12 April, Brussels – A report for the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee has called for a more rigorous evaluation procedure for Horizon 2020 proposals, with greater transparency for first time applicants regarding their chances of success.
Since the launch of Horizon 2020, there have been complaints regarding low success rates. Whilst lauded as an improvement on FP7, MEPs are still critical of Horizon 2020 for having rules which are too complex for SMEs, as well as for providing insufficient feedback on proposals which could improve chances for re-submission.
In an attempt to ease frustration at low success rates, the Commission introduced a ‘Seal of Excellence’, for those projects that are marked as Excellent, but still do not receive funding. The Seal is intended to act as a mark to attract investment from elsewhere, particularly from Regional Fund managers. However, ITRE have so far found little evidence of success, and request greater guidance from the Commission on how to mobilise Structural and Regional Funds, and also how to combine these funds with Horizon 2020 funding.
Like FP7, Horizon 2020 has been dominated by researchers and institutions in West European countries, and ITRE call for greater involvement of Southern and Eastern partners. Current efforts, including teaming, twinning and the ERA Chairs scheme, have been allocated insufficient budget to engage these countries, the report says.
MEPs have also called for improvements to the SME Instrument, and believe that there should be mandatory interviews for applicants and that there needs to be more communication regarding the chances of success (as low as 6%), so that applicants can make a realistic assessment of whether to submit their proposals or not.
Click to see the ITRE Report, ‘Scrutiny in Horizon 2020’