Data Management Plans for Horizon Europe and ERC Grants

Writing Data Management Plans (DMPs) is becoming increasingly relevant for applications to funding agencies. This is especially the case for Horizon Europe and grants by the European Research Council (ERC).

Since the summer 2021, the general model grant agreement for Horizon Europe is applied for forthcoming calls. The preparation of a DMP is now mandatory for all EU projects, not only ERC grants. In Horizon 2020 it was possible to use an opt-out option for not writing a DMP. In Horizon Europe the option no longer exists. Beneficiaries must establish a DMP and regularly update it.((European Commission, 2021, p. 111.)) And for the ERC as well “as from 2021 it is no longer possible for applicants to opt out of the submission of Research Data Management plans.” (( European Research Council, 2021, p. 4)) In order to receive funding at European level, a data management plan has to be written.

Templates for European DMPs

There are concrete guidelines on which topics should be included in a DMP for Horizon Europe. Namely, there is a DMP template for Horizon Europe. A longer process to improve the template for H2020 preceded this new DMP template.((Grootveld et al., 2018.)) Already in H2020 a quite high number of projects were working with DMPs.((Spichtinger, 2021a. See also Spichtinger, 2021b.)) The new template for Horizon Europe is based on this experience. All DMPs for Horizon Europe are to be processed in the form of this template.

The ERC has quite similar requirements for DMPs. But “the ERC does not prescribe a specific format for the DMPs that its grantees need to submit, because practices and standards differ widely across disciplines.”((European Research Council, 2021, p. 5))  Nevertheless, the templates for H2020 or Horizon Europe are recommended for usage by the ERC.

How to Write a European DMP?

If you need to write a DMP for Horizon Europe or the ERC you can do this in two general ways. First, it is possible to create a text document based on the template right away, i.e. transferring it into .odt, .docx or .txt. By this, you are able to fill in all the necessary information for your DMP. Nevertheless, if you work with partner applicants and collaboration partners sharing such a document can be prone to errors.

The second and more recommended way for writing a European DMP is to use an online tool. A couple of high-quality DMP Online Tools exist. We have listed them in the text section on DMPs. With these tools you can collaborate with others on DMP writings. And it is also possible to update the DMP continuously, which enables you to meet the requirements of the funding bodies.

With RDMO for MPG we offer all MPG researchers and their collaboration partners. In this service, we specially implemented the questionnaire for Horizon Europe, so you can immediately start with your new DMP for Horizon Europe or the ERC. Please do not hesitate to contact our RDMO support, if you need help or advise for this service.

Further Support

For general support at research grants and European applications, it is strongly recommended to contact your local grant officer or a similar institution at you Max Planck Institute. They are specialised in the topic of third-party funding applications and at the same time very familiar with the subject culture at your institute.

For specific question in the field of research data management also our RDM Support team at the Max Planck Digital Library can help you. Please contact them via this RDM Information Platform.

Further Reading

European Commission (2021): Horizon Europe (HORIZON) Euratom Research and Training Programme (EURATOM): General Model Grant Agreement EIC Accelerator Contract.

European Research Council (2021): ERC Work Programme 2022.

European Research Council (Ed.) (2021): Open Research Data and Data Management Plans – Information for ERC grantees.

Grootveld, M., Leenarts, E., Jones, S., Hermans, E., & Fankhauser, E. (2018): OpenAIRE and FAIR Data Expert Group survey about Horizon 2020 template for Data Management Plans. Zenodo.

Spichtinger, D. (2021a): Establishing a collection of 841 publicly available Horizon 2020 Data Management Plans. OpenAIRE, 22nd January 2021,

Spichtinger, D. (2021b): Data Management Plans in Horizon 2020: What beneficiaries think…