What to consider when writing the Impact section of a H2020 proposal
4th May 2020 at 5:52 pm
The recent extensions on H2020 proposal deadlines has given those currently preparing a proposal for one of the open H2020 call topics more time to write the Part B1 document. This also means that there is now more time to deliver on the impact of the proposed project. The Part B1 of all Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs) and Innovation Actions (IAs) is divided into three main sections: Excellence, Impact and Implementation. In this blog we are focusing on what needs to be covered by the Impact section, which accounts for up to a third of the overall score in RIAs and is weighted by a factor of 1.5 in IAs.
The H2020 proposal template provides a short description of the mandatory headers required in your proposal and what information is expected there. However, there is a lot of room for interpretation. Below we have listed all mandatory aspects in the impact section, what content is expected and key tips based on our experience from writing H2020 and other funding scheme proposals.
Expected impacts (Section 2.1, mandatory)
Many researchers consider the project’s results to be the impact of the project. However, the outcomes should take a broader view on the expected impact and the value of the project. When describing the expected impacts of your proposal, try to be as specific as possible and define indicators to measure these impacts. Our suggestion would be to consider some of the following points when writing the expected impact section:
- A table including the expected impacts from the call topics and specific statements on how the proposal addresses these is a simple and effective way for you to address the expected impacts in the work programme.
- A PESTLE and/or stakeholder analysis is often a good starting point to define other expected impacts. Impact often happens on several levels: the personal, organisational and institutional. A new medical tool will for example have a positive impact on 1) the patients by reducing their medical burden, 2) the healthcare workers and clinics by reducing time needed for diagnostics and 3) reduce the burden on the healthcare system by reducing clinical costs.
- In this sub-section, it is also advisable for you to reference relevant policies and regulatory papers and how the proposal will contribute to tackling challenges addressed by institutions such as the European Union, United Nations and other supranational organisations.
- The impact on Europe’s innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge should also has to be addressed. Here it is important to highlight how the proposed research and innovation will create new opportunities for researchers and companies. Describe the scientific, technological and socio-economic impact your research and innovation will create.
- Further, barriers/obstacles and framework conditions that may determine if the expected impacts can be achieved should also be defined. The focus should lay on any outside factors and not on implementation risks at project level. The PESTLE analysis is again a good place to start to find potential factors.
Measures to maximise impact (Section 2.2, mandatory)
In Horizon 2020 and other funding schemes, all project partners are required to disseminate their (non-confidential) results, foster the future commercial and non-commercial exploitation of their results and communicate about the project to the public. The section measures to maximise impact covers these points.
- Dissemination and exploitation of results including a ‘plan for the dissemination and exploitation of the project’s results’
- Communication activities to promote the project and findings during the duration of the project
Targeted and well-thought dissemination, exploitation and communication activities and measures are a necessity if you want to boost the impact of your project, during the project and after its end. Our dissemination and communication experts’ key tips for writing the plans for the dissemination, exploitation and communication activities are:
- Use the project partner’s profiles in the proposal Part B2 as well as their public websites as a key source of information and ideas. Here you can find information on which partners are involved in outreach activities and who has already established channels and tools in place the project could use and benefit from to reach out to a larger network.
- Include a graphical timeline of the activities and when they will be held over the course of the project. This helps with planning and combining activities and linking these to the relevant scientific outcomes.
- Define the target audience for all your activities. Who do you plan to reach? The various target audiences will join different types of events and require a different language.
- Set key performance indicators (KPIs) of your activities to clarify your objectives in specific and measureable numbers. These will help you assess the impact and outreach of your activities when implemented and give you the opportunity to adapt your measures and strategy if defined numbers are not reached.
The H2020 Rules for Participation define the exploitation as the further use of results. This implies that exploitation strategies and measures to implement these should be described in the impact section. Here are some ideas on what to consider:
- Two of the more common strategies are an open science strategy, notably for RIAs, and a commercialisation strategy, especially for close to market IAs. In both cases, we would advise to describe the ways in which you are planning to handle newly generated data and include a Data Management Plan (DMP). The H2020 template for the DMP is a useful source to help define its content. Consortia participating in the EU Open Data Pilot, i.e. not opting out in the administrative forms for the proposal submission, are required to deliver a DMP by project month 6.
- Then, we would recommend that you describe in the exploitation part how you intend to manage the use of results and define intellectual property rights (IPRs) for each partner. This can be best done by describing the general principle the IP management that governs the exploitation of your project outcomes.
- The commercial and non-commercial results that the partners expect from the project should be described or listed in a table, with the proposed IP management plans and the timeline for their exploitation.
- Following the definition of the strategy and the results to be exploited, it might be useful to describe your potential business model or future business strategy. One of the most common way to do this is to illustrate a Business Canvas in form of a figure.
- Finally, it`s important that you define a set of measures you and your project partners to pave the way for the future exploitation of results and the implementation of your “business plan”, ranging from patenting, live demonstration of your prototypes for example, to customer or end user workshops.
Similar to the dissemination and communication activities, we recommend defining key performance indicators (KPIs) also for the exploitation measures to make your plans quantifiable.
Contact our experts
A key part of our proposal writing service includes the drafting of the non-scientific parts of the proposal which covers the impact as well as the management section. As a dissemination and exploitation partner in currently about 20 H2020 projects, accelopment can help plan, write and implement activities and measures targeting all your project’s stakeholders. Together, we can make your impact section efficient and measurable to ensure the widest possible outreach. Please contact one of our experienced communication experts:
Project Manager Communications
Project Manager Communications
Dr. Emily Rose Ciscato
Project Manager Communications