Practical insights into Horizon Europe partner search

This article explores the benefits of finding the best project partners, presents a couple of Horizon Europe partner search tools that can help you in your search and describes the necessary steps to create a solid partner profile.

Written by Institute of Entrepreneurship Development

Collaborative projects play a significant role in the Horizon Europe programme. Setting aside the significance of having a good idea for an EU research project, Horizon Europe partner search constitutes an equally important step. The truth is that good partners are integral in collaborative projects, and carefully selecting them will set your consortium for success. For this reason, organisations interested in getting EU funds should invest more in establishing good Horizon Europe partnerships for their consortia during the preparation phase.

Note: Most Horizon Europe calls have a detailed description of the partners’ eligibility criteria. For instance, you should look for diversity in disciplines, geographical location, and complementarity to avoid overlaps between partners.

4 ways Horizon Europe partner search can benefit your organisation

Organisations often neglect spending enough time for finding the right partners for their projects. However, building a solid consortium can help you achieve your goals and, at the same time, increase your contribution to the world. These are some of the benefits that you can have from having a good partnership:

  1. Increase the success rate of your applications – Horizon Europe projects are demanding, costly and time-consuming even before their implementation stage. Therefore, since they require resources, many organisations view EU project applications as an investment, and it is only logical to look forward to a positive outcome. In this case, to receive an EU grant for your research idea. Therefore, you should not neglect to spend adequate time in partner search for Horizon Europe projects. Having the perfect blend of partners with a diversity of expertise can increase the success rate of your applications.
  2. Be part of the transformational wave A higher success rate in your applications means being involved and receiving funding for more EU funded projects. Despite the obvious financial benefits for your team, you should not forget that the world desperately needs more innovation to deal with our global challenges. Therefore, if your EU research project receives funding from Horizon Europe, it should feel exciting that your hard work is valued and that it can contribute to society.
  3. Get distinguished Did you know that you could receive a reward for your innovative EU funded projects? The EU runs competitions for researchers and research teams like the Horizon Impact Award. Gathering the best research team and working hard to provide innovative results could be your ticket to receiving prize money and recognition for your innovative project.
  4. Expand your network While spending more time finding suitable partners for your consortia, at the same time, you are expanding the contacts list of researchers and reliable project partners in your network. It will be easier to find your next EU partner for your project every time you are looking for one.
  5. Join more consortia – It is not enough to get to know someone, but it is vital also to maintain a good relationship with them. For this reason, you should be working hard in all of the EU projects that you participate in and leave work to speak for yourself. Leaving a positive and long-lasting impression on your previous EU projects partners is an excellent way to invite yourself to join in their future consortia.

Where to search for your next Horizon Europe partners

In Horizon Europe applications, the composition of your partnership is one of the things evaluators will scrutinise. Each call for proposals has specific eligibility requirements for partners, and they need to make sure that applications abide by those rules.

Unfortunately, organisations often neglect to be more thorough while searching Horizon Europe project partners because it is time-consuming, and they don’t know where to start. To make the process smoother and avoid such a situation, we want to let you know of some online tools for partner search in all EU programmes.

EU Funding and Tenders portal

The most common tool in European project management that you should already be aware of is the EU Funding and Tenders portal. It is the European Commission's official platform where you can find all the available EU funding calls and tenders to submit a proposal or partners to collaborate.

If you have previously used this platform to submit your project proposals, you should probably be already aware of its full capabilities. However, you can use it in much more ways than simply finding calls and submitting proposals.

The platform gives you an option for "Partner Search" on the menu to the left, just like in the example of this Horizon Europe call.

Clicking on "partner search announcements" will take you towards the bottom of the call's information and right after the "Topic conditions and documents" section. The following image is what you should see after clicking on that button.

The number "101" shown on the left part designates the number of organisations that have declared an interest in this specific Horizon Europe call. If you are in the process of Horizon Europe partner search for this call, you should choose “View / Edit” to find more information about these partners.

As soon as you click on it, it will guide you to the next page, where you can find the “announcements” made by partners interested in joining a partnership. These comments describe their organisations and whether they are requesting or offering expertise. You can filter this information according to your needs in Horizon Europe partner search and see the organisation's description, organisation type, country, and type of request.

If you believe that one of these organisations fit perfectly in your consortium’s composition, you can send them an email through the “contact” button at the right. Of course, not only others can post these announcements, but you can do it too. Your organisation will immediately become visible to others, and you will hopefully start receiving emails for partnerships.

EUcalls Platform

Another partner search tool for Horizon Europe projects and European funding that works similarly with the European Commission’s official platform is EUcalls. With some added features, this platform is a great alternative to the EU Funding and Tenders Portal for European project management. It covers most of the needs of organisations in their EU funding journey and offers an updated database of calls from all EU programmes, as well as provides additional opportunities for partner search, networking, and idea development to create European consortia. For example, EUcalls autosuggests calls and partners based on the information you provided with a matching score (from 0 to 100%). Using this platform, you can easily send and receive messages to any organisation that you can find inside the tool, as well as submit your ideas for calls or find the ideas of others.

How to create a partner profile

Step 1: Tell about yourself

First, you should provide information concerning your organisation. Normally this includes the organisation’s name, legal status (e.g. NGO, SME, Startup), if it's a public or private company, and finally, its description and website. This is the most important information you need, as this will determine whether you are eligible to apply for a call. Providing a thorough and detailed description will also intrigue others to contact you.

Step 2: Add your expertise

All organisations have a specific focus on what they are doing. Others happen to have a narrow one, while others focus on more things. But at the end of the day, it's the experience that makes us experts in our professional fields and as such attractive partners.

Step 3: Add your funding target

Next up, you should set your funding target by choosing the relevant answers. For example, for what do you need the funding? How much would be the ideal funding for you to achieve your goals? What type of funding are you looking for? Is it grants, subsidies, or something else? These questions are essential for other organisations to understand if your are a good match.

Good partnerships can help you increase your chances of getting the funding you need, create more innovative outputs, receive awards, expand your network with more quality and experienced partners, and find more and more consortia through your network. For this reason, you need to search for the best partners you can find before submitting your Horizon Europe applications. We hope this article has given you a good understanding where to start looking for those partners and what to do to approach them. Thankfully, there are many online tools that you can use to build lasting partnerships to achieve your EU funding goals.

This article is written in a cooperation with our valued partner Institute of Entrepreneurship Development.

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