After a Proposal is before a Proposal - Quo Vadis now? Creating a Horizon Europe Proposal Writing Team
The submission of our ACT-FAST proposal (~ ACCELERATING DEEP DIFFUSION OF DIGITAL SECURITY SOLUTIONS IN HIGH VALUE MANUFACTURING (S)ME ECOSYSTEMS ~ ) on Thursday 27 August marked a further milestone in our development as "...a trustworthy, deeply connected group of diverse world-class game changers, at all career stages, from multiple disciplines with a passion for innovation and addressing industrial and societal challenges. We collaborate in an open, adaptive and tribal network based on archetypal patterns of innovation success." Under the leadership of Maynooth University and strong participation of our new friends from VTT, Tel Aviv University, UniSmart, InfoTeam International and Vidzeme University we were able to submit a high quality proposal for a "really really" good idea. As a reminder "The vision of ACT-FAST is to establish, enable and accelerate learning communities, that share knowledge regarding digital security related incidents and risks, from TRL 3 to TRL 7. This will help members protect each other more robustly in SME/ME focused specific ecosystems. These communities will be enabled and supported by a decentralized open and free mobile technology solution. Community members autonomously control the degree of their anonymity. No sensitive information is made public and no sensitive information is stored. The provided technology solution will be subject to a recurring “cyber safety and privacy” certification." Evaluation feedback should be available within five months and we all hope that this greatly improved quality will lead to success - regardless of the outcome, our journey continues.
After a proposal is before a proposal and we are in an interesting situation where Horizon 2020 is running out, while the new calls expected from Horizon Europe are not available yet. Looking at the plans for Horizon 2020 we expect that, based on our competencies, the best area of focus might be the mission area "Smart Cities" (see https://ec.europa.eu/info/horizon-europe-next-research-and-innovation-framework-programme/mission-area-climate-neutral-and-smart-cities_en). Our related competencies are (among others) in the areas of accelerating innovation diffusion, digital security, ecosystems, high value manufacturing, and (polymath) cultures. Regardless of what the specific calls will thus need to gather the evidence for our skills in this area AND begin reflecting on what an excellent section for a relevant proposal might look like.
Starting point must be a deep understanding of the mission aim "A mission in this area will help us meet the goals and targets set out by international policy frameworks such as the COP21 Paris Agreement (https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris_en), the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (notably SDG11) (https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal11), the Urban Agenda for the EU (https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/urban-agenda-eu/what-urban-agenda-eu#:~:text=In%20the%20Pact%20of%20Amsterdam%2C%20the%20Ministers%20responsible,policies%2C%20and%20to%20strengthen%20...%20Weitere%20Artikel...%20) and the Habitat III New Urban Agenda (http://habitat3.org/wp-content/uploads/NUA-English.pdf) as cities play a key role in all of them."
My suggestion at this point is that we focus on two things (a) developing a deep understanding of the Horizon Europe Missions mentioned above, and (b) consolidating our method into a foundational journal article along the lines of the seminal article by Karl-Erik Sveiby "A Knowledge-based Theory of the Firm" (https://www.sveiby.com/article/A-Knowledge-based-Theory-of-the-Firm). The article will need to connect into the mission aims etc and will be the basis for the excellence section of a future proposal. Target journal is https://journals.sagepub.com/home/ihe and we should submit by mid-December.
Regardles of the specific call we answer and reflecting on our experiences with our COST, Knowledge Alliance, eCardinal and ACT-FAST proposals, it may be sensible to target a research focused proposal with a volume of €15m+ and a core group of perhaps 3-5 partners. Maybe there is even an opportunity to fund a research center aligned to one or more of our university partners - let knowledge circulate :)
Let us discuss and see what emerges - if you are interested in a firm role in the proposal writing team (and thus a solid role in the future work packages) let me know - do note that in order to be successfull we will need to dedicate effort to this and commit to that please.
Cheers and ever onwards
P.S. The image shows the "Crouching Boy" by Michelangelo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crouching_Boy) that was "hidden" inside a block of marble.