The Framework Programmes are the main instruments for funding research and innovation in Europe. With a budget of close to EUR 80 billion over the period 2014-2020, the eight European Framework Programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 aims to contribute to building a society and economy based on knowledge and innovation across the European Union (EU). Horizon 2020 puts an emphasis on strengthening the science base, boosting the technological leadership and innovation capability of the private sector and addressing the contribution of research and innovation to tackling societal challenges.
The European Commission’s Better Regulation policy adopted in 2015 aims at improving the quality of evidence-based policy-making. By evaluating, the European Commission services take a critical look at whether EU activities are fit for purpose and deliver, at minimum cost, the desired changes to European businesses and citizens and contribute to the EU’s global role. Evaluation also provides a key opportunity to engage stakeholders and the general public, encouraging feedback on how EU interventions are perceived. In line with the Better Regulation principles an interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 has been published in 2017 – after three years of implementation. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the programme at its mid-term based on five evaluation criteria: relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, coherence and European added value. This is the result of a long and in-depth work of the European Commission services over more than a year, based on multiple external studies, expert groups and internal analysis involving a wide set of methods like macro-economic modelling, counterfactual analysis, surveys, interviews, descriptive statistics, text mining, case studies, etc. and a broad stakeholder consultation. As an important component of evidence-based policy-making the evaluation will help improve the implementation of Horizon 2020 in its last Work programme 2018-2020 and will inform the design of future Framework Programmes.
The interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 shows that approximately 75% of all Horizon 2020 funding so far has gone to instruments supporting collaborative research and innovation, while the rest went to single beneficiaries through grants for excellent research or research and innovation projects of SMEs. Participants come from more than 130 countries, from multiple disciplines and sectors. The presentation will focus on the methodological approach taken for this interim evaluation with a specific focus on the assessment of collaborations, highlight the key challenges faced and the key lessons learned for the future.