Hands-on & participant centred training with ‘post-care’ offer. This training can be delivered IN-HOUSE at you premises. The training content and duration is tailor made to suit your organisation/company needs.

The challenge-based Horizon 2020 is the largest programme of publicly funded Research & Innovation in the EU. Within, the newly published Work Programme of Societal Challenge ‘Clean, Secure and Efficient Energy’ 2018-2020 opens many excellent funding opportunities requiring excellent research and innovation collaborative actions across Europe devoted to building a low carbon, climate resilient future.

The training “Mastering the art of preparing an excellent proposal in the energy challenge (2018-2020)” by XLNCE Consultancy, was developed to give the participants the benefits of:

  • Strengthening your knowledge on preparing a successful project
  • Increasing your skills with efficiency of the overall grant preparation process, and
  • Deepening your understanding on the H2020 Energy Challenge call
  • ‘On-site’ project ideas outline review & recommendations from the XLNCE Consultancy Expert
  • ‘After-care’ of project idea outline check by e-mail within 2 weeks after the training date


This training is highly recommended for professionals from academia, researchers, research support services, SMEs, start-ups, large companies, public administration, professional associations, NGOs, consultancy companies, with some familiarity of the Horizon 2020 programme.

Details of the event

Day 1 program

08:30-09:00 Arrival & Registration

09:00-09:15 Welcome and event opening

09:15-09:30 Participants ‘Tour de Table’

09:30 – 10:00 Grand Tour of Horizon 2020

Presentation: Programme Purpose; Structure of Pillars: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership; Societal Challenges; Main Rules; Funding Rates; Types of Action (Research & Innovation; Innovation; Coordination & Support); Partnership Requirements; Application Procedure (Forms and the Electronic system); Work Programmes and Call for Proposals; H2020 Interim Evaluation Key Results.

10:00 -10:30 Navigating through the Energy Challenge Work Programme 2018-2020

Presentation Clean Secure and Efficient Energy Societal Challenge: Aim, Policy Background and Challenge; Activities Focus Areas; Call for Proposals Overview; Call Topics Content: Specific Challenge, Scope, Expected Impact, EU Funding, Type of Action, Information Resources.

10:30-10:50 Refreshment break

10:50-11:30 Group Work 1 “How to develop a project idea matching a call topic”

Participants are given instructions and divided into small groups to learn a technique to fast analyse a call topic, extract the most valuable information to be addressed in a project proposal, evaluate suitability of a call topic for different project ideas.

11:30-12:30 Group Work 2 “Developing a project idea outline”

Participants are given instructions and project idea outline template, to exercise a way of quickly putting together ideas on paper for a concept that covers all the core elements as basis of further proposal development.

12:30-13:00 Discussion of Group Work results

13:00-14:00 Networking Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 Preparing a winning project: Technical and Scientific Excellence, Impact, Implementation


  • Excellence: Developing SMART Objectives, Addressing the Specific Challenge and Scope of a Call Topic, Defining Target Groups and Key Actors, Explaining the Overall Concept and Methodology.
  • Impact: Addressing the: Contribution to the Expected Impact, Quantification Baseline, Benchmarks, Assumptions, Measures to Maximise Impact (Tips for: Dissemination and Exploitation plan; Communication Measures).
  • Implementation: Effective Work Plan aligned with the Objectives, composing a Pert Diagram, timing of Work Packages – Gantt Chart, Defining Deliverables, Project Management.

15:00-15:20 Refreshment break

15:20-15:50 Building a strong Consortium: roles, complementarity, management, decision making

Presentation explaining what makes a strong consortium, do’s and don’ts on role of partnerships, management structures, decision-making procedures.

15:50-16:10 Project Best Practices for: planning, milestones and risks

Presentation: examples of strong/weak project planning; best practices in: defining milestones, describing risks and mitigation measures.

16:10-16:30 Effective Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation routes for outcomes

Presentation: Communication Strategy, Tools & Channels, Activities; tips for what makes good Communication; Communication vs Dissemination; Routes to Exploitation of Results.

