Published the results of the preliminary evaluation of Horizon 2020

On 29 May the European Commission published the preliminary assessment of Horizon 2020. This evaluation aims to contribute to improving the implementation of Horizon 2020 in the latest 2018-2020 work program to provide evidence-based High-level expert group on ways to maximize the impact of research and innovation programs and support the design of future framework programs.

The interim evaluation has concluded that the reasons for intervention originally identified at the launch of the program as well as the objectives and challenges identified are still relevant in the light of the new political priorities. Even so, the EU continues to invest too little in R & D (3% of target R & D expenditure has not been achieved, although H2020 accounts for only a small share of total public R & D investment in Europe ) And the leap in innovation with key competitors continues to exist, although performance has improved. Although it is still early, new macroeconomic models estimate a significant socio-economic impact of H2020 (in the order of more than 400 trillion euros obtained in 2030). Horizon 2020 has supported technological developments and leading research and has allowed rapid reaction to important events such as the Ebola outbreak or the migratory crisis. The relevance of the program is shown in the constant interest in its highly competitive calls: more than 30,000 proposals have been submitted per year (compared to 20,000 FP7), a third of which comes from new applicants. Even so, more can be done to bring R & D closer to the public and further improve the relevance and impact of R & D.

It should be noted that simplification measures have significantly improved the functioning of the program, among others, the time for signing the contract with the Commission has been significantly reduced (192 days on average, 100 days faster than in FP79). Has resulted in very low success rates (11.6% versus 18.5% in FP7), leaving some items heavily underfunded (both in terms of participants and geographical representation).

In terms of effectiveness, evidence of this early stage of implementation indicates that some progress has been made towards the achievement of all Horizon 2020 objectives. Horizon 2020 is creating world-class science of excellence through, for example, The creation of multidisciplinary international networks, the training and mobility of researchers and the creation of research infrastructures. Likewise, it is currently generating results that contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives of social challenges. However, the program lags behind in the investment objective of sustainable growth and climate change. Even so, this expenditure represents a considerable increase compared to FP7.

However, a number of factors prevent full effectiveness in terms of market launch: technological and regulatory barriers, lack of standards and access to funds, and lack of consumer acceptance of new solutions. Also, while it has supported consolidated innovators, the program has not been able to identify and support new innovators who are developing novel solutions at the intersection of different sectors and technologies or who are able to create new markets and have the potential for rapid growth .

Horizon 2020 gives rise to demonstrable benefits compared to national and regional R & D support in terms of magnitude, speed and scope, notably through the creation of cross-border multidisciplinary networks; Combining resources and creating critical mass to meet global challenges. This increases the attractiveness of the EU as a place to conduct research. The main players consider that H2020 has more added value than other national or regional programs. The complementarity of the program with other subsidies is very high (83% of projects would not have gone ahead without the support of Horizon 2020).

News extracted from the Interim Evaluation Report of the EC web portal

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