Creating your innovation concept & writing an excellent EU grant proposal

Thanks to 21 years of experience in understanding EU research policy and having supported over 400 EU funding proposals (average success rate across different EU R&D programmes: 26%), 3d Impact has the expertise to help you make an informed decision on obtaining grants for your innovation. Innovation means investment, risk and competition. The higher the risk, the more you need to define a clear strategy, find risk-sharing partners or look for external risk-funding. The path to success is to:Impact is where new technology provides solutions to societal needs, leading to economic growth.

  • plan your technology and product/service ambitions;
  • link ambitions to EU-policy drivers and/or establish routes to put your ambitions on the EU policy agenda;
  • determine knowledge and market access gap(s);
  • understand the positions of different stake-holders and pro-actively respond to their needs;
  • create partnerships for development;
  • build high-quality projects which respond to EU policy priorities;
  • have achievable deliverables and a clear route to market;
  • understand how to project-manage international collaborations.

These questions should be addressed before you can start designing your EU research funding proposal with any chance of success. 3d Impact works with you to brainstorm, develop, define and differentiate your innovation idea into a real concept. We support you in building a top-class EU research/innovation project through a 3-axle analysis of your idea:

  1. Is the technology innovative enough and suited for EU funding?
  2. What is the potential societal impact of your innovation?
  3. What is the potential economic gain of your idea for you and for Europe?

Together, we 'reverse-engineer' your innovation concept by starting from the European societal needs perspective and working backward to the research question(s) that should be addressed. That will tell you if it is worthwhile to apply for funding or whether you would waste your time. We brainstorm with you, give you honest advice and help you to create the best possible conditions to achieve your research innovation ambitions within a wider European societal context. Once you are happy with the innovation concept, it's time to create your top-class grant proposal. 3d Impact can support you in the following ways:

  • development and writing of part/all of the draft “Impact” chapter, including the 'Key Impact Pathways';
  • development and writing of part/all of the draft “Implementation” chapter (incl. work package structure, Open Access, gender dimension, IP, Data Management etc.);
  • close review of all parts of your draft proposal (societal/political and economic positioning of the proposal, scientific excellence, innovation level, internal structure and consistency, work packages & deliverables etc.);
  • identification and/or approach of possible collaboration partners;
  • building a well-balanced project budget;
  • taking care of administrative documentation gathering;
  • (full) process management of the application process;
  • uploading & submission of your EU grant proposal.

Consortium building

3d Impact is an impartial moderator of consortium meetings and will take care of all aspects of the meeting. We build a working multi-party collaboration and establish the role and added value of each participating organisation. This means that you can fully focus on presenting your idea and upholding your organisation’s research and commercial interests.3-foto Often the moderation of international consortium meetings is stressful: you have to work under time-pressure with people from different cultural, linguistic and technical backgrounds, each with their own technical and financial interests. As the one with the original idea, you have the highest stake in getting others to join your innovation vision. You would not be the first to sacrifice your own technical and commercial interests in order to keep other stakeholders on board. You would also not be the first to struggle in telling participants that do not really add value to the project that they cannot join your consortium after all. 3d Impact can help you build a trust relationship with potential project partners across Europe. As experienced consortium builder and event moderator, 3d Impact supports you in finding the right partners for your idea and build a cohesive and strong consortium with which to transform your project idea into a real funding proposal.

Planning your longer-term research grant success

If you have a clear vision on your innovation pathway and possibly even a strategy for research and future (industrial) upscaling, you still need to find the right connections to the EU policies that form the basis of the Calls that may fund your innovation. That is not always easy; policy development is a dynamic process and there are many interests involved. 5-fotoDefining an information and lobbying strategy that will lead to a funding Call that really addresses your idea, is therefore critically important. 3d Impact and its network partners can help you do that. We explain what specific EU policy jargon really means for your organisation and your innovation strategy and we show you how you can have influence on future funding Calls. Through our association with Europe’s leading research intelligence network ScienceBusiness (, 3d Impact can bring your vision close to EU decision makers. By raising your innovation’s visibility, we create funding opportunities rather than just responding to them.

 Managing your funded project with/for you

If achieving innovation in your scientific research or industrial development is what drives you, then probably the administrative and financial management of the funding towards the grant provider will not be your biggest hobby. However, not knowing or not spending sufficient time on what the grant provider expects from you in terms of technical and financial reporting can become a serious risk to your organisation. Having to give money back because of 'funding mismanagement' could seriously hurt your organisation. And it not only you: your project is a collaboration between partners who each have reporting obligations. If one of them fails, it may have consequences for the whole consortium up to the point that the whole project could be abruptly terminated. 3d Impact has been active as in-house coordinator of EU-funded projects (latest: since August 2018 overall project coordination of the H2020-Ecsel research project SECREDAS on "Cyber Security for Cross Domain Reliable Dependable Automated Systems" (consortium of 70+ partners). From September 2015 - November 2017 coordination of the H2020 BrightnESS project at the European Spallation Source in Lund) and has also helped numerous organisations who are struggling to complete their reporting requirements. We provide:

  • Interim or continuous day-to-day administrative/financial/organisational coordination of your funded Horizon Europe (HEU) or H2020 project. We can substitute for the project coordinator and/or become part of the project implementation team.  Our fee is fully reimbursable through the project’s 'personnel costs'-budget (work carried out as "in-house consulting by a natural person"), meaning that you keep your indirect cost reimbursement over my hours. We take care of all technical, administrative and/or financial reporting, amendments, management of the collaboration and meetings with the European Commission. We structure, align and file your project costs so that they meet the external auditing requirements. Together with you, we manage partner expectations, potential project delays and monitor compliance with Intellectual Property agreements between the partners.
  • If your organisation or one of your partners is struggling to correctly meet financial or administrative reporting requirements, this can affect grant payment to all project partners. 3d Impact can provide temporary support services to improve your reporting systems, re-align project costs and prepare all required documentation so that the overall project gets back on track again.

