Commission publishes interim evaluation of Horizon 2020

On 29 May 2017, the Commission published the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020, required by Article 32 of the regulation establishing Horizon 2020.

The interim evaluation wishes to contribute to improving the implementation of Horizon 2020 in its last Work Programme 2018-2020, to provide the evidence-base for the report of the High Level Group on maximizing the impact of EU Research and Innovation programmes and to inform the design of future Framework Programmes.

  • The main finding of this evaluation is that whereas the Horizon 2020 is meeting its objectives, it is still underfunded.
  • The evaluation shows that the programme has proven to be extremely attractive and demand to be very high. Participants to Horizon 2020 come from over 130 different countries and more than half are newcomers. Annually, the number of applications has increased by 65% compared to FP7, with 100,000 in total.
  • However, the evaluation also shows that this surge in demand for European funding also led to oversubscription and a drop in success rates, with some parts of the programme strongly underfunded. An additional EUR 60 billion would have been needed to support all the proposals that were scored "excellent" by independent evaluations.
  • Other areas for improvement that emerge from this evaluation include the need to stimulating and scaling-up breakthrough, market-creating innovation in particular by SMEs; and increasing the awareness and involvement of the general public in agenda-setting.
  • What the evaluation also shows is that Horizon 2020 highlights clear European added value in terms of economies of speed, scale and scope, producing demonstrable benefits compared to national and regional-level support. It even showed that 83% of projects funded would not have gone ahead without EU support.
  • It is important to keep in mind that the interim evaluation only provides an assessment of Horizon 2020 after its first three years. It is too early to talk about its final impact, while only less than 10% of the projects finished so far.


The interim evaluation was carried out according to the Commissionā€™s Better Regulation Guidelines, drawing on several external studies, independent expert groups and extensive internal analyses. An essential input into the exercise was the public consultation that closed in January 2017 and received close to 3500 responses and almost 300 position papers. The Commission Staff Working Document that contains the full interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 is structured around five criteria: coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, EU added value and relevance.

The interim evaluation also looks forward to future EU funding for research and innovation. The results and lessons are meant to help the Commission to design the final Horizon 2020 Work Programme (2018-20) and are supposed to provide the evidence base for the report of the High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research and Innovation Programmes. 

Next steps

  • 3rd July 2017: publication of High Level Group report and stakeholder conference in Brussels.
  • October 2017: publication of Commission communication on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. This will report on the key evaluation results including from the Art. 185 and 187 initiatives, the Commission's observations on the High-Level Group report, and will address the recommendations of the FP7 ex-post evaluation.

Date: 05/06/2017 | Tag: | News: 600 of 1574
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