The European Parliament’s committees on budgets and economic and monetary affairs have voted against taking money out of Horizon 2020 to pay for an EU investment fund.
In a vote on 20 April, the two committees voted for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposal to establish a European Fund for Strategic Investments (Efsi), but rejected his proposal to use €2.7 billion of Horizon 2020 funds to pay for it. Funding should instead be taken from the annual budgetary margins, until it reaches the required amount of €8 billion by 2022, according to the Parliament vote.
“We want to preserve Horizon 2020 as much as possible, which is why we want to use the budget margins, formed on an annual basis,” said José-Manuel Fernandes, the budget committee’s rapporteur for Efsi, at a press conference following the vote on 20 April.
Europe’s researchers have lobbied against Horizon 2020 cuts for months, arguing that a decrease in funding would undermine the continent’s strong research base. Research groups such as the European University Association have said that universities will struggle to access the Efsi funds because they are based on loans rather than grants, and only few universities are legally allowed to take loans.
Five Top Tips for Knockout Bid Submissions
- Appoint one person whose only job is to make sure everyone else does theirs! – It is vitally important for there to be someone who is ultimately responsible for the bid, through whom every action flows. A good bid leader will drive the bid forward and coordinate a submission delivered on time and on target. Pick a good organiser and a popular team member to whom people will respond.
- Ensure you have the right partners that will add value to the bid and have the right skills! – It’s rare for an individual to put together a large bid completely on their own. Utilise your team to build a wide-ranging team of specialists and your proposal will be completed with time to spare and resounding with confidence and knowledge
- Brief well and set clear deadlines! – There is a period of time at the start of a bid submission where you will brief your collaborators on what is required of them and how long they have to do it. Handle this well and it will pay dividends later! Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to divide the workload. I suggest that you begin by reading the invitation documents in detail and assigning each question, section or task to a department or individual. One way to kick-start an effective and well-informed working team is to hold a group session where everyone can be briefed together, and ideas and suggestions can be shared among you.
- Start a library (and keep it in good shape)! – Other than people a well written and well-tended content library is your greatest ally in preparing winning bids. BUT a bid comprising entirely of pre-written text is an impersonal and careless approach. A good content library if kept up to date with new and revised material, can contribute to as much as 80% of your bid, providing you and your team with more time to work on the essential and unique content that lies at the heart of every good submission.
- Don’t count the days. Make the days count! – Channel your energies at the right time. Your energy, enthusiasm, clarity and creativity will all fluctuate wildly during the bid writing process. If you use this natural ebb and flow to maximise your most productive periods, your bid will be better for it. Become adept at the art of timing and pacing and you’ll float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, not the other way round.
Keep an eye on progress and don’t be reluctant to send polite BUT persistent reminders as deadlines loom because when the bell goes your time is up, ready or not!
If you require bid writing support for commercial bids then please contact me at N.Arblaster@staffs.ac.uk or if you require support for research bids including Horizon2020 then contact the external projects team at firstname.lastname@example.org