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Success factors of Horizon 2020 projects: introducing modular project management services

July 19 2017

At ttopstart we are always looking for ways to better fit our services to the client’s needs. To learn more about the needs of our clients, we held a survey under selected H2020 participants and project coordinators in health-related topics. With a very nice response rate of 24%, we learned several things that, made us expand our Programme Leadership services.

Success factors of H2020 projects

The respondents were asked to rank several factors on their importance for successful H2020, which revealed that ‘having a collective goal’ is the most important factor for a successful H2020 project. Effective management of the project was also given high importance.  Furthermore, the respondents shared factors that they deemed particularly important for the success of their consortia. Chief among them was effective communication (among others, ‘getting together face-to-face’, ‘regular face-to-face meetings’, ‘face-to-face meeting between lead contacts’). Other aspects included ‘quality and complementarity of partners’, ‘complementarity not overlapping’ and ‘high competence of partners’.

Not equally engaged

The respondents were asked what the general problems were that they encountered H2020 consortia. Notably, 69% of the respondents identified ‘not all partners were equally engaged’ as a problem they encountered. Other issues included ‘EU rules, regulations and inflexible ICT system’, ‘delays in contracting’ and ‘lack of experience of some partners’.

Experience in project management

Of the coordinators that included a company specifically for project management, almost 40% of those companies were chosen for their service because they also assisted in writing the proposal. Of coordinators that manage their project themselves, almost half would have outsourced project management tasks, in hindsight. The respondents were asked to rank the most important aspects for choosing a particular project management service company, the aspect ‘experience in project management’ was ranked most important, followed by ‘project management also offers strategic involvement before and after the project’.

Full service versus modular services

The respondents were asked which modules they would use if a project management services company would offer modules. Of all respondents, 52% would outsource ‘EC reporting’, followed by ‘Grant agreement preparation and ‘Financial management’ (51%), ‘EC amendments’ (45%), ‘Organise meetings and teleconferences (38%), ‘legal management’ (37%), IP and exploitation activities (18%) and Clinical trial management (7%). A mere 14% would outsource none of the mentioned modules.

The added value of project-management methods

The respondents were asked if they thought that a well-defined project management method (such as Prince2) would be valuable in subsidized projects. Only 10% of all respondents did not think such a tool is valuable.


Based on these results, we have created two customer services to fit all needs:

  • Full service with partnership. The full service consists of assistance in the grant application and management of the (granted) H2020 project.
  • Modular service, such as EC reporting, Grant Agreement preparation, Financial Management, EC amendments, Organise meetings and teleconferences, dissemination and exploitation activities.
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