16:30-16:50 Good practice in estimating resources and preparing budget

Presentation with real examples of distributing resources in the Consortium; typical mishaps in budget development.

16:50 – 17:00 Q&A

Day 2 program

08:30-09:00 Arrival

09:00-09:30 Learning from examples of successfully funded projects from H2020 – Energy (2016-2017)

Presentation with highlights from recent H2020- Energy projects having overall excellence to be selected for funding.

09:30-12:30 Group Work 3 “Crafting a successful project step by step” using the H2020 project development canvas.

Hands-on exercise where participants work in small groups around the H2020 project development canvas. The canvas is purpose-adapted for an H2020-Energy project. excellent proposal. Emphasis is given to achieving overall excellence and tackling innovation.

(10:30-10:50 Refreshment break)

12:30-13:00 Discussion of Group Work results

13:00-14:00 Networking Lunch

14:00-14:30 Understanding the Evaluation Process & Award Criteria

Presentation from an experienced H2020 Evaluator.

14:30 – 15:00 From an Evaluator’s perspective: Advice ‘How to increase chances for success!’

Presentation from an experienced H2020 Evaluator with typical mishaps in proposals leading to lower score; advice for b results in each evaluation criteria.

15:00-15:20 Refreshment break

15:20-16:30 Group Work 4 “Ask the Expert”: project ideas review & recommendations

XLNCE Consultancy Expert provides ‘on-site’ review with recommendations.

Post-Care Offer for the Participants included in the training fee: project idea outline check by e-mail within 2 weeks after the training date.

16:30-17:00 Final Q&A, Training Certificates and closure of event

Training providers

Irena is the founder of XLNCE Consultancy and has 14 years of extensive hands-on experience with EU funded (FP7, Intelligent Energy Europe, ERA-NET ERACOBUILD, Leonardo Life Learning Programme and Horizon 2020) research and innovation projects (from developing proposals to project implementation and coordination).

She has worked in research organisations in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium and has been project proposals evaluator, reviewer and expert group member for the European Commission in the Horizon 2020.

She brings to the training the extensive experience with project proposals preparation from ‘A to Z’, in depth knowledge of the Horizon 2020 and the Energy Challenge programme, and inside knowledge on the evaluation process, criteria and success factors.

Irena is an architect with a MSc in Environmental Science and has PhD in Energy in Buildings.
Her thematic fields of expertise include: Very Low / Nearly Zero / Energy Positive Buildings; Deep Renovation; Renewables; Built-in Photovoltaics; Smart Cities and Communities; Construction Skills.

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/irenakondratenko/

Practical information


The training can take place in Gent or as an IN-HOUSE at your organisation/company premises.

The location in Gent is at the ‘Donjon’ meeting room, Hotel Gravensteen. See photos below.
Address: Sint Veerleplein, 9000 Gent, Belgium. The hotel is situated in the historic centre of Gent and is easily accessible from Brussels Centre (35 min by train), by car and public transport (Tram 1 from the train station Gent Sint-Pieters with frequent trains to and from Brussels / Brussels International Airport).

Information about accommodation and visit Gent



XLNCE gravensteen meeting room

CONTACT: irena@xlnce.eu for further details on an IN-HOUSE training arrangement and training price.


  • Training material in English (electronic version)
  • Balanced mix of presentations, use of real-life project examples, time for questions, and interactive work in groups
  • ‘On-site’ project ideas outline review & recommendations from the XLNCE Consultancy Expert
  • ‘After-care’ of a project idea outline check by e-mail within 2 weeks after the training date
  • Training Certificate.


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After completing the registration, the applicant receives an electronic pro-forma invoice via e-mail. The full training fee must be paid until a maximum of (5) five calendar days prior to the start of the training course. If the payment is not received in time, the applicant will not be allowed to participate to the training. Payment shall be made by bank transfer to the XLNCE Consultancy as per details shown on the pro-forma invoice. The original e-Invoice will be sent to the participant once the full training fee payment has been received on the XLNCE Consultancy bank account.

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