In a typical case, ERC POC proposal, which failed the first time, usually needs work on five points
1.The innovation needs to be introduced bit closer to the markets, so that one describes the application and its added value to potential customers. Also the drivers for the commercialisation, i.e. market needs, are important.
Think about who would be the end-user of the innovation and what benefit he gets. Why would he purchase this innovation? How many of such end-users there would be? Are you able to supply directly to this person or can you team up with a big supplier? Do you think this big supplier would be the customer?
2.The business case needs strengthening => one needs to discuss the short and long-term strategy how to take the innovation to markets. It is okay, if it is out-licensing type of a commercialisation strategy, but some details need to be laid out.
Try to think short-term and middle term. What is possible to attain in terms of first sales given your knowledge and the technology readiness level? Who are the pilot customers? If you get more resources for development, who would you target?
3.The work plan contains no pre-commercialisation actions or too much lab work on the actual innovation.
Introduce a work package, which supports the commercialisation strategy. Usually one does market research actions, selects first customer segments, seeks feedback and plans for the market entry strategy or carries out resource planning.
4.The impact must be strengthened, so that the evaluator says his employer definitely should fund the project.
Start from the market need. Which European policies, challenges, priorities etc. are supporting the case? Give numbers.
5.The first proposal section should contain all the important points already, in order to impress the evaluator and set the positive tone. Typical mistake here is that one discusses the innovation too much in detail.
Have the first section parts as a summary answering the questions: What market need we are targeting? Why is the innovation relevant? What is actually innovative here? How does it compare to the market? What impact are we after? What is the project all about?