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Eurostars process - Evaluation

2. Evaluation

After the submission deadline, a centralised evaluation process starts, managed by the EUREKA Secretariat (ESE). The evaluation phase covers the period from the submission deadline to the dispatch of letters confirming which projects will receive public support. Only the very best applications will successfully navigate the various stages and receive public support.

Within 4 months of the submission deadline, the EUREKA Secretariat announces the list of projects that have been earmarked for funding. Projects approved for funding earn the right to be officially recognised as a Eurostars project.

 

STEP 1: THE COMPLETENESS CHECK

Performed by: EUREKA secretariat
Responsibility: EUREKA secretariat

One of the first activities is to check whether applications are complete (have all sections been completed appropriately, is the application form written in English, are all of the required annexes in place, has each organisation signed and returned the commitment and signature form, and when necessary, the SME declaration within the specified timeframe. The failure of one applicant organisation to supply all of its required documents will result in the rejection of the entire application.

There is no possibility to provide documents after the specified deadline. Organisations involved in an ‘incomplete’ application will be informed by email as soon as possible.

 

Commitment and signature form

Performed by: all partners
Responsibility: all partners, coordinated by the main partner

Within a few days of the submission deadline, each organization in the project receives a unique commitment and signature form. You must complete and return this document within seven days of receiving it. It must be signed by a legally authorised representative of the applicant organization. Every participating organization must return the document, otherwise the entire application will be rejected.

If you declare yourself to be an SME, you must complete the appropriate sections of the European Commission (EC) SME declaration. The completed declaration should be returned to us with the Eurostars commitment and signature form.

Failure by an SME to submit this declaration will result in the entire application being rejected. 

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STEP 2: ELIGIBILITY CHECK

Performed by: EUREKA secretariat
Responsibility: EUREKA secretariat

Eurostars applications must meet all eligibility criteria before the two-step evaluation process starts, otherwise they will not be put forward for evaluation and will be excluded. If a criterion cannot be definitely answered, ineligibility will be conferred. The failure of any single criterion will result in the rejection of the entire application.

It is not possible to amend information after the submission deadline. Organizations involved in an ‘ineligible’ application will be informed by email as soon as possible.

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STEP 3: EXPERT EVALUATION

Performed by: Independent experts
Responsibility: EUREKA secretariat

Once checked for completeness and compliance with eligibility criteria, applications are evaluated. Each application is evaluated by three independent experts, commissioned by the EUREKA secretariat.

Read more about the experts and how we select them.

What does an expert do?
An expert uses their technical and market expertise within their specialist field to provide objective evaluations consisting of scores, justifications, comments and recommendations against a set of standard criteria.

Who are the experts?
To be considered, each potential expert must first pass the minimum eligibility criteria.

They must:

  • Hold a higher education diploma (Master degree or higher)
  • Possess a minimum 10 years´ professional experience in their chosen area(s)
  • Come from a EUREKA member country;
  • Be fluent in English.

When a potential expert meets these criteria, they may apply to become an expert. However, expert application documents are reviewed by a project officer at the EUREKA Secretariat. A committee decides whether to accept or reject the potential expert.

How are they selected?
After the submission deadline, and once we have filtered out the ineligible applications, we begin to match applications to potential experts. This is performed by project officers (PO) with a technical, scientific or engineering background. The PO will read the application in question and by using keywords and phrases, will identify the three most suitable experts from our database. For insurance, the PO will usually identify one or two reserve experts, too.

Can I restrict which experts evaluate my application?
Applicants have the opportunity to request that certain organisations or individuals are excluded from evaluating their application. Applicants may specify who should not be involved within a dedicated space in the commitment and signature form. You cannot specify that experts from an entire country are excluded, although experts from the countries listed within the application form are automatically discounted.

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Evaluation criteria

There are three major criteria each with four sub-criteria:

I. QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION (BASIC ASSESSMENT)

  • Quality of the consortium
  • Added value through co-operation
  • Realistic and clearly defined project management and planning
  • Reasonable cost structure

II. EXCELLENCE (INNOVATION AND R&D)

  • Degree of innovation
  • New applied knowledge
  • Level of technical challenge
  • Technical achievability and risk

III. IMPACT (MARKET & COMMERCIALISATION)

  • Market size
  • Market access and risk
  • Competitive advantage
  • Clear and realistic commercialisation plans

For more information download Guidelines for evaluating the applications. This document provides experts with a description of the evaluation criteria and how to apply them to a Eurostars application.

Read more about how the scores are given.

How are scores given?
Scores are given to reflect the quality of the application.

  • For each sub criteria experts must provide a score out of six.
  • The average of the sub criteria scores is used as the score for the main criteria.
  • Each score must be accompanied by a justifying comment.

How are the scores used?
For each of the major criteria, we group the scores given by the three experts.

  • Experts are said to be in agreement when their scores fall on the same side of the mid-point of the scale.
  • If there is an outlying score (an expert scores the other side of the mid-point compared to the other two) that score is disregarded and not used in calculating the average value.
  • A threshold for progression to the panel evaluation where for at least two major criteria, the average of the expert’s scores is 4.3* or greater, where there is agreement for the criteria in question.

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STEP 3: FINANCIAL VIABILITY CHECK

Performed by: National funding body (NFB) in your country
Responsibility: EUREKA secretariat

While the three independent experts are evaluating the project, at national level Eurostars Participating States and Partner Countries (National funding bodies - NFBs) are responsible for the assessment of the financial viability of a project participant to finance the activities declared in the Eurostars Application Form according to applicable national regulations.

Funding for participants is provided by their respective national funding body, according to published national rules. The NFB has to assess the financial capacity of their respective participants in an application and determine if they are capable of undertaking the work and eligible to receive public funding.

