IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.
The European Flag    Europa The European Commission Research Fifth Framework ProgrammeParticipating
  Participating in the European Research ProgrammesContents
4. Once your proposal has been submitted, what happens next?
 What happens to the proposal?
 How long is the selection process likely to take?
 How are the proposals evaluated?
 What happens if a proposal is rejected?
 What happens if a proposal is accepted?
4.3 How are the proposals evaluated?

The basic principle underlying Community research and technological development activities is equality of treatment for all participants. However, more often than not the budgets available do not make it possible to provide funding for all the projects submitted. A rigorous selection procedure therefore has to be followed. Provided that applicants satisfy the legal and administrative criteria, and their proposals are in accordance with the objectives of the programmes, the sole selection criterion is the quality of the proposals. The Information Package and the Evaluation Manual define what is meant by a high-quality proposal.

Before a proposal is evaluated, a check is carried out to verify the eligibility of a proposal from a purely administrative point of view: date of submission, transnational character, presence of all the documents in the appropriate form, etc. These minimum eligibility criteria are set out in the decisions of the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, which are published in the Official Journal. The purpose is to ensure that public money is spent wisely. These basic conditions have since been translated into a number of operating rules by the European Commission with a view to ensuring the efficient, fair and transparent implementation of the considerable financial support provided by the Fifth Framework Programme.

Proposals are evaluated based on the fundamental principles of objectivity, transparency and equality of treatment. The selection procedure is described in detail in the Evaluation Manual, which is available on the following CORDIS website:

It is important to note that there are no national quotas when it comes to allocating funding under the Fifth Framework Programme.

In order to help the Commission, panels of independent external experts have been set up covering a wide range of expertise. These experts are selected by the Commission from an open list drawn up following a call for applications in the Official Journal. They evaluate the proposals in accordance with the criteria laid down. Each eligible proposal is subjected to a scientific and technical evaluation by at least three experts. A second panel of independent experts then examines socio-economic and ethical aspects. The anonymity of applicants and the confidentiality of proposals are fully guaranteed to ensure that the evaluators are impartial. In the event of a conflict of interests, the expert concerned must withdraw from the panel.

The proposals are evaluated in accordance with five categories of criteria that are clearly set out in the Guide for Proposers for each call*, and in the Evaluation Manual.

The criteria are:
  • scientific/technological quality and innovation;
  • Community added value;
  • contribution to Community social objectives;
  • potential economic, scientific and technological impact;
  • quality of management, partnership and resources.
Ethical aspects are also taken into account at this stage.
The details and quantitative weighting of the criteria are described in the Evaluation Manual.

The experts examine the proposals individually before meeting as a panel to agree on a ranking. At this stage, they may recommend that certain similar or complementary proposals should be combined into larger projects or "project clusters".

Following the evaluation, the Commission draws up a list of proposals ranked according to the points the experts gave based on the criteria.

As a rule, the Commission receives far more proposals than it can fund. The proposals compete against one another and only the quality of the projects determines the final selection.

Fifth Framework Programme contracts are made directly between the contractors and the European Commission. At no stage in the procedure are applicants required to contact national or regional authorities. The Member States only play an advisory role through the opinions delivered by the programme committees on which they are represented. However, the Member States do make information and assistance services available to anyone interested in participating in the Fifth Framework Programme.

* See Guide for Proposers Annexe 6 of Part 2.

  Search Top