What changes can be made from stage 1 to stage 2 proposals?
Are you waiting for the results of your stage 1 proposal or have you just received an invitation to submit the full (stage 2) proposal? Congratulations! Over the years we’ve been receiving (and still are) many questions concerning the changes that can be made from the first to the second stage. Based on what we now know is still unclear for many proposal writers, we’ve compiled an FAQ on the key questions researchers often ask before writing the stage 2 proposal.
Frequently asked questions on allowable changes
Q1: Can we make changes to the consortium from stage 1 to stage 2?
A1: Yes, you can. However, it is advisable not to make too many changes. Adding one or two partners is no problem. Based on our experience, companies are quite often added. Just be aware that additional partners might increase the budget (see Q3 below).
Q2: Can we change the Coordinator of our project in stage 2?
A2: Yes, you can. However, there should be a good reason for this and it might be worth pointing out the change of Coordinator in the proposal document and provide a justification for the necessary change. Please remember that the Coordinator is always Beneficiary number 1 and the partner order on the cover page of Part B1 and in the administrative forms (online) need to be adapted accordingly.
Q3: Can we increase the budget/EU funding from stage 1 to stage 2?
A3: Yes, you can. However, the increase should not be substantial. Based on our experience, an increase of 10% and more should be justified in the proposal, ideally in section 3.4 (resources to be committed).
Q4: Can we change the project idea that we proposed in stage 1 in stage 2?
A4: Making substantial changes to your project idea is not recommended. According to the Horizon 2020 grants manual “the full proposal must be consistent with the short outline proposal and may not differ substantially”. If changes are a necessity, they should be clearly explained. The same pool of evaluators of the first stage is generally also used for the second stage.
Q5: Can we add a Work Package that was not initially planned but would be useful?
A5: Yes, you can. Based on our experience, the WPs are not described in detail in stage 1 but obviously need to be described in-depth in the stage 2 proposal (Table 3.1).
Q6: What are the main evaluator criteria in stage 2?
A6: Stage 1 proposals are evaluated on two criteria only: the Excellence and the Impact. However, in stage 2 Research and Innovation Action (RIAs), Innnovation Actions (IAs) and Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs), there are three evaluation criteria (Excellence, Impact and Implementation), each accounting for a maximum score of 5 (total: 15). Please note that in RIAs and in CSAs, there is no weighting factor applied to any of these three criteria. However, in Innovation Actions, which are more applied research and rather demonstration projects, the Impact is weighting by a factor of 1.5.
Q7: How much effort is it to prepare the stage 2 proposal?
A7: Our experience is that you virtually need to start from scratch again but benefit from the work plan structure that you have already developed for stage 1. The latter might save you some time though.
accelopment and the second stage
Even if the chances of securing funding during the second stage are higher, it will still take an excellent proposal to succeed. It is therefor not uncommon for a coordinator to seek help writing the proposal. EURO SHOCK is a recent project that decided to add accelopment as a partner in-between the two stages and managed to secure funding. As part of the consortium, accelopment is now responsible for the project management and dissemination.