H2020 so far
From this comparison, one can observe that the number of applications increased by 23% between 2014 and 2015. Since the start of Horizon 2020, more than 39% of all applications came from university candidates, 35.2% from the private sector and 18.4% from research organisations. In overall, 49% of the participants are newcomers. Additionally, the EC emphasizes that the quality of the applications has been remarkably high, which would have required an additional €41.6 billion to fund all deemed excellent proposals.
Looking into detail, applications from associated countries rose by 42.6%, whereas applications from Switzerland even increased by 62% from 2'133 to 3'418 submitted applications. As a result, Switzerland remains leading associate country before Israel and Norway. The number of applications from EU-13 (Member States joining the EU since 2004) increased by 29.6% and the EU-15 (Member States before 2004) by 20.6%. Leading Member States are the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. Third countries also submitted more applications with an increase of 53%.
Therefore, one can argue that this increase in applications shows the attractiveness of Horizon 2020, both to the public and private sector. The results of the National Contact Point (NCP) Survey, presented in the comparison report, underline this statement. The fast majority of the 415 participating NCPs (19% coming from associated countries) agrees that Horizon 2020 (1) provides sufficient opportunities for cooperation between science and business, (2) adds value compared to national funding programs by supporting cross-border collaboration and (3) widens participation.
However, due to the inflating number of high quality applications, the success rate decreased from 13.2% in 2014 and 10.7% in 2015. The overall success rate from two years of Horizon 2020 at 11.8% indicates that the oversubscription is a key issue to tackle in the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation. The EC points out that the decline in the success rate is due to the increase of eligible applications, rather than a decrease in funding available. In the light of the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation, various stakeholders have already suggested to look into solutions such as more two stage application procedures, clearer defined calls and work programmes, better definition of the expected impact within the calls or a higher quality of evaluations.
Nevertheless, despite the low success rates, both associated and third countries slightly improved their share of participation. Associated countries increased their share from 6% to 7.4% whereas third countries optimised their share from 1.7% to 2%. Nevertheless, further improvements for stronger international cooperation are required to reach the targeted 3% participation share of third countries.
Finally, looking at the time-to-grant, the EC has signed 90.6% of the cases within the set target of 245 days (8 months). The average time to grant was 201.7 days, with 206.6 days in 2014 decreasing to 184.9 in 2016. This is a clear decrease compared to FP7, where the average time was 303 days.
Source: Swisscore Synopsis Nov 2016