Universities concerned over low success rate of Horizon 2020 bids

Prvé výsledky žiadostí v rokoch 2014-2015 (v prílohe)


A drop in the success rate of universities bidding for Horizon 2020 funding is providing cause for concern, after the EU Commission published a list of the results of the first call for proposals, 2014-15.

Of nearly 73,000 applications during the first 18 months of Horizon 2020, the average success rate was 12.9%, down from 18.5% in the previous Framework Programme 7, with some sub-programmes reporting success rates well below 10%.
The main reason for the lower success rate is increased demand for funding from universities suffering from austerity programmes, according to the European University Association, or EUA.
Thomas Estermann, director for governance, funding and public policy development at the EUA, pointed to the link with national funding trends: “As we know from the EUA’s Public Funding Observatory, many systems have been suffering from severe cuts in public funding over the past years. Therefore more and more universities look for European Union funding and thus the success rate goes down.”
The problem is being exacerbated by the switching of €2.2 billion (US$2.5 billion) from the Horizon 2020 programme into the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the EUA said last week.
“In times of national budget cuts Europe needs to fund universities through grants like Horizon 2020 and not divert public money to debt financing mechanisms,” said Estermann.
“Horizon 2020 is attracting the best, and the request for funding is seven times higher than the budget,” said Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for research, science and innovation. “We have a problem with the success rate going down. People are spending time and hours [on proposals] and we will have to look carefully at this.”
The EU says that up to July 2015, €7.36bn has been distributed to 7,964 participating organisations.
Some 85% of the funding has been awarded to programmes in seven countries: Germany, UK, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The institution participating in the most Horizon 2020 projects was the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, or CNRS, in France (207 projects), followed by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with 162 and Oxford University with 111. The Atomic Energy Commission in Paris had 104, and the Spanish National Research Council, or CSIC, and Copenhagen University each held 94 contracts, while University College London and Imperial College London each held 93 contracts.
Of the 20 best performing universities measured by the number of contracts they participate in, nine are in the UK, three in the Netherlands, two each in Belgium and Denmark and one each in Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

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