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From Proposal to Contract

Writing Proposals

Notification of intention to submit a proposal

In the past the Commission has recommended that proposers issue a notification of theirintention to submit a proposal three weeks prior to submitting the actual proposal to allow the Commission to prepare more efficiently for the evaluation process. This step has currently been integrated with the registration for the use of the EPSS tool. During the registration process you are requested to provide few brief details about the proposal, to assist the Commission in planning the evaluation. Proposers are requested to enter as much information as possible (even if it is preliminary) - the information does not involve making a commitment and it does not make the submission of a proposal mandatory.

Pre-proposal check

Pre-proposal checking is currently not offered for IST. For certain calls, however, the Commission offers a pre-proposal check as a service to proposers. The co-ordinator may submit an abstract of the proposal in order to determine, whether it meets the formal criteria and falls into the area specified by the call for proposals. The results of this evaluation are non-binding to either party; however, they provide a useful resource for fine-tuning the proposal and help avoid disqualification of a proposal for formal reasons. Further information is available in the respective guides for proposals.

Information pack

To complete a project proposal, you will need to obtain the call specific information pack including but not limited to the documents below. To download the documents, it is best to visit the call specific page on Cordis:

  • Call for proposals
    The actual texts of calls are published in the Official Journal. The calls specify strategic objectives and instruments open for proposals, as well as the deadlines and budgets of the call. In general, they follow the roadmap specified in the workprogrammes.
  • Workprogramme
    The biannual workprogrammes describe the RTD priorities and objectives for the year. These are specified in the descriptions of the strategic objectives. The instruments for the implementation of the programme, and the roadmaps are also published in this document.
  • Guide for Proposers (call and instrument specific)
    The guide for proposers gives detailed instructions and guidelines on how to prepare and submit proposals, the evaluation timeline, and sources of support. It also annexes the submission forms and instructions for completing the forms. The guide for proposers is call specific, and is updated to reflect specific instructions for each call. There are different versions available depending on the type of instrument
  • Administrative forms
    For the latest IST Call for Proposals, the use of the electronic proposal submission system, EPSS (Please see section on Proposal submission below) is mandatory. Paper versions can be viewed in the Annex of the Guide for Proposers, however, the forms need to be completed and submitted electronically with the EPSS. The administrative forms are the same for all programmes. However, different information is requested for each type of instrument. Detailed instructions for completing the forms are included in the Guide for Proposers.
  • Guidelines on Proposal Evaluation and Selection Procedures
    The document entitled Guidelines on Proposal Evaluation and Selection Procedures describes the evaluation criteria and process of the Sifth Framework Programme. It also contains appendices, which elaborate on the additional programme-specific considerations of evaluation. IST evaluators receive an additional Guidance Notes for Evaluators for each call.

Proposal submission

Proposals may be prepared in two ways. The Forms for Part A of the proposals may be prepared via the online electronic proposal submission system EPSS (http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/subprop.cfm); the proposals may be prepared with the off-line EPT tool, then uploaded to the EPSS. For the latest calls no paper submissions are accepted. Part B of the proposals must be uploaded through the EPSS in PDF ("portable document format"). No other formats will be accepted. Filling/uploading the forms and uploading Part B does not mean that the proposal has been submitted. After completing the proposal the coordinator must specifically press the "submit" button.


EPSS is an electronic proposal preparation and submission system. It aids proposers in preparing a complete, error-free and formally acceptable proposals. The use of the system is available free of charge for proposers: http://fp6.cordis.lu/fp6/subprop.cfm. EPT is an electronic proposal tool which can be used to fill the forms offline for Part A of the proposal. Once the forms are completed they may be uploaded to EPSS.

EPSS may be used by consortia members to individually enter administrative information in Part A , and the co-ordinator, to assemble the entire proposal, and submit it to the Commission. Thus different types of forms need to be used depending on your role in the consortium. Throughout the process the members of the consortium are able to view the whole proposal.

To use EPSS to prepare and submit a proposal the coordinator must register to use the system. Registration may be initiated from the call information page. The specific call, type of instrument and mode of proposal preparation (EPSS or EPT) has to be specified. A separate registration should be completed for each proposal. After the coordinator registers, a user name and password will be sent to the coordinator to the email address specified. A different user name and password will also be sent for use by the other partners.

Project Plan

The project plan is the first stage of IST participation: during its preparation the consortium's objective, implementation plans, budget, etc. are developed in detail.

The structure of the project plan may vary depending on the type of action. You should refer to the information pack of the actual call for proposals. The guides for proposers give instructions on filling out the required forms and structuring the varies parts of the project description (Part B or the proposal).

Part A contains the participants administrative details, the signatures and the budget of the project plan.

Part B contains the project summary, strategic objective addressed / relevance of the project, the projects objectives and potential impact, the description of the consortium and its resources, project management plans, and the project implementation plan.

Evaluation Process and Criteria

Upon submission via EPSS proposals are automatically validated to identify any formal problems, which are promptly reported to the coordinator, or in case of a successful submission a confirmation is issued. The coordinator may, however, choose to resubmit newer versions up to the call deadline. After the call deadline the Commission will send and acknowledgement of receipt letter.

Later on in the evaluation process an eligibility check will be performed by the Commission. Eligible proposals are then evaluated by experts based on certain criteria common to the Sixth Framework programme as described in the Guidelines on Proposal Evaluation and Selection Procedures and the Rules for Participation:

  • scientific and technological excellence and the degree of innovation;
  • ability to carry out the indirect action successfully and to ensure its efficient management, assessed in terms of resources and competences and including the organisational arrangements laid down by the participants;
  • relevance to the objectives of the specific programme;
  • European added value, critical mass of resources mobilised and contribution to Community policies;
  • quality of the plan for using and disseminating the knowledge, potential for promoting innovation, and clear plans for the management of intellectual property.

Additional call specific considerations are included in the call information pack in the Guidance Notes for Evaluators.

Based on the results of the evaluation the Commission services rank the proposals. Proposals that do not reach the necessary rankings are rejected. Those that are ranked high enough are retained for negotiation. The proposers are notified of the decisions, and the contract negotiations may then begin.


EU IST Pro Contact information
National Office of Research and Technology http://www.nkth.gov.hu
NCP network http://www.cordis.lu/ist/ncps.htm
Finance Helpdesk http://www.finance-helpdesk.org
Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk http://www.iprhelpdesk.org
Ideal-IST network http://www.ideal-ist.net
Ideal-IST - Hungary http://istok.sztaki.hu/
BME OMIKK http://www.omikk.bme.hu/
Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation http://www.tetalap.hu/
University of Debrecen http://www.unideb.hu/rtd/index.html
IGLO - Informal group of RTD Liaison offices http://www.iglortd.org/
Hungarian Liaison Office Network http://www.nkth.gov.hu/main.php?folderID=435
Hungarian Office for Research and Development in Brussels http://www.iglortd.org/members/HUNOR/iglo-HunOr.htm