Proposal Submission

To be considered eligible, a proposal must be submitted electronically before the deadline through the Submission Service available on the Horizon 2020 Participant Portal. A proposal must be “readable, accessible and printable”. Go to the call topic of your choice to access the submission platform.

For a first-time submission, you need to register your organisation, obtain an identification number (PIC number) and appoint a representative (the LEAR). The proposal submission is entirely paperless.

The first step is thus to create an account on the Participant Portal to log in and manage your information. Horizon 2020 proposals have an administrative part (Part A) and the Technical part descibing the actual project (Part B). A template of all parts can be found on the Participant Portal.

Part A – Administrative Part

This part contains four main sections that need to be filled in online.

  • General Information: this part contains the project title, the foreseen project duration, keywords to be associated with the proposal, the project acronym and an abstract. Furthermore, under “declarations”, you will have to pledge that all information is correct and complete
  • Participant & contacts: This section includes contact information of all organisations participating in the proposal.
  • Budget: The proposal also needs to include a budget table, outlining an estimated budget for each participant. You need to be familiar with the cost categories used in Horizon 2020, such as “direct personnel costs”, “other direct costs”, “direct costs of sub-contacting” or “indirect costs. Multiplying the sum of these costs by the reimbursement rate will give an indication on the EU funding that can be obtained for the project. The estimated project budget can differ from the “requested grant”, for example when you have partners on board that are not eligible for funding (such as partners from countries that are not associated to Horizon 2020).
  • Ethics: Horizon 2020 puts special emphasis on ethical issues. Indicate whether you project touches upon ethical issues, such as research on living beings (human embryos, human cells, humans, animals) or the environment, or if it involves personal data or has potential military applications (dual use). This test is a self-assessment. Activities that do have ethical implications must be mentioned in the part of the proposal called “Description of the Action”. Further checks might be done once the project is considered for funding (ethics checks and audits can be realised at any time during the project). A description of the procedure concerning ethics is described in the Horizon 2020 online manual.

A word on budget categories and costs

Horizon 2020 applies six main budget categories.:

  • direct personnel costs
  • subcontracting costs
  • costs of providing financial support to third parties (if option applies)
  • other direct costs
  • indirect costs
  • specific categories of costs (if option applies)

The budget categories are described in more detail in the Annotated Model Grant Agreement.

Direct and indirect costs

Furthermore, the distinction between direct and indirect costs is important. “Direct costs” are those that can be directly linked to the implementation of the project. They are reimbursed at 100% or 70% depending on the type of action. “Indirect costs” are costs that necessarily occur during the project but that cannot be attributed to it directly (overhead). They are reimbursed with a 25% flat rate of the eligible direct costs. 

Part B – Technical Annex

This part gives all information that allows the evaluators to decide if the project will be funded or not. Beside a list of all participants and references, it is structured around the three main evaluation criteria: excellence, impact and implementation. Each section comes with helpful guiding questions. Answer these questions in your proposal, giving as much detail as possible. It is also important that you make sure to respect the maximum page limit.

Standard Layout of Part B


  • Objective, Relation to the Work Programme, Concept and approach, Ambition


  • Expected Impacts, Measures to maximise impact


  • Work plan - work packages, deliverables and milestones, Management structures and procedures, Consortium as a whole, Resources to be committed

Members of the consortium

  • Participants (applicants), Third parties to be involved in the project

Ethics and security

You can submit and edit information online. Only the last version submitted before the call deadline will be considered by the evaluators.