Prepare and submit a proposal
The EPSS enables research teams to submit proposals on-line or by downloading electronic forms and submitting them on paper. Proposers are strongly encouraged to use electronic submission which offers a range of advantages:
- It saves time.
- It allows collaboration in real time.
- It ensures that the proposal will arrive on time.
- You can revise your proposal right up to the call deadline.
Procedures for submitting a research proposal to the Science and Society programme
Calls for proposals
A call for proposals is an official text inviting interested parties to submit proposals for projects, and defining:
- the thematic priority area or activity covered
- the instrumentsused
- specific requirements - for example, the minimum number of participants
- the information to be included in the proposal
- the proposal submission process, including the deadline
Calls are published in all Community languages in the Official Journal (OJ). However, they are also published on CORDIS,together with detailed guides for proposers, submission forms and a tool for electronic submission, the Electronic Proposal Submission System ( EPSS).
Before the selection process, proposals are checked to see if they fulfil basic formal criteria:
- reception before the deadline
- minimum number of partners
- completeness of proposal
Proposals which fail to fulfil all of these criteria are ineligible and are excluded without further consideration. The relevant criteria are clearly set out in calls for proposals.
Proposals may only be submitted in response to calls for proposals. For each call, the Commission issues a special information package comprising documents, explanations and the forms needed to prepare a proposal. Information packages are available on-line, on the page of the relevant call on CORDIS. Various methods of preparation and submission are available:
- on-line preparation and submission using the Electronic Proposal Submission System (EPSS)
- off-line preparation and on-line submission using EPSS
- off-line preparation using EPSS, followed by submission on CD or diskette
- on paper
Most calls have fixed deadlines, which are strictly enforced to the minute.
The European Commission selects proposals for funding with the help of independent external experts. Evaluation criteria and a detailed description of the selection process are published in advance on the page of the relevant call on CORDIS. Where a proposal is selected, the Commission enters into financial and scientific/technical negotiations, leading to the signature of a contract.
Proposals sent to the European Commission for funding are selected based on a number of evaluation criteria which differ according to the funding instrument being applied. The Commission has produced a detailed document 'Guidelines on proposal evaluation and selection procedures'.
The evaluation process usually takes place using a single-stage submission, following four steps:
- Briefing of the evaluators orally and in writing to give general guidelines on the call's purpose
- Individual evaluation of the proposals against the set of criteria
- Consensus reports are produced for each of the proposals
- Panel evaluation may be necessary to examine and compare the consensus reports, while looking for possible clustering or combining of proposals to increase integrated research in Europe - it may include hearings with the proposers.