Find partners

Get tips on how to find partners for your proposal.

If you want to apply to take part in a new IHI project, one of your first tasks will be to find or build an applicant consortium, and to do this, you will need to find partners. This page provides some tips on how to go about this.

Start early

Putting together a consortium takes time. We publish draft information on call topics several weeks before the call launch. As soon as you see a topic that could be relevant for you, you should get to work.

Be proactive and be prepared to invest time and energy

Whether you are leading the formation of a consortium, or trying to find and get into an existing consortium, you should be prepared to invest significant amounts of time and energy in the exercise. You will also need to be extremely proactive in terms of reaching out to potential partners and explaining why you would be a good partner for their consortium.

The call text can help you here, as it sets out the expertise expected of the consortium. Analyse the information in the call text and determine, in as much detail as possible, what and how you and your organisation could contribute to the project in terms of skills, expertise, resources, and experience. When you get in touch with potential partners, you should highlight the areas where your involvement would be valuable.

You should also flag up to potential partners your experience of working in large, multidisciplinary, international projects, including EU and IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative, the fore-runner to IHI) projects, or other publicly-funded projects.

Where to look for partners

Use your contacts - The most effective way of getting into a consortium is to use your existing professional and personal contacts.

Network and make a pitch at the IHI Call Days and via our brokerage platform - For each call for proposals, IHI organises 'Call Days' via a platform which allows participants to identify and set up meetings with fellow participants. The Call Days also include pitching sessions where participants can promote themselves as a coordinator of a consortium, for example. Information on each edition of the Call Days is published on the events page.

Network at other events - Events that bring together leaders in your field are an excellent place to find partners – use the coffee breaks, receptions, and any other tools to link up with fellow participants (e.g. many events have registration systems and / or apps for smartphones that include a networking module).

Use online partner search tools - There are a number of partner search tools that allow you to enter your areas of expertise and find relevant partners.

  • As mentioned above, the IHI Call Days platform features a brokerage tool that allows users to create a profile and search for and contact potential partners for ongoing calls. The platform remains open for new registrations and matchmaking even after the info sessions have finished.
  • The Partner Search tool on the Funding and Tenders Portal.
  • Once a topic is published on the Funding and Tenders Portal as part of an IHI Call for proposals, organisations can publish their interest and expertise on the topic page.

Use social media - You can advertise your interest in a call for proposals via social media platforms such as LinkedIn or X/Twitter.

Can IHI help me identify partners?

We cannot help individual organisations to find partners – our calls for proposals are competitive and providing personal assistance to some organisations and not others would represent a conflict of interest. We are also unable to put organisations in contact with partners from ongoing projects.

How many partners should our consortium have?

Two points should be considered here – the legal viewpoint and more practical aspects. From a legal point of view, most IHI projects must have a minimum of three partners based in three different EU Member States or countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. At least one partner must be from an EU Member State. The exact rules for each call for proposals are set out in the call documents and you should read these carefully. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria for the call will be rejected and will not even be reviewed by the expert reviewers.

In practice, in order to carry out the work required to achieve the project objectives, most projects will require more than three partners. The exact number will depend very much on the size and scope of the project. The important thing is to demonstrate to the reviewers that your consortium contains all the expertise and resources required to deliver what is expected of it, as set out in the call documents, while avoiding unnecessary redundancy between partners.