Pan European Networks - Horizon 2020 - page 127

T
he average hit rate for proposals submitted under Horizon
2020 is reported to be approximately 6%, and even lower
for writers with limited experience. For SMEs especially,
this raises the question: why bother? Danish consultancy 1st Mile
has gained a strong reputation with an 80% hit rate for
applications submitted to Horizon 2020.
In other words, when 1st Mile writes the application, there is an
80% chance that the project will get funded. Once a potential
applicant contacts the company, the approach for 1st Mile is easy:
n
Make a thorough evaluation of the innovation and its
business potential;
n
Find a perfect match with a Horizon 2020 call;
n
Only agree to write applications with sufficient innovation
height, a compelling business case and a perfect match with a
call; and
n
Work on a partially success-dependent pricing model to show
confidence in the project.
CEO of 1st Mile Søren Houmøller, who has worked with European
and Danish funding programmes for the past 25 years, has strong
sentiments regarding commercial value creation on innovation. He
and his team prefer to work with only a few projects of strong
potential. To see the innovations actually succeed in the
marketplace is their driving force.
According to 1st Mile it is well worth bothering with Horizon 2020
grant applications, but only when the applicant has thorough
experience with writing applications or else hires external
expertise to do the job. The innovation itself is frequently well
understood by the applicant, who often has an in-depth
understanding of what the innovation does; however, they less
often have a clear picture of why that is relevant. For instance,
while it is of course relevant that a new medical device enables
faster detection of infections, it is the fact that this means that the
device can save lives and reduce hospital expenses by 75% that
is the interesting message that must be conveyed in an
application if it is to be granted funding by the Commission.
Another critical issue is that the business case must be
compelling if the application is to be successful. It is the
combination of a strong innovation and its business potential that
can truly create value and must stand out in any application for
funding. Applicants experience great added value by choosing 1st
Mile as authors of their applications because they, as external
consultants, are able to see an outside perspective, whereas the
applicants most often have difficulties shifting to such a view. For
evaluators to select an application for funding it is mission-critical
that they understand the value addition and impacts the
innovation entails. It is less important that they understand the
innovation itself.
1st Mile has discovered that hit rate, bandwidth and
competence are the three main reasons why applicants select
them to write their applications. Obviously, if a potential
applicant does not have the skills to write an application, the
probability of success is near zero. Bandwidth – the time and
resources required – is another main reason for choosing 1st
Mile as it is often better for the applicant to hire external
assistance than allocate internal resources.
The most important factor is hit rate, though: 80% beats 6%.
Søren Houmøller
CEO
1st Mile
te l :
+45 4044 6714
It’s all about hit rate and bandwidth for companies using external consultants to
write their Horizon 2020 applications
Success in Horizon 2020
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S I X
127
P R O F I L E
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y
CEO Søren Houmøller and his team at 1st Mile ensures an 80% hit rate
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