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  • Amy Murphy

Understanding Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) for EU Funding: A Comprehensive Guide

This comprehensive article explores the concept of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) in-depth, discussing its diverse applications and emphasizing its importance in obtaining EU funding. Gain valuable expert insights, tips, and a step-by-step guide to accurately assess your TRL for successful proposal submissions.

Grant Proposal writing

Innovation plays a pivotal role in driving progress and growth, and securing funding is often the crucial first step towards bringing new ideas to life. In this regard, Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) serve as a vital metric for assessing technological maturity and are instrumental in obtaining EU funding. This article explores the significance of TRLs in securing EU funding in Horizon Europe EU funding programmes, and provides expert insights and tips to optimize your funding proposals.

Understanding TRLs and Their Importance:

TRLs, or Technological Readiness Levels, provide a standardized scale (ranging from 1 to 9) to gauge the maturity of a technology. By determining the level of readiness before large-scale implementation, TRLs enable effective decision-making and risk assessment for investors, project managers, and grant evaluators. The scale spans from the initial conceptual stages to the fully developed and market-ready phase.

Benefits of TRLs for EU funding

The TRL system offers numerous advantages for securing EU funding. Firstly, it provides a standardized approach for evaluating technology maturity, fostering a common language among stakeholders. This enables effective communication and understanding of technological readiness. Secondly, TRLs allow project managers to identify and mitigate potential risks early in the development process, ensuring thorough testing and validation before large-scale deployment. Moreover, TRLs serve as planning tools, assisting project managers in setting realistic goals and identifying key milestones. While TRLs have limitations, such as broad definitions and the exclusion of certain factors, they still prove valuable in decision-making and risk management.

How TRLS are important for Horizon Europe Funding Programs

TRLs play a crucial role in Horizon Europe funding programs in its pillars 1 and 2, making them even more relevant for applicants. With an allocated budget of approximately €95.5 billion for 2021-2027, Horizon Europe is one of the world's largest research and innovation funding programs. TRLs are specifically incorporated into the program to align applicant expectations with call topics and determine project eligibility.

In Pillar 2, TRLs are used to distinguish between Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) based on their required maturity level. This distinction helps align project proposals with specific objectives and funding priorities. In Pillar 3, which focuses on innovation, TRL requirements are integrated into the calls for European Innovation Council (EIC) grants.

The EIC program offers three main funding opportunities: Pathfinder, Transition, and Accelerator, each with its own TRL requirements.

  • The EIC Pathfinder grant supports early-stage technological development, targeting TRL levels 1 to 4. It aims to nurture emerging breakthrough technologies through further research and development.

  • The EIC Transition grant supports technologies beyond the proof of principle stage, requiring TRL 3 or 4, with the goal of validating their feasibility and advancing them to TRL levels 5 to 6.

  • The EIC Accelerator grant is designed for innovations at TRL levels 5 to 6, up to TRL 8, to facilitate scaling up and market introduction.

When applying for funding through Horizon Europe, evaluators carefully assess the TRL requirements of the specific call and evaluate project proposals accordingly. It is vital for applicants to effectively demonstrate the TRL level of their innovation and ensure alignment with the TRL requirements of the chosen call. By addressing the TRL aspect accurately in their project proposals, applicants significantly increase their chances of securing funding from Horizon Europe and advancing their innovative projects.

Tips for Optimizing TRL Assessment in Funding Proposals

To optimize your funding proposals, it is crucial to assess your project's TRL accurately.

Tip 1: Start by defining the problem your technology addresses and the scope of your project.

Tip 2: Describe your technology in detail, highlighting its current TRL level, differentiating features, and advantages over existing solutions.

Tip 3: Identify the gap between your technology's current TRL and the desired end goal to showcase the need for your project.

Tip 4: Establish measurable quality goals and outline criteria for assessing their achievement.

Tip 5: Support your claims with evidence, such as previous trials, case studies, or relevant research.

Tip 6: Stay updated on technological advancements and the ecosystem within your innovation domain to incorporate the latest developments into your TRL assessment.


Understanding TRLs is crucial for securing EU funding and bringing innovative ideas to life. TRLs provide a standardized metric for evaluating technological maturity, facilitating collaboration and decision-making throughout the innovation lifecycle. By aligning your project with the appropriate TRL requirements, you increase your chances of receiving EU funding. Remember to optimize your funding proposals by accurately assessing your project's TRL, defining the problem, describing your technology, identifying gaps, setting quality goals, and staying informed about technological advancements. By leveraging TRLs effectively, you can enhance your funding prospects and propel your project forward.


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Futuro Perfecto’s expertise lies in European program funds such as Horizon Europe, EIC Accelerator, and other collaborative European programs, providing resources to top startups & SMEs. We also assist startups in securing private investments and funding round support. Our services encompass a wide range of offerings aimed at providing comprehensive support and value to our clients.

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