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Don’t let disheartening success rates put you off Horizon 2020

However gloomy Horizon 2020 success rates can seem, winning is possible if you have an excellent scientific idea and a good grasp of the evaluation process, says Seán McCarthy, who designs training courses for European researchers.

Séan’s top tips

  • Pay more heed to ‘real’ success rates based on high-quality proposals. Official Commission figures should no longer count all eligible proposals.
  • Internal research support services at institutions must screen for weak proposals and only continue with high-quality bids.
  • In a competitive proposal you have to sell your research idea to evaluators, so get acquainted with evaluators and evaluation processes: attend training or become an evaluator yourself.

A recent evaluation of Horizon 2020, with its budget of €77 billion for multiple research programmes, suggests a discouraging overall success rate of just 11 per cent.

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