The implementation strategy of Horizon Europe, the tool to design the rules, processes, systems, documents and guidance of the programme, should use the following principles to meet the needs of local authorities in energy transition:
A 2-step application phase should be widely introduced to ensure an effective use of resources among participants. Participants should submit a simplified project application in the first step and following an evaluation period of maximum two months, are to be informed whether they are invited to submit a full proposal.
The common performance indicators (Impact part of Horizon programme) should be simplified and adapted to the call priorities. A common methodology should be presented to allow a fair comparison of the indicators calculated by the different proposals that are bidding.
Relevant research and innovation results from Horizon Europe projects should be featured highly not only in the EU Commission’s agenda, but also in the agenda of other key institutions such as the EU Parliament or the Council. Moreover, EU research and innovation days have to be organized not only in Brussels, but also in every Member State to better disseminate results to national audiences. Finally, experienced networks of local authorities in the field should be used to improve outreach at local and regional level.
The Horizon Europe programme should build in this regard on the foundations laid by the Horizon 2020 programme. No drastic changes are necessary to the existing financial reporting procedures, as they have already worked well for local authorities. The current Annotated Model Grant Agreement for Horizon 2020 is clear and helpful and should be also used for Horizon Europe. We also recommend to have only one standard Model Grant Agreement for all funding programmes directly managed by the EU.