Horizon 2020’s low success rate, the numbers and proposed solutions

The success rate of grant applications for Horizon 2020 is relatively low. An overall rate of almost 13 per cent compared to the success rate of 20 per cent of Horizon 2020’s predecessor, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) means a drop of 7 per cent. The differences between the various EU Member States are striking. With the UK submitting the highest number of proposals to Brussels as well as having the best success rate. However, Germany has pulled in the most amount of money.

In this article, we look at the numbers and proposed solutions for Horizon 2020’s low success rate and how Idox Grants can help you improve your individual success rate.

During the first two years of Horizon 2020 over 75,000 applications have been submitted. This shows the immense popularity of Horizon 2020 but these numbers also provide a steadily decreasing success rate of the Framework Programme. At present, the success rate for parties who claim a contribution from the Horizon programme of € 80 billion is 12.9 per cent. For some Horizon programmes it’s even far below the 10 per cent. Very daunting, especially because the preparation and writing of a European application is very complex and time consuming. The rates are based on the results of a survey of the European Commission at the end of last year. Now the commission is working hard to improve the success rates.

Differences between EU Member States and organisations
So far, Germany has had the most success with European Grant Applications and received the greatest amount for research and innovation. Followed by the UK (15 per cent of the money) and France (10 per cent). The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Greece increased their share of the funding, compared to FP7. The East European countries stayed steady with a share in European funding of 2.5 per cent.

Universities are collecting the biggest share of funding with 35 per cent of the total. However, they have also had to deal with a downturn from 44 per cent in FP7 owing to the lower success rates. EU funding for the private sector increased from 24 per cent to 28 per cent and 30 per cent has been collected by research and technology organisations.

Concern about decreasing participation from big organisations
The low success rates have concerned the EU Commission and it’s now searching for ways to improve these rates. They are also concerned that large organisations or top researchers don’t want to participate anymore in EU funding projects because of the time it takes to write a funding proposal in relation to the low success rate. When large companies and research organisations decide to ignore Horizon 2020 in the future, the European goals for innovation and sustainability are in serious danger. You need big international players in the business and research market to achieve significant results.

Proposed solutions from the EU Commission
One of the steps toward better success rates is that the two-stage principle will become a more widespread procedure for screening applications. The first stage implies that applying organisations can test their project plan with a brief application and get an initial assessment. This assessment advises whether it would be beneficial to go through the entire application process. As a result, companies don’t need to expend a lot of unnecessary time and effort into a complex application, especially if their application is rejected. Then follows the second stage: projects that receive a favourable outcome at stage one and decide to continue with their application are more confident that their application will have a higher chance of success.

The second key plan of the European Commission to increase the success rate of Horizon 2020 is to get stricter on gauging the impact of a proposed grant project on a technology or societal level. To measure the size of impact there are several indicators formulated in the different calls. To have more success, applying organisations must clearly define the impact of their project in its proposal and after the project duration.

How Idox can help you improve your individual success rate
To have more success with your applications in Europe, ask Idox Grants how they can help. Our specialists can help you find the right calls of Horizon 2020 that are interesting for your project and support you with writing a promising application. We have broad experience in writing first- and two-stage applications and putting the focus on the impact of your project. Also we can assist in consortium forming, advise companies about preconditions and prerequisites, help with policy papers and build a correct and justified business case. The competition on the European funding market is tough, be well prepared.

We also deliver dedicated training events supporting knowledge, best practice and success in European funding. Our upcoming events include:

  • Funding Steps into Europe, 12 May 2016 at Leeds Beckett University. Book now to benefit from our Early Bird discount.
  • European Funding event at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. More information to follow shortly.

For further information on our Horizon 2020 and wider grants consultancy services, please contact our specialists at: grants.consultancy@idoxgroup.com



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