The main conclusions of this Communication will serve as a basis for the legal proposals for the post-2020 EU research and innovation programme that the Commission is expected to come up with by mid-2018.
The key findings from the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 are as follows:
- Horizon 2020 is attractive and relevant. Participants come from the best institutions and companies in and outside Europe, covering a wide range of disciplines.
- The programme offers unique collaboration and networking opportunities.
- Horizon 2020 is on track to contribute significantly to the creation of jobs and growth.
- Excellence as the core underlying principle ensures quality.
- The leap in simplification has paid off.
- Horizon 2020 has shown clear EU Added Value.
- Horizon 2020 is delivering value for money.
- The evaluations of Horizon 2020-supported partnership initiatives show how effective they are in leveraging significant additional private and public funding and in aligning R&I priorities across Europe.
The possible improvements and orientations for the future reflect the recommendations of the so-called “Lamy report” by the independent High-Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation programmes chaired by Pascal Lamy:
- Horizon 2020 is found to be underfunded – its increased attractiveness and continued relevance has resulted in large-scale oversubscription (a success rate of only 11.6% compared to 18.5% for FP7).
- Horizon 2020 has made great progress in terms of simplification compared to FP7, but simplification is an ever continuing undertaking, requiring constant improvements.
- Thanks in part to the EU Framework Programmes, Europe is a global scientific powerhouse. However, it does not perform at the same level in innovation.
- There is a need for greater impact and more outreach to citizens.
- Synergies already exist between Horizon 2020 and other EU programmes, such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), external relations instruments, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Still, they should be further strengthened and made more efficient and effective.
- While Horizon 2020 has a broad international outreach and openness to the world, third-country participations declined when compared to FP7, so international cooperation needs to be further intensified in order to continuously strengthen Europe's R&I excellence and competitiveness and solve global societal challenges.
- There is a need to build on the great progress made in terms of making the scientific publications and data generated by Horizon 2020 openly accessible to the wider scientific community and public.
- A key area for improvement is the rationalisation of the Horizon 2020 funding landscape. This applies in particular to the landscape for partnership instruments and initiatives.
Overall, the Commission welcomes the recommendations of the Lamy High Level Group and will consider them in the design of the next Framework Programme.
For more information, the full Communication published by the Commission can be found here.