Research & Innovation - Funding & Tenders Portal H2020 Online Manual

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Electronic proposal submission

Get prepared: Finding your call/topic > Find partners > Plan your work and budget

Electronic proposal submission: Get ECAS account > Get PIC number -Participant Register (SME status?) -> Launch submission wizard -> Pre-register your draft proposal -> List participants, contact persons -> Fill in Administrative forms -> Upload Technical Annex -> Submit your proposal (modify?) -> Receipt of submission

Proposals must be submitted online via the Electronic Submission Service of the Participant Portal and before the call deadline.

Actions to be completed before submission

  1. Create your user account to login to the Participant Portal
    To be able to submit a proposal, you must first register on the Portal for an EU Login account.
  3. Beneficiary registration - Participant Identification Codes (PIC numbers)
    All participants of a proposal must be registered in the central Participant Register of the Commission managing Horizon 2020. Organisations have to be identified with their Participant Identification Codes, the 9-digit PIC number in the submission forms (the coordinator has to be identified with its PIC number at step 3, while other participants at Step 4).

    Failure to do so, blocks the preparation and the submission of the proposal!

    Read more about the beneficiary registration or the PIC search in the Register an organisation section of the online manual.

    SME registration and SME self-assessment: Please note that the base period for calculating the SME status will be two-years backward from the cut-off date (or call deadline). The submission system will take into account the "effective date" (closure date of the accounting period). If you have been registered as SME in the Participant Register before, and the latest accounting period for which you have completed the self-assessment is older than two years, then you need to fill in a new SME self-assessment.

The submission process

During the submission you will complete the 6-steps of the online submission service wizard, as is explained in the IT How To Guide (pdf/wiki).

Do not forget to check the system requirements necessary for using the submission system.

It is advised to keep in mind the following features of and tips about the process.

  1. Do not wait until the end to submit
    It is highly recommended to formally submit your proposal as early as possible and at least 48 hours before the deadline. This will avoid being confronted with incompatible local IT configuration settings shortly before the deadline when insufficient time would be left to resolve them. Please, note that you can submit the proposal as many times as you want. Every submitted version will replace the previous one. Your proposal is safe and secure in our systems and will not be accessed before the deadline of the call. There is no reason to delay submission for fear of disclosure.
  3. H2020 - Linked third parties
    In step 4 of the wizard you specify the partners participating in the consortium. Any linked third party should not be inserted as a separate entity in the wizard. They should only be mentioned in the narrative part of the proposal (part B) that you will upload as pdf-file in the last step of the wizard. No PIC for a linked third party is necessary at the proposal stage and in the administrative form of the proposal (step 5) the budget for a linked third party should be added to the budget of the beneficiary to which they belong (no separate row in the budget table). Only for a successful project entering the grant preparation phase, a PIC has to be provided for the linked third party and the budget for the third party has to be specified separately.
  5. Access rights of individual contact persons
    In step 4 of the wizard you also specify the contact persons for the partners participating in the consortium. To read more about the level of access rights check also the Roles & access rights section of the online manual.
  7. Changes to organisation-related data during proposal preparation
    If your organisation is already registered, but organisation-related data has changed during proposal preparation, you cannot update it directly in the submission system.
    • For validated entities LEARs (or Account administrators) have to request the update via the Participant Register, available on the My Organisations section of the Participant Portal.
    • If your organisation has not been validated by the Commission yet, update requests can be done by Self-registrants.
    The organisation data can be updated by any LEAR who was appointed during FP7 or H2020. A LEAR has to be nominated for H2020 by the time (s)he starts appointing the Legal Signatory(ies) (LSIGNs) for signature of a grant agreement.
  9. Page limits and formatting requirements for the technical annex (partB)
    Mandatory page limits and formatting requirements may apply to (certain) sections of the technical annex (part B) of the proposal, as indicated on the call page, in the template and in the system. If there is a page limit on certain parts or annexes, the system will warn applicants about any excess pages. Any remaining excess pages will be overprinted with a watermark, and experts will be instructed to disregard them when evaluating proposals.
  11. Checklist for official submission
    Before the coordinator (or sole applicant) officially submits the proposal, check that:
    • your proposal fulfils the conditions set out in the call
    • the proposal (both the administrative forms and technical annex) is complete, readable, accessible and printable
    • the requested declarations have been made
    • all consortium members have:
      • obtained access to the electronic exchange system (i.e. to the ‘My Area’ section of the Participant Portal)
      • registered in the Participant Register.
  12. Mock evaluation
    On the call/topic pages and in the Participant Portal the evaluation forms similar to those used by our experts for the evaluation of your proposal are available. It is strongly recommended that you use these forms to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal before you submit it. Ideally, ask a disinterested colleague to carry out a mock evaluation.
  14. Multiple versions of proposal
    You can submit your proposal several times before the cut-off date or the call deadline, e.g. to make updates or changes. To view and/or change your submitted proposal, go to the My Proposals page in the Participant Portal. As long as the call has not been closed, the new submitted version will overwrite the previous one.
  16. Multiple proposals
    If the coordinator submits a number of similar proposals, the Commission may ask him/her to choose one or more of them to be withdrawn.
  18. Specific submission schemes
    • Two-stage submission schemes, you must submit a ‘short outline proposal’ for the first stage and you will be invited to submit your ‘full proposal’ for the second stage, if you pass the first-stage evaluation. The full proposal must be consistent with the short outline proposal and may not differ substantially.
    • Calls with multiple cut-off dates (e.g. SME instrument actions phase 1 and 2): The call has a final closure date and several intermediate cut-off dates that trigger evaluation. There is an evaluation session after each cut-off date and the final closure date (normally within a month). After each cut-off date, the submitted proposals are grouped, reviewed and ranked together. Evaluation results are made available immediately. If you miss an intermediate cut-off date, the proposal will be evaluated in the next evaluation session.
  20. After the call deadline
    Once the deadline has passed, no further corrections or re-submissions are possible. However, a read-only access to the submitted proposal is granted for proposal contacts in case they wish to verify what has been submitted. The proposals that have not been submitted (remaining with "DRAFT" status in the submission system) are accessible for 90 days after the call deadline from the My Proposals page.

