Evaluating innovation potential – how are SME Instrument proposals scored?

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How are SME Instrument proposals scored?

After each cut-off hundreds of small companies that applied for the SME Instrument get an Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) announcing the results of their submission. But how are the SME Instrument proposals scored?

Under the SME Instrument grant proposals are evaluated by 4 independent experts, on the basis of three award criteria: 'impact', 'excellence' and 'quality and efficiency of the implementation'. Proposals get a score of 1-5 for each of the three criteria, giving a total score of maximum 15.

To calculate the overall score of a proposal – the so-called 'ESR score' – first a median score across the 4 evaluators is established for each criterion. The median scores of all three criteria are then added up to get the overall score of a proposal. This overall score determines whether proposals are above or below the threshold to become candidates for funding. The threshold is 13 for Phase 1 and 12 for Phase 2.

The proposals above threshold are then ranked in order of excellence. The ranking is established based on the so-called 'normalised score'. The normalised score is calculated as follows: the score for 'impact' multiplied by 1.5, added to the score for 'excellence', added to the score for 'implementation'. The best proposals are then selected for funding according to the available budget by topic.

What happens if proposals have the same score?

Proposals whose 'normalised scores' are equal are ranked based on the higher score on 'impact'. If proposals have the same score for 'impact', the score for 'excellence' is used and if these are still similar, the score for 'implementation' is finally taken into consideration.

For more information have a look at detailed explanations and references to the work programme. 

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  • Anonymous | Wed, 26/10/2016 - 18:03
    Two proposals with the same

    Two proposals with the same overall score, with the same impact score and with the same excellence score should have the same implementation score, right? It is very unlikely, but the system will not solve the draw.

  • storejo | Fri, 28/10/2016 - 14:37
    The probability is indeed

    The probability is indeed very low and has never happened so far. In that case however, according Annex H of the Work Programme the criteria to establish the position in the ranking would be the number of female participants ("gender balance among the personnel named in the proposal who will be primarily responsible for carrying out the research and/or innovation activities" ). Best regards Johanna@EASME

  • Anonymous | Tue, 17/01/2017 - 15:40
    And what about budget

    And what about budget allocation? For example, let's asume there are 2M€ allocated in a particular cut-off and topic. Project A requests 1.75M€; Project B requests 250K€; Project C requests 300k€.
    Scenario 1: A ranks #1, B #2 and C #3. I understand that A and B get what they requested and C is out.
    Scenario 2: C ranks #1, A #2 and C #3. C gets 300k€, but then there is not enough budget left for A. In that situation, are both A and B out or B overtakes A and gets 250K?

  • storejo | Tue, 17/01/2017 - 16:46

    Hello, The budget requested is not negotiable under the SME Instrument. Hence, scenario 1 is correct: A and B are selected. For
    scenario 2: C and A are selected and less budget will be available for the following cut-off. Best regards, Johanna@EASME

  • Anonymous | Wed, 18/01/2017 - 10:32
    OK thanks!

    OK thanks!

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