Low Horizon 2020 success rate

Low Horizon 2020 success rate


By Ingemar Pongratz

Several sources (Science|Business, University World News) report that the the European Commission is concerned about the low success rate in Horizon 2020 projects.

The EU Commission reports that the success rate for the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation funding scheme is considerably lower than in the previous Framework Programme FP7.

Compared to the FP success rate (18.5%) the success rate in Horizon 2020 is down to below 13%. And in fact the situation is most likely worse. The 12.9% success rate is based on One stage Proposals and on the second stage of Two Stage Proposals. If the Commission would include the proposals for the first stage the success rate would drop even less, to 3%.

I imagine the EU Commission is under the impression that the first stage of the Two Stage proposal approach is simple and does not require a lot of work. Certainly discussions with several NCP’s seem to support this observation. However, the reality is that the work load for the first stage is also considerable.

An additional problem associated with the large number of proposals (in particular in calls where the Two Stage approach is applied) is that the quality of the evaluation has been questioned. Indeed, the evaluators are close to saturated with hundreds of proposals. In addition, contrary to what the Commission has stated, it is very difficult to obtain the full evaluation reports and the Evaluation Summary Reports provided by the Commission do not provide any helpful information.

To add to the problem, as we have reported previously, Horizon 2020 will be drained for the benefit of EFSI (European Fund for Strategic Investment).

This will of course worsen the situation even more.

It will be interesting to see how the Commission will respond to the low Horizon 2020 success rate. Certainly, many project and in particular European Small and Medium Sized Enterprises SME are loosing interest in Horizon 2020 project funding. The chances for success EU project application are simply to low.

Ingemar Pongratz from Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting help organizations plan and submit EU project application. If you would like to contact us please use the Online Form or send us a message by email to:

Ingemar.Pongratz (a) pongratzconsulting.com

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