Background of the pilot
A pilot on right-to-react or rebuttal in the evaluation procedure of proposals, for certain calls in the Horizon Europe 2021-2022 work programme, was announced for the second/third quarter in 2021. The experts reviewing the proposals would have to take into account the input provided by the applicants during the evaluation process in the final Evaluation Summary Reports (ESR) (Implementation Strategy for Horizon Europe p. 10 and 12).
The pilot and aim
In general the evaluation process for proposals can be divided into four subsequent main steps:
1. Individual evaluation
2. Consensus group
3. Panel Review
The right-to-react follows directly after the individual evaluation executed by expert evaluators. The applicants get a limited amount of time to respond to the comments drafted by the experts during the individual evaluation phase. The aim is to provide more detailed feedback to the applicants in an early phase of the evaluation procedure.
The pilot in practice
- Applicants (coordinators and consortium members – as was the case in the HORIZON-EIC-2021-PATHFINDEROPEN-01 call topic) will receive the anonymous reports of the experts.
- The tentative dates to provide feedback will be given in the call topic page on the Funding and Tender portal, usually under ‘topic updates’ or ‘call updates’. Please find the call topic pages via the hyperlinks of the four selected calls for the pilot below.
- The applicants will receive the information how to respond via their accounts on the Funding and Tender portal.
- The applicants’ reply cannot be longer than two A4 pages. ‘Please note that replies cannot be used to alter or add to the content of the proposals, but must strictly focus on responding to potential misunderstandings or errors by the evaluators.’
- Applicants will have from 5 up to 7 calendar days to respond. Please find the applicable duration on the call topic pages via the hyperlinks of the four selected calls for the pilot below or in the messages via your Funding and Tender portal account.
- The experts will need to take account of the replies from applicants during the consensus phase.
- There have been some technical issues on the Funding and Tender Portal with the rebuttal procedure for the call topic EIC Pathfinder Open, which were resolved quickly. These technical issues were communicated to applicants directly, but not via the Funding & Tender portal.
Four selected calls for proposals
So far four calls in the Horizon Europe work programme 2021-2022 were selected for this pilot:
- HORIZON-EIC-2021-PATHFINDEROPEN-01 Call deadline 25 May 2021. Launch of rebuttal (‘right-to-react’) procedure as from second half of July 2021.
- HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-02 Call deadline 22 July 2021. It was expected applicants would receive the rebuttal report between 28-07-2021 and 29-07-2021.
- HORIZON-CL6-2022-COMMUNITIES-02 Call deadline 15 February 2022 (First stage) and 6 September 2022 (Second stage). Only for applicants for whom the proposal passed the first stage. Launch of rebuttal (‘right-to-react’) procedure after the individual evaluation phase of the second stage.
- HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS-01 Call deadline 15 March 2022. It is expected applicants will receive the rebuttal report between 20-04-2022 and 21-04-2022.
Future of the pilot and evaluation
Please note the right-to-react/rebuttal procedure is not applicable to other Horizon Europe calls for the moment. If this pilot will be expanded to other Horizon Europe calls is not yet clear. If this pilot will be extended to other calls, it is expected the information on the rebuttal procedure will be taken up in the relevant call topic page(s) on the Funding and Tender portal, under ‘topic updates’ or ‘call updates’. It is expected the pilot will be evaluated.