FP7 Call Frustrations – Now What?

Recently, another FP7-ICT call was concluded with the evaluation, rating and ranking of numerous project proposals. Most of the proposal submitters found themselves seriously frustrated: they lost lots of time and resources – at the end for nothing.

A success rate of around 10% has become normal nowadays when submitting a proposal to FP7. However, it is clear that a success rate of 10% does not mean that 90% of the proposals were bad, neither useful nor well-though project ideas.

The question for many proposers is now what to do with a non-accepted proposal; throw it to the bin or try to save the idea and submit it somewhere else? Well, the question is not so easy to answer. Mostly it depends on how much a proposer has been engaged in the proposal and how much he wants his idea to become realised.

If the proposer and, at least, parts of the consortium would like to follow on with the idea, the alternative submission to a EUREKA cluster could be a worthwhile idea. EUREKA clusters are also partly funded by public money, in a way similar to FP7 proposals. If the proposer considers some few additional aspects and requirements specific to EUREKA clusters, like Celtic-Plus, the success rate can become much higher, typically around 70%, to realise the project.

In Celtic-Plus we made several very positive experiences with such re-submissions of former FP7 proposals to Celtic-Plus. Many of them became even very successful and awarded projects with lots of impact on future business and society. The possibility to re-submit a proposal to Celtic-Plus is a very valid consideration. However, to become successful here, some additional aspects and requirements must be fulfilled. One big advantage of Celtic-Plus is its bottom-up, industry-driven approach, which means that your project must not follow certain defined objectives but must only fit within the research framework of Celtic-Plus as defined in its Purple Book. A call is open every six months.

While in FP7 the composition of the consortium and involved countries is of no or little importance this is much more critical in Celtic-Plus. Even though many European countries provide, sometimes substantial funding, several others do only provide little or no funding at all. The first step when reconsidering your proposal must therefore be the assessment of your current consortium by investigating the countries which will provide funding and those not. A rebuilding of the consortium with some equivalent partners from better funded countries is often unavoidable.

Another difference to FP7 is the proactive investigation of all consortium partners with their funding representatives from the involved countries to find out the possibilities, interest and conditions for public funding of a Celtic-Plus project.

Once these investigations have led to a positive result, a revision of the former FP7 proposal, adjusted to the country-specific conditions, could be seriously considered, and then the proposal may have a good chance to succeed.

Many still think that it is too cumbersome to go for EUREKA money because it requires more active engagement from the project participants. In a way this is true, and it is also true that each country decides on its own, if funding will be granted or not, and it may also take some additional time and effort until the complete project consortium is up and running. On the other hand a Celtic-Plus project can be managed much more flexibly and with considerably less administrative effort than FP7 projects.

The alternative to Celtic-Plus could, of course, still be to consider another FP7 call and try again your 10% chance or – too bad – to throw your proposal to the bin and forget about it.

By the way: the next Celtic-Plus call closes on 14 October 2013.

Heinz Brüggemann

Director Celtic Office (www.celticplus.eu)

Celtic-Plus is operated by Eurescom GmbH, Heidelberg

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