Everybody wants to be succesful in whatever they do, but what is the cost of success? When planning our goals in every domain but also in business, many times we underestimate the energy we need to achive our ambition. Of course, if we meet our goals, we will enjoy, but many times, it is only at this final moment of achieving the success, when we at last realize how much energy we have placed on it. Although not always the success pays the bill, you will enjoy anyway for a while but, what if you hadn’t met the goals? Most of the times you need to spend exactly the same energy for being succesful or not, this is what happens when you apply for funding under 2020 Horizon, not less than 85% of the proposals submitted will not be funded. Even if you pay the fare, you might not reach the goal…


Anyway, don’t worry: you can choose. As you know, there are usually many different fares you can pay, although none of them will give you a guarantee of success. There is always one choice that gives you the right balance among actual cost and potential benefits. However, like when you make other investments in your life, the cheaper option it is usually the more expensive. Trust me: in 2020 Horizon, this is the case. I have seen hundreds of cases in which high skilled professionals decided to make an attempt just in case, but involving as little resources as possible. This is the way to achieve nothing, lose your time and billable hours and cause losses also in third parties that have dedicated time to prepare a proposal or evaluate it.


“Don’t play the 2020 Horizon game, if you don’t have the willigness to invest and take risk”


Ok, point taken: don’t play the 2020 Horizon game if you don’t have the willigness to invest and take risk. So, which is the fare I need to choose if I want to win funding under 2020 Horizon? Well, of course there are many fares, as many as succesful proposals.  I can tell you about the fare for success we chose at FundingBox, the one that allows us to find a balance between the minimum investment and the risk you have to take. We take the F.A.R.E. for success, this means that you must involve 4 roles that are critical in your proposal writing team: Financial Expert, Administrative Support, Researcher and Entrepreneur.


F.A.R.E roles for winning proposal writing: Financial Expert, Administrative Support, Researcher and Entrepreneur


This is not just about having 4 people preparing the proposal; it is about having a symbiotic interaction of these 4 roles. Sometimes you can find one person that can provide you 2 or more of these 4 roles in one person. Yes, these guys exist, but this is rare: usually you need to involve 4 guys, not in a full time job for all of them, but with a deep joint commitment to the goal. This is not about who of them writes the proposal, but about which are the ingredients needed in which proportion. If any of them it is not there in the right level, then, you are going to fail. These are the so called systemic elements you need for succees: the F.A.R.E. FOR SUCCESS, which focuses on proposal writting team composition and interaction. (You can read our previous post on the RECIPE for winning funding to learn more on proposal fitting).


Once you know which the elements are, you have to combine them properly. In the same way that you have to prepare first the greenhouse, the soil afterwards, then put the seed and finally irrigate the right amount of water everyday when you want to grow your tomatoes, you need to combine in the right way the F.A.R.E. elements. This is many times a back and forth process. Many iteractions should be done from the initial idea to the final submission. The trigger might be different everytime, but the funnel process you have to create is quite similar from one time to other. If you aren not able to mix these roles accordingly, then you have to ask yourself if you really have something that is worth the effort. Are you able to ignite a constructive discussion among these roles? If not, you haven’t what it takes to succed in a natural and well-balanced manner.


“Then you need to combine the F.A.R.E roles properly”


Whoever takes the lead in defining a project opportunity, you need the Financial Expert and his depth understanding of the rationale behind the funding opportunity and about the proposal writing and evaluation criteria. The Administrative Support is always a productivity requirement since the moment you decide to apply, he owns the relation with the participants portal and with all type of medium-low skilled tasks you always have during the proposal writing process. The Researcher point of view and his insights are critical for the decision of investing time in preparing a proposal, and his contributions have to make the difference regarding the actual ambition of your project vs the Status Quo. This role should provide all the contents and story telling related with the State of Art and the list of top players around the problem you want to solve. Finally, the commitment of the Entrepreneur will be the magic touch to address the go-to-market dimension to your endeavour. If you are not able to show your innovation as a credible path from research to market, you will fail.


You cannot afford this F.A.R.E.? Then, think twice before opting for apparently lower fare solutions. After 25 years in business, to which we’ve already referred before in the post “10 reasons why FundingBox is the perfect partner for your EU project”, we have learnt that these other fares are always more expensive.

Xabi Chao


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