Horizon Europe: 3 tips for the blind evaluation in 2024
Our Horizon Europe experts have shared their 3 top tips to navigate the new Horizon Europe blind evaluation. In 2024, Horizon Europe Stage 1 proposals will continue to follow the blind evaluation pilot format, so it is crucial you are well aware of how to navigate this before submitting your application.
Horizon Europe’s ‘blind evaluation pilot’
In 2023, the European Commission introduced the ‘blind evaluation pilot’ in which evaluators are unaware of the identity of applicants to Horizon Europe calls. The purpose of this is to remove any real or potential bias towards applicants and their country of origin in the funding allocation process, thus guaranteeing a level playing field among applicants. In practice it means you are not allowed to disclose organisation names, acronyms, logos nor names of personnel. In addition, it should not be possible to indirectly identify the names of applicants or their organisations.
The pilot is only applicable to Stage 1 proposals, and specifically to part B of the proposal. You will still need to list all the partners in part A in the portal, however, evaluators will not receive part A in the Stage 1 evaluation process. Before the official evaluation process on the content of your proposal is initiated, there is an additional eligibility check. The proposal will be declared inadmissible if anonymity is not respected. It is therefore essential to strike a careful balance between following the anonymity rule, while still highlighting your consortium’s unique capacity to address the call requirements.
3 tips to address the blind evaluation
The following tips may help you to address this complicated challenge:
- Be extra vigilant in specific high risk sections.
There are a number of ‘risky’ sections in a Horizon application with regards to the rules on anonymity. In section 1.2, you are asked to highlight the previous concepts, models and data generated that your current proposal is built upon, which normally provides the ideal opportunity to highlight your own achievements.
The same applies to the section on related research and innovation projects, where you have the opportunity to showcase your previous projects and key collaborations. However, these sections present a serious risk for breaching the blinded evaluation guidelines. Be very critical, and try out different ways of phrasing your responses here to avoid any issues and comply with the pilot rules.
- Include an additional review by an external person in your process.
Many applicants already ask colleagues or consultants to review their proposal for comprehensibility, content, grammar and spelling. To succeed in the blind evaluation process, it will be important to include an additional review with the sole focus of identifiability of any of the partners. Make sure to choose an individual who is really external, so they do not know any of the consortium members.
You can schedule this review in the last week before the deadline, once the content is fixed. Since the required adaptations to ensure anonymity will be minimal (rephrasing specific sentences), it is feasible to do this in a short span of time.
- Maintain the richness of your value proposition.
Although it is extremely important to adhere to the guidelines, you also want to avoid making your proposal too anonymous. For example, evaluators will still want to know how many organisations are included in your consortium and that the required disciplinary expertise is present. Do not be afraid to highlight the inclusion of a SME in the consortium, especially if this is named in the call text. Since there are more than 24 million SMEs in the European Union in 2023, this will not disclose any information that could harm the anonymity of your proposal.
There are also many ways to highlight the diverse expertise of the partners without running the risk of the proposal being declared inadmissible. At Catalyze, we can support you in improving and restructuring the text to maintain the richness of your value proposition.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are interested in our expertise and support.
Download our Horizon Europe Guide
There’s a lot to take into consideration when applying for Horizon Europe funding: budget, consortium partners, application processes, activities, and specific conditions. Our Horizon Europe Guide gives you insights on how to write an appealing proposal, gives all the success criteria and maximizes your chances of getting funded.
Horizon Europe success story: TETTRIs
“TETTRIs is a turning point for the taxonomy community gathered around CETAF, the unique association in Europe focused on taxonomy and systematics.” – Ana Casino, Executive Director of CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities), and Project Technical Coordinator of TETTRIs
A crucial building block for taxonomy
TETTRIs was awarded ~€6 million from Horizon Europe’s Cluster 6 call and is a crucial building block for the future of taxonomy, offering a roadmap for its transformation and ensuring sustainability for the future.
“Catalyze’s support was instrumental”
“Catalyze’s support helped us to identify how all our ideas for the project fitted together, and could be merged towards a meaningful proposal. I think the whole TETTRIs consortium is aware that Catalyze’s support was instrumental to produce a successful proposal. So I think everyone was delighted with the effectiveness of the collaboration.” – Ana Casino, Executive Director of CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities), and Project Technical Coordinator of TETTRIs
Horizon Europe: Further reading