If they are not, the NFB is asked if an alternative solution is foreseen by the partners. The NFB is required to clearly explain the answers in the event that participation within the project is not ‘financially viable’.

This task is important. The financial viability is performed in order to minimise the risk to the other organizations participating in the project – it is an indication that each partner can afford their part. It is also an indication to the other national funding bodies involved that their investment of public money will not be wasted.

The results of the check are given to the Independent Evaluation Panel (IEP) for inclusion in their discussions and decision-making process. Financial viability or lack thereof, is not an eligibility criterion. It does not mean that a project is automatically excluded, but a negative assessment could be one of the determining factors for the panel evaluation.

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STEP 4: PANEL EVALUATION + RANKING

Performed by: Independent Evaluation Panel (IEP)
Responsibility: IEP Chairperson, EUREKA secretariat

Applications which pass the first expert evaluation step are put forward for ranking by the IEP. Each application is collectively reviewed in an IEP Meeting in Brussels, where the panellists meet to discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of each application against the set criteria and each of the other applications. It is their job to identify the very best applications, and then rank them in descending order of quality, thereby producing a ranking list.

IEP is led by a chairperson and includes internationally recognised experts in their field. IEP members are selected according to the profile of applications and the technical requirements at the time.

Each application is given a score out of 200 for each of the three main criteria. These criteria are of equal importance. The total score for an application is the sum of the scores given to each criterion, producing a maximum of 600 points. If an application scores less than 120 on any of the evaluation criteria or less than 402 points overall, the application will automatically become ineligible for funding and be rejected. All applications are scored and ranked accordingly.

Applications which are scored above the specified thresholds are placed on the ‘shortlist’ and the relevant funding bodies are informed.

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STEP 5: ETHICS REVIEW

EUREKA and the EU will not fund proposals that contravene ethical principles

The ethics review is part of the overall ‘H2020 ethics appraisal scheme’  (i.e. the global approach on ethics issues) which includes all of the following:

We use outside ethics experts to ensure that ethics issues identified in proposals are adequately addressed (both for the ethics review and other procedures of the ethics appraisal scheme).

Although the ethics self-assessment should ideally identify all proposals with potential ethics issues — through a self-flagging of the ethics issues and additional information on how these issues are addressed, all proposals with a positive evaluation and considered for funding are nevertheless systematically subject to the ethics review.

The Ethics review shall be part of the implementation of the Eurostars 2 programme and it must be carried out in compliance with Articles 13 and 14 of the H2020 Rules for Participation Regulation (EU) No 1290/2013

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STEP 6: FUNDING SYNCHRONISATION AND APPROVAL

Performed by: EUREKA secretariat
Responsibility: Each participating organization, and each NFB

The available budget for each country is allocated to projects according to:

  1. the order of the ranking list,
  2. the funding rules for the country.

Secured, synchronised funding

Funding is provisionally allocated to the participant(s) of an application in each respective country in line with the principle outlined above. Only projects which secure funding from each of the participating countries will become ‘approved’ projects.

Cascading funding

Where one or more countries in a given project cannot finance their participating organizations (for instance where the national budget has already been exhausted), the country whose budget has not been exhausted may pass it on to the participants of the next project in line.

Receiving funding

Each of the organisations participating in an approved project must contact their NPC as soon as they receive an approval letter otherwise they might not be eligible for the funding provisionally allocated to them. Funding is dependent on fulfilling any national obligations which may be required. 

Communication of results

Performed by: EUREKA secretariat
Responsibility: EUREKA secretariat

The Eurostars team in Brussels is responsible for communicating information about the centralised evaluation process. 

The Eurostars team is not responsible for communication on national processes. As the EUREKA Secretariat is responsible for running the evaluation process, it is not able to provide feedback and advice beyond that included in official communications. Our network of NPCs is available for this purpose. We recommend discussing your application with your NPC throughout the drafting, application and evaluation phases. 

Consortium agreement

Performed by: All partners
Responsible for delivery: Main partner

If your project is approved for funding, we have a number of requirements that you must meet. One of them is the completion of a consortium agreement. This legal document must be signed by all parties and submitted to the Eurostars team in Brussels within 12 weeks of the letter of approval. The consortium agreement (CA) may take time to negotiate and should be drafted carefully, taking into account the characteristics of a Eurostars project. The assistance of a legal advisor at the appropriate stage is strongly recommended.

The descriptions in the Consortium Agreement Skeleton related to intellectual property have been created with the support of the European IPR Helpdesk. The Eurostars Team invites you to contact them for any additional help on this matter.

The Horizon 2020 regulations (articles 41-49) stipulate that you should describe in as much detail as possible the pre-existing rights and access to them, the creation and ownership of new rights, exploitation rights and dissemination.

Download Skeleton for a Consortium Agreement for more information!

Evaluation timing

Eurostars has a very fast evaluation process. Applicants are kept informed on the progress of their application through the various phases below:

  • Approximately 4 weeks after the submission deadline, applicants are informed on the eligibility of their application. 
  • Approximately 14 weeks after the submission deadline, a ranking list is endorsed by the Eurostars High Level Group (HLG). Applicants are informed by official email whether their application is above or below the quality threshold and if it is being considered for funding.
  • Approximately 19 weeks after the submission deadline, an official letter informs applicants that are ranked above the quality threshold of the availability of funding.
  • If your project is approved for funding, the main participant must provide a copy of the final consortium agreement signed by all consortium members, to the ESE within 12 weeks of the Eurostars communication of the funding results.

The complete process, from submission deadline to finalisation of the funding contract can be achieved within four to seven months. 

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STEP 7: START