Further available project management support services are:

  • writing or implementation of  your dissemination or exploitation plan;
  • preparation of the Mid-term or Final Report to the EC;
  • moderating a Mid-Term review meeting;
  • interim staff replacement within the project's/organisation’s EU support office or compliance team.

Training on EU grant proposal writing

Whether you are completely new to EU grant funding or whether you have written and implemented grants projects before, you may still want to get the latest information and guidance on how to prepare the best possible EU application. Using our 21 years of experience of writing, guiding or managing EU grant proposals, 3d Impact provides high-quality 1-day or 2-day training sessions for individuals or groups (up to 30 people) on topics like:

  • getting into the right mind-set to write a top-class EU grant: understanding the political context of your grant application;training
  • when to get involved in EU grants, and when to say: 'no, thank you!';
  • what makes an excellent project: using the 8-step methodology to differentiate yourself;
  • demonstrating serious (!) Impact in your proposal, even in fundamental science projects;
  • how to find and manage your consortium;
  • preparing a well-balanced budget;
  • managing a Consortium Agreement negotiation;
  • intellectual property in EU grant proposals;
  • good administrative and financial project management;
  • dealing with project audits.

Targeted training can be provided on all parts of the Horizon Europe programme, e.g. Pillar 1 (ERC, MCSA, RIs), Pillar 2 (collaborative RIA and IA), Pillar 3 (EIC, EIT), as well as on EIC applications, the Trans European Networks Programme and the Digital Europe programme.

3d Impact trainings are highly interactive and conducted in an informal atmosphere. Your questions and project-related issues make every training different. As part of the training, we can also provide individual 'clinics' in which we discuss the scope, content, consortium and overall planning of your grant proposal(s).

Business Innovation Coaching

As a Small or Mid-sized company (SME) you are constantly looking for ways to improve your innovation and also to find new suppliers and clients. At the same time, upscaling your technology, optimising business processes, building new networks, sourcing new knowledge and developing a longer-term innovation and business strategy are not always easy. 3d Impact is an officially accredited EC/EASME business coach for SMEs. If you have already received grant funding through the European Commission's SME-Instrument Programme, then this coaching is even free of charge. We can support you from putting together a market analysis or establishing new key-business relations to helping you participate in strategic research projects across Europe. We use Technology and Product Roadmapping (Cambridge university's 'Strategic Technology Roadmapping' approach) in combination with Design-Thinking methodologies to help you achieve your innovation goals. Past project range from finding large industrial partners interested in upscaling of floating foundations for offshore windfarms, to analysing new markets for biodegradable polymers.

Innovation roadmapping

Innovation Roadmapping is a powerful strategy technique to understand and plan the technology requirements for your future products/services. The power of roadmapping lies in it flexibility: it shows you what you will need in terms of technical knowledge, staff capacity, collaboration partnerships and funds to achieve your aims. It also highlights potential internal and outside risks and additional opportunities that may impact the (intermediate) targets toward market introduction or market share expansion.

3d Impact uses the Cambridge University Technology Roadmapping methodology to work with key-stakeholders inside your organisation. A full strategic innovation roadmap (‘T-Plan’) is created through a series of workshops at multiple levels within the organisation and may take several weeks to several months to complete.

Our fast-track ‘S-Plan’ roadmap service only takes 1 day of workshops and maps out the strategic landscape in which the organisation and planned innovation is situated, the innovation aspects that need to be explored, the value proposition(s) that need to be further investigated and the strategic actions needed to move forward. The S-Plan roadmap gives you a clear understanding of the strategic implications of your innovation aim(s) and it creates buy-in from the stakeholders as they start to see the value of roadmapping. The S-Plan roadmap thus allows you to test the process before committing more resources toward a full T-Plan roadmap to develop a specific product/service idea.

3d Impact can guide you through all aspects of the roadmapping process. The result of its T-Plan and S-Plan workshops are highly sophisticated roadmaps in which often complex and interconnected information and scenarios are presented in effective visual outputs and narratives which you can use internally and externally to communicate your innovation strategy and build consensus and buy-in.

Why don’t you start mapping your business future and let 3d Impact help you to get there…

NIH-logoUS NIH grant funding

The US NIH (National Institute of Health) grant programme has over 6.000 ongoing projects related to biomedical research at any one time, many of them with participation of foreign institutes as so-called sub-recipients. Around 500 NIH research projects are also led by foreign institutes from across the world. In pre-award and post-award management, the NIH programme differs substantially from EU H2020. If your institute wants to be involved in NIH, it needs to be well-prepared to handle the more complex requirements on technical reporting, financial administration, risk handling and auditing.

  • ...want to know more on how you can prepare your institute to become part of an NIH project?
  • ...want to identify new possibilities to connect to US universities and become a sub-recipient research partner?
  • ...want to improve internal post-award admin and/or financial handling processes & auditing preparations to meet Lead-Institute requirements?
  • ...want to move from being a foreign institute sub-recipient to a NIH project Lead-partner, but finding it difficult to navigate the special requirements and processes?

Ask 3d Impact! Since 2019 we have the experience and the network with many US institutes to help you increase your institution's research funding stream using the NIH programme. We can provide training for PIs (pre-award) and for Research Support Office (pre- and post-award) staff, and support you in identifying suitable Calls and potential US Lead institutions. We can also provide consultancy to better prepare you for NIH audit requirements and we can help to set up the infrastructure to start preparing for a Lead-role in an NIH project.