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3 Steps to Write a Successful Proposal and Secure Funding within the Blue Economy 🌊

3 Steps to Write a Successful Proposal and Secure Funding within the Blue Economy 🌊

Whether you work in academia or for a private company, securing funding is often crucial for initiating and granting the long-term success of your project. For students, researchers and academics, obtaining funding is vital for initiating new research and advancing scientific innovation. For businesses, funding availability is crucial for starting, growing, and maintaining their activities.

As the funding landscape is vast and diverse, your ability to navigate it will be vital for the successful identification of the most suitable opportunities for your specific project and ideas.

Mastering the art of crafting an impressive proposal is also essential to outshining the competition and successfully securing your selected funds.

To assist you in becoming a funding proposals expert, we have created a comprehensive guide that will support you through all the essential steps of proposal writing.

Step 1️⃣: Understand The Context And Regulatory Framework

To fully explore the funding options available in the context of the Blue Economy in the EU (and worldwide), it's important to have a good understanding of the legal framework within which each funding program operates.

Understanding these regulations and legal frameworks will help you gain insight into the funding sources, the purpose of the investment, and the global, European, or national objectives your project should adhere to. Here are some examples of key initiatives you should know about:

  • Global frameworks, such as United Nations SDGs and the International Maritime Organizations (IMO) regulations.
  • European frameworks, such as the Green Deal, Mission Oceans, Macro-regional strategies, Sea-basins strategies, and more.
  • European regulations, e.g.Nature Restoration Law (2022), Maritime Spatial Planning (2014), Common Fisheries Policy (2014), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008), Water Framework Directive (2000), and more.
  • National and local frameworks: National Blue Economy strategies, national regulations and roadmaps for blue economy, etc.


A strong grasp of these regulatory frameworks will not only help you choose the best funding program for your project but will also be useful in the stage of crafting a successful funding proposal.

Step 2️⃣: Identify The Most Suitable Funding Opportunities

When searching for funding programs, you will find numerous grant opportunities, including EU and national funding as well as private ones.

To narrow down your search, consider the scope and geographical reach of your project.

  • If you aim to collaborate internationally, you can explore EU subsidy programs like Horizon Europe, Interreg, or LIFE.
  • However, if you are focusing on a small-scale regional project or launching a marine start-up, you may want to look into funding opportunities from national or private organizations. Some examples of private organizations providing funding are NGOs, institutes (e.g., Marine Stewardship Council), research centres (e.g., Foras na Mara Marine Institute), foundations (e.g., Save our Seas Foundation), banks (e.g. La Caixa Foundation), trust funds, and more.


🇪🇺 EU funding

The European Union offers numerous opportunities to fund your projects in the blue economy realm. European funding calls are open for everyone, from individual researchers to larger research institutions, universities, SMEs, and consortiums.

Navigating the vast and complex EU funding landscape can be daunting. Finding the right subsidy call for your project is vital, as competition is harsh. The EU Funding and Tenders Portal will be your best ally when searching for funding programmes.

Here below are some of the EU funding programs tailored to marine and blue economy initiatives:

  1. The most ambitious EU funding program is Horizon Europe 2021-2027. The main goals of Horizon Europe are to boost innovation, tackle climate change, and achieve the Green Deal’s objectives. Horizon Europe offers funding opportunities for a wide range of marine sectors and blue economy initiatives.
  2. Under Horizon Europe, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fund research and innovation projects to boost the career of researchers through mobility and cutting-edge doctoral/postdoctoral training.
  3. Interreg Programmes, such as Interreg Europe which is an interregional cooperation program co-funded by the EU. Other regional programmes include Interreg NEXT MED and Interreg Euro-Med for the Mediterranean Sea area, Interreg Sudoe for the Southwest of Europe (Spain, part of France, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar).
  4. The European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) supports the EU Green Deal and a sustainable blue economy
  5. The LIFE Program for funding environmental and climate action initiatives.


Find out more about the next European funding calls available in our blog post here.

Step 3️⃣: Writing A Successful Proposal

Let’s go through the different stages of writing a proposal: before, during, and after the submission of the proposal.

🔹 Before Writing Your Proposal

Before kickstarting the writing process, there are a few things you should take care of:

  • Carefully read the call’s specific requirements and instructions (TRL level or level of technology’s maturity required, format of the proposal, deadlines, experts needed, etc.)
  • Check for the compatibility of your project with the call’s scope
  • Check the evaluation and award criteria of the call – this is important to highlight the key strengths of the proposal
  • Ask yourself if your idea is worth it (and sufficiently innovative!) and if you will be able to carry out the work


Most likely, after reading the call, you will come up with several doubts about the process, submission, etc. Remember to ask for clarification within the consulting period.

🔹 The writing process

To craft an excellent proposal, you need to ensure your proposal stands out among others. For this, you will need to demonstrate extensive knowledge of the topic, including an understanding of current issues and challenges that your project can help overcome.

Your proposal will need to entail all the following aspects:

  • Description and context: Outline the project idea and the main topic, including an analysis of the policy framework (see Step 1 above). This is where you demonstrate your understanding of the topic.
  • Challenges addressed: Identify the current issues and challenges your project will address and how you will capitalize on the outcome of previous works/studies.
  • Inputs & Outputs: Describe what information and data you will collect and your main methodology (lab work, interviews, surveys, etc.), describe deliverables and outline the expected outcome.
  • Why we are in the best position to win this call: Focus on highlighting your skills, expertise, and ability to carry out the project. Present the CVs in an easy way to read.
  • Transversal key topics: Make sure your proposal touches on key topics such as gender balance, zero discrimination, carbon footprint reduction, etc.
  • Budget: Include a budget breakdown for the project, i.e., a description of all costs (personnel, material, travel, etc.) and funding required for each task.
  • Timeline: Provide a timeline to describe how your work will be carried out over time and the duration of each task. You should always allow sufficient time for revisions and to overcome any potential delays.
  • Risks and mitigations measures: Make a list of potential risks (internal and external to the management of the project) and make sure you have an efficient plan to overcome those potential risks.


🔹 The submission process

Don't forget to review your proposal for any typos (PRO tip: use AI tools!), and ensure that your references and links are accurate. Also, make sure your documents are in the right format (e.g., Word, PDF) and are easy to read. Be sure to submit your proposal before the set deadline.

👎 If your proposal is rejected, ask for feedback. It will be useful to improve your next one.

👍 If your proposal is accepted, congratulations! And do not forget to give your project the right visibility through social media outlets or by creating a website.

Some final tips for a successful proposal

When applying for funds for your project or organization, make sure you are selling your ideas to the evaluators of the proposal. Think like an evaluator!

In your proposal, avoid repetitions, provide context but be direct, make it easy to read, use figures and tables, and make sure you meet the call’s basic requirements.

For further insight into how to write a successful proposal watch this video.

We wish you the best of luck in navigating the #blueeconomy funding world!