Participants and Member State governments have given their views on the EU’s R&D programme Horizon 2020 to date, reported Éanna Kelly of Science|Business. The verdict: good, but in need of several big mid-course adjustments. Low success rates, lengthy proposals and lack of feedback are common complaints.

At the mid-way point of Horizon 2020, the EU’s biggest ever science programme, researchers are feeling broadly positive but want to see some fundamental changes, not least an increase in the success rate for grant applications, according to the results of the public consultation published at the end of April.

The 296 public submissions uploaded to the Commission website, and analysed by Science|Business, reflect the programme’s achievements and the associated frustrations. The evidence is intended to inform the formal review of Horizon 2020, due to be published later this year.

Geographical concentration of funding remains a divisive issue. Five countries receive an estimated two thirds of Horizon 2020 grants. Central and Eastern European countries receive just over 4% of total funding. There is also a belief that the countries which win the most funding from Brussels have undue influence on the development of work programmes.

International participation in Horizon 2020 has likewise dropped: almost 5% of grant winners under FP7 were from countries outside of the EU, but this has fallen to only 2.2% under Horizon 2020. A change in rules, which means Brazil, Russia, India, China and Mexico must provide matched funding, partially explains the drop, but countries such as the US, Canada and Japan, operating under the same rules as before, are considerably less involved in Horizon 2020 than in FP7.

The full article can be found at http://sciencebusiness.net/news/80256/The-Horizon-2020-half-time-score

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