EU funding for research and innovation attracts ever more interest, report shows

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EU funding for research and innovation attracts ever more interest, report shows

Brussels, 28 November 2016

Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme, is attracting more and more researchers and innovators. In 2015 there was an increase in proposals by 25% compared to 2014, especially coming from businesses, whose number of applications increased by almost 27%. Almost 50 % of participants are newcomers, many of which are small and medium-sized companies.

These are some of the developments highlighted in a report on the first two years of Horizon 2020 that the Commission published today. The report shows that in 2014 and 2015, almost €16 billion has been allocated to over 9,000 research and innovation projects that boost excellent science, create industrial leadership and tackle societal challenges. In total, the programme attracted about 76,000 eligible proposals.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The 2015 data speaks for itself: Horizon 2020 is an extremely attractive, well-designed flagship programme. Investment into good ideas is increasingly recognised as the cornerstone of competitiveness and prosperity. We are receiving ever more applications of ever better quality. Supporting these projects is not a cost; it is an investment in our economy and society. I can only regret that we are not able to fund even more of the top quality applications."

The report highlights that the implementation of Horizon 2020 is increasingly efficient, with the time from opening of applications to allocation of funding dropping by almost 32 days from 2014 to 2015. The average time-to-grant for the first two years was only 6.7 months, which is 100 days shorter than the previous Framework Programme, FP7.

The increasing popularity of Horizon 2020 has led to an increase in applications for funding, with a subsequent drop in the success rate of applicants from 13.2% in 2014 to 10.7% in 2015. In response to this, and to reduce the burden on unsuccessful applicants, more two-stage calls are introduced, in which short, ten-page proposals are first evaluated against a reduced set of criteria.Work programmes will have fewer, well-defined topics, with budgets capable of supporting a portfolio of projects.


Horizon 2020, the EU's framework programme for research and innovation, is investing nearly €77 billion over seven years (from 2014 to 2020) in research and innovation projects to support Europe’s economic competitiveness and extend the frontiers of human knowledge.

The second Annual Monitoring Report covers Horizon 2020 calls closed in 2015, comparing them with the results of 2014. It analyses implementation, allocation of funding and participation per EU member state, Associated Countries to Horizon 2020 and third countries. Evidence from the report will feed into the ongoing interim evaluation of Horizon 2020.

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