EIC Accelerator grant (SME Instrument Phase 2) evaluators are instructed to ignore certain content such as text which is placed in the wrong section or any information in Document 2 which has been placed to circumvent the page limit of Document 1.
For information on the required documents, view: Writing an EIC Accelerator Application: Microsoft Word vs. Adobe InDesign (SME Instrument Writing)
Still, the reviewing process is not entirely inflexible regarding the creative aspects (i.e. writing and design) and only enforces strict limitations on the page length of Document 1 and the document file sizes due to the automated processing. It is possible to place objects on the empty page margins (i.e. watermarks, logos, text, etc.), move sections around and even use font sizes below the requested 11 pt (i.e. for graphics or footnotes) without any negative repercussions regarding a successful grant award.
The same is true for individual sections such as the Work Packages which, according to the template, should be limited to max. half a page per work package (WP) but can use a full page for a single WP without it impacting the score.
The same goes for the grant proposal structure with respect to the sub-section positioning and specific questions since the reviewers will likely not use the template as a guide to read the proposal but only focus on the evaluation criteria (see: Using the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) to Improve Grant Proposal Writing).
As long as you adhere to the general sections and sub-sections of Document 1’s Section 1 (Excellence), Section 2 (Impact) and Section 3 (Implementation), any further structuring can be done creatively, provided the proposal is logical and comprehensive.
Deviations from the template are especially useful since every project is different (i.e. depth of explanation regarding underlying technologies, business models, government policies, clinical trials, etc.) and the questions asked in the general template might not directly apply to or neglect key parts of a specific project.
It is the responsibility of the professional writer or consultant to use the template only as a guide while the end result must be as comprehensive and convincing as possible, irrespective of how closely the template has been followed.
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These tips are not only useful for European startups, professional writers, consultants and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) but are generally recommended when writing a business plan or investor documents.
Deadlines: Post-Horizon 2020, the EIC Accelerator accepts Step 1 submissions now while the deadlines for the full applications (Step 2) under Horizon Europe are:
- Step 1 (short proposal)
- open now
- Step 2 (business plan)
- 1st cut-off: (early 2024)
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: -
- Step 3 (interview)
- 1st cut-off: -
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: January 29th to February 9th 2024 (extended again)
The Step 1 applications must be submitted weeks in advance of Step 2. The next EIC Accelerator cut-off for Step 2 (full proposal) can be found here. After Brexit, UK companies can still apply to the EIC Accelerator under Horizon Europe albeit with non-dilutive grant applications only - thereby excluding equity-financing.
Contact: You can reach out to us via this contact form to work with a professional consultant.
EU, UK & US Startups: Alternative financing options for EU, UK and US innovation startups are the EIC Pathfinder (combining Future and Emerging Technologies - FET Open & FET Proactive) with €4M per project, Thematic Priorities, European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), Innovate UK with £3M (for UK-companies only) as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants with $1M (for US-companies only).
Any more questions? View the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
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by Stephan Segler, PhD
Professional Grant Consultant at Segler Consulting
General information on the EIC Accelerator template, professional grant writing and how to prepare a successful application can be found in the following articles: