applying for Horizon Europe funding for the first time can be a daunting experience. However, Luxembourg organisations do not have to do it all alone. One of the key missions of the National Contact Point team for Horizon Europe is to support and guide applicants all the way through the process.

“We always recommend organisations interested in exploring Horizon Europe to start by drawing up a roadmap of the topics that they are interested in and their strategic actions that they would consider moving forward through cooperation with an international partnership,” says Francisco Melo, EU R&D Advisor at Luxinnovation.

As a next step, the Luxinnovation team is there to help them start looking for relevant calls for proposals and identify potentially interesting consortia.

Mr Melo opened the event by introducing the Horizon Europe programme and its main features. He also provided an overview of how to start, develop and submit a project proposal.

In order to provide a first concrete idea of how to proceed with a funding application, Giles Brandon, Managing director at Intelligentsia Consultants, took the participants through the structure and organisation of the Horizon Europe proposal template. He focused on the three main sections about the excellence of the work to be performed within the project, the impact that the project outcomes are foreseen to have and the implementation plans for the project. “Only consortia that provide high-quality input in these sections of the application will be considered for funding,” he pointed out.

Case studies

Two company representatives also provided input to the workshop. Luxembourg-based Intrasoft International has a long and successful history of being involved in EU-funded projects. Senior Project Manager Flavien Massi explained how lead applicants process the incorporation of newcomer organisations in their Horizon Europe project proposals and provided some examples of projects including newcomers that worked particularly well. Stavros Theofanidis, CTO and Co-owner at Aristeng, presented the journey of his company from taking its first steps as a start-up to being deeply involved in European projects. “There are three key elements for being successful: building up a good network, establishing links with universities and keeping track of the opening of new calls for proposals,” he explained.

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