The European Commission's report "Horizon 2020 In Full Swing -Three Years On – Key facts and figures 2014-2016" provides a snapshot of the programme's main achievements, taking into account more than 300 calls for proposals. For the first time, some early trends can be glimpsed from the year-on-year evolution of key monitoring data such as success rates, SME participation, and project evaluation.
We have summarised some key aspects of this report here.
Overview of calls
Since the start of Horizon 2020 in December 2013, 329 calls for proposals were completed. These resulted in the signature of 13 903 grants which requested a total EU financial contribution of EUR 24.8 billion. These grants assemble a total of 58 964 participations. Looking specifically at calls closed in 2016, some 4 594 grant agreements have been signed (including 21 610 participations) which have a total budget allocation of EUR 8.3 billion.
Proposals and Applications
A total of 115 235 eligible proposals were submitted under Horizon 2020 calls closed in 2014-2016 - representing EUR 182.4 billion of requested EU financial contribution and close to 400 000 applications. Almost half of these proposals have been assessed as high-quality during the evaluation process (48.4) with a significant increase in 2016 only (from 47% in 2015 to 55% in 2016). The share of retained proposals also increased over time. However EUR 66.3 billion more would have been required if all high quality proposals were to be funded during the first three years of Horizon 2020.
The chart shows the top ten most active Third Countries in terms of eligible applications to Horizon 2020. The applications from entities based in Third Countries represent 3.2% of all applications since the launch of Horizon 2020, with a total of 12 780 applications involving 4 471 distinct applicants. The Third Countries that have applied most often to Horizon 2020 - the United States, China, Canada, Australia and South Africa - submitted 53.6% of all eligible applications from Third Countries during the first three years of the programme. Participations from Japan have significantly increased in 2016.
After a decline in the success rate in 2015 due to a high number of applications compared to the funding available, the success rates increased in 2016 with 13.8% of proposals being retained for funding. Overall, since the start of Horizon 2020, the success rate is of 12.6%. This equates to one out of eight eligible proposals receiving funding, but 74% of high quality proposals not being funded. This is well below the overall success rate of the former progamme, FP7 (18.4%).
Signed Grants & Participations
Since the start of Horizon 2020, a total EU financial contribution of EUR 24.8 billion has been allocated to signed grants. Overall the largest share of funding has been allocated to the Excellent Science pillar (37.5%), mainly to the European Research Council. The Societal Challenges pillar accounts for 36.6% of the funding, with most funding going to Societal Challenge 1 on Health, Demographic Change and Wellbeing. The Industrial Leadership pillar was allocated 20.2% of the funding, mainly for information and communication technologies.
In term of grant numbers, out of the 13 903 grants signed since the start of Horizon 2020, a majority (56.4%) fall under the Excellent Science pillar, mainly under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. The Societal Challenges pillar accounts for 24.8% of the signed grants, with most grants being signed under Societal Challenge 4 which covers Smart, Green and Integrated Transport. The Industrial Leadership pillar represents 16.0% of the signed grants, with most grants being signed under the Information and Communication Technologies programme part.
Third Countries (TC) represent only 1.9% of participants to grants. Japan is not in the top ten of TC participants in Horizon 2020 (Composed of the United States, China, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Kenya, Taiwan and Korea).
First Project Results