    • If during the final days of the submission process there is a fault in the system, the Commission may decide to extend the call deadline accordingly.
  22. Notification after submission
    All contact persons of the coordinating organisation ('coordinator'/Host Institution') will receive an e-mail after each submission of the proposal. The submitted proposal package is combined into one document and an e-receipt is generated indicating the date and time of submission by the user. When the e-receipt is ready, it can be downloaded from Step 6 of the submission. If you have not received this e-mail, it is because the proposal has not been submitted. If you miss the call deadline, your proposal will be disregarded by the system and we will not consider it as submitted.
  24. After proposal submission
    There is no further contact between the Commission and the applicants on the proposal until after the completion of the evaluation, with the exception of the following cases:
    • if the Commission needs to contact you to clarify matter such as eligibility or to request additional information
    • in case the Commission needs more information or supporting documents for ethics screening, security scrutiny, legal entity validation, financial viability check
    • in response to an enquiry or complaint made by you
    • for calls which are subject to hearings or interviews (if applicable according to the work programme/call text).
  26. Withdrawal of submitted proposals
    Proposals may be withdrawn before the call deadline at Step 6. These withdrawn proposals will subsequently not be considered for evaluation or for selection, nor count against possible re-application restrictions (e.g. in case of ERC actions).
    For a proposal to be withdrawn after the call deadline, special rules may apply (read the information package for the call); therefore withdrawal has to be requested via the IT Helpdesk.
    Once the withdrawal process is finalized, the new status will be displayed on the 'My proposals' page of the Participant Portal.

    • For non-submitted proposals a 'Delete' action button is available on the My Proposals page until the proposal has been submitted at least once.

Lodging a complaint about a failed submission

If you think that the submission of your proposal was not entirely successful due to a technical error on the side of the Commission, you may lodge a complaint through the IT Helpdesk on the Participant Portal. For the complaint to be admissible it must be filed within 4 calendar days following that of the call closure. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt the same or next working day.

What else to do? You should secure a PDF version of all the B-parts and annexes of your proposal holding a time stamp (file attributes listing the date and time of creation and last modification) that is prior to the call deadline dd/mm/yyyy:hh:mm, as well as any proof of the alleged failure (e.g. screen shots). Later in the procedure you may be requested by the IT Helpdesk to provide these items. Please, note that any information regarding the proposal will be treated in a strictly confidential manner.

To consider your complaint is upheld, the IT audit trail (application log files and access log files of the EC IT-systems involved) must show that there was indeed a technical problem at the EC side which prevented you from submitting (or resubmitting) the proposal using the electronic submission system.

Outcome: You will get notification about the outcome of the treatment of your complaint shorty but at latest within the time indicated in the acknowledgment of receipt. If a decision cannot be reached in this term, you will receive a holding reply. If your complaint is upheld, the secured files (provided by you to the IT helpdesk), for which the investigation has demonstrated that technical problems at the EC side prevented (re)submitting, will be used as a reference for accepting the proposal for subsequent evaluation. In absence of such documents, the version present in the IT system will be evaluated.