Based on more than 20 years of experience in EU funded projects, including ERC since 2007, Enspire Science has developed a meticulous Pre-Award methodology that has proven to yield successful Horizon 2020 and ERC applications. This methodology is based on the following pillars:

Target matching

The majority of European research funding is based on a “top-down” approach, which means that project ideas must fit a predefined list of research topics – and not vice-versa. Submitting an “off-topic” proposal, or not choosing the best topic when several are potentially suitable, can lead to lost time and missed funding opportunities.

That being said, a “bottom-up” approach theme (mainly relevant to ERC and Pathfinder (FET-Open) on the ‘basic research side’, and the SME Instrument and the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) on the ‘go to market’ side), is even more challenging. These themes are “open” to practically all disciplines and activity areas. However, this does not mean all should apply, and practice shows that many do not match their “bottom-up” criteria.

All in all, writing a project proposal is a time-consuming process that demands substantial efforts from all stakeholders. Whether for “top-down” or “bottom-up” approaches, our team works hard to help, avoid frustration and maximize resources. We ensure that every single proposal we handle is suited to the research topic for which it will be submitted. To this end, we perform feasibility checks and target matching free of charge and with no commitment. Only when we’re sure of the match between your proposal and topic/theme do we move forward in helping you bring your idea to funding reality.

Project initiation

Innovative projects deal with matters that are beyond the current state-of-the-art. As such- ideas, vision, direction and innovation are integral ingredients in the process of project initiation.
Whether you come from a small company, or are an experienced academic researcher, your research project needs to be well-defined in terms of scope, targets, collaboration, intellectual property and other important aspects.
Our team of professionals will help you crystallize your ideas, clarify research targets and define the measures needed for a successful research project initiation.

Proposal writing

To achieve funding, it is crucial to turn your excellent research idea into a complete and detailed plan. You need to specifically delineate how research targets will be accomplished, how collaboration will be sought and used to achieve goals, how consortia will be successfully steered, how risks will be handled, and how your project will impact and benefit humankind.

At Enspire Science, we firmly believe that only researchers should write scientific content. We are not “proposal writers”. We complement and assist – never replace – scientists and R&D staff. We can do this effectively because we speak science. Not only do we know scientific writing – we have the scientific backgrounds and skills to truly understand the applicant’s field of research. Our team keeps scientific pace with applicants – deep-diving into the research project, reviewing relevant publications, and helping to crystallize messages to meet European research requirements.

For ERC applicants, we will bring forth our unique experience and proven track record (since 2007) in ERC applications. This will help crystallize the project’s idea and present it best.

When preparing a Horizon 2020 collaborative project, we will help in shaping the overall concept of the project, guide you through the written and unwritten rules of the program, handle the consortium structure and budget, sort out management issues and other non-scientific parts of each proposal on which we work. This is based on over two decades worth of experience we have in Horizon 2020 collaborative projects.


The majority of the EU-funded research projects (excluding the ERC grants) involve a consortium of partners who come together in an ongoing, multi-year commitment. Creating fruitful and stable new partnerships is regarded as a major hurdle. Loose consortia, overlapping roles or missing skills are common causes for proposal rejection. When entering into such a commitment, it is critical to understand with whom you are partnering and the exact parameters of the partnership.
Enspire Science assists in creating strong and well-balanced consortia from the initial moments of inception, through negotiation, contracting, execution and into the post-project phase. We apply careful considerations and exact definitions of the needs of the consortium to narrow down the possibilities. Then, we leverage our wide network of contacts and other resources to perform a focused partner search which yields the right partner for the right job.

The Enspire Science team is looking forward to working together to achieve your pre-award goals! Learn more about our pre-award services where the above pillars of methodology are realized.