The European Commission has recently launched a pilot evaluation process within the EIC Pathfinder programme under the so-called “Rebuttal Phase”

The objective of the evaluation process, a novelty within the Work Programme this year, enables candidates to receive comments from independent experts on their application submitted under the EIC Pathfinder open call, which recently closed on the 25th of May 2021.

The evaluation process of the EIC Pathfinder can be summarised as follows:

  • Remote Phase: Four independent experts (Remote Experts) provide their comments and assign scores following the established criteria (Excellence, Impact and Implementation)
  • Rebuttal Phase: Consortia are invited to respond, where applicable, to the rebuttal phase taking into consideration the comments provided by the experts from the Remote Phase. Consortia are invited to respond within 7 days from receipt of the Draft Evaluation Summary Report.
  • Cross-reading: Four other experts will review the project proposal, the Draft ESR and the responses from the consortia from the Rebuttal Phase
  • Panel Meeting: This phase subsequently publishes the Ranking List in relation to the call of the EIC Pathfinder Open. Combining inputs of both the Remote Experts and the Cross Readers, an average is calculated following the evaluation criteria (Excellence 60%; Impact 20%: Implementation 20%).

Consortia will receive the final results of the Evaluation Summary Report by the 25th of October 2021.

In which scenario(s) is it applicable to respond to the Rebuttal Phase?

 The collection of comments received on behalf of the independent experts at the Remote Phase can highlight potential misunderstandings or factual errors with regards to the submitted proposal.

For example, evaluators may have misjudged the number of SMEs involved within the project or other aspects and specific facts/arguments of the proposal submitted that is interpreted erroneously by the evaluators.

It should be noted that consortia are not obliged to respond the evaluators comments in the Rebuttal Phase, but should take the opportunity to clarify factual errors that may have arisen during the evaluation stage.

How to reply to the Rebuttal Phase?

 The Commission has not provided an official template to respond to the comments made by the evaluation experts, yet have stipulated formatting requirements for submission as described in the Call Updates section of the topic:

HORIZON-EIC-2021-PATHFINDEROPEN-01; rebuttal procedure
Please note that the following formatting conditions apply to the two pages limit reply:
The reference font is Times New Roman (Windows platforms), Times/Times New Roman (Apple platforms) or Nimbus Roman No. 9 L (Linux distributions).
The minimum font size allowed is 11 points. Standard character spacing and a minimum of single line spacing is to be used.
All margins (top, bottom, left, right) should be at least 15 mm

Consortia are given 7 days to respond from the date of issue of the Draft ESR. For the first round of Draft ESRs issued on the 20th of July, submissions will be accepted by no later than the 27th of July 2021.

Candidates may upload various draft version of the document related to the rebuttal procedure as many times as necessary, however final submission can be done only once.

Tips from the Access2EIC Team:

 Candidates should respond to the Draft ESR during the rebuttal phase only when necessary. In case of minor shortcomings identified by the evaluators, it is not necessary for the candidate to respond during the Rebuttal Phase;

  • In case of conflicting statements within the ESR, candidates should take the opportunity to clarify making reference to the proposal text and highlighting factual errors made by the evaluators;
  • It is recommended to quote text from the project proposal and/or page number to respond to comments from the evaluators
  • Candidates are not permitted to add additional information or content that is not already present within the submitted proposal, nor can you request changes with regards to evaluators. Instead, candidates are invited to highlight extracts from the proposal text to clarify and directly respond to evaluator comments.