A new analysis has warned oversubscription to Horizon 2020 is putting off some of the best researchers from the programme
Horizon 2020 may be failing to achieve its aims of attracting top talented researchers, according to a new report.
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) published its findings in its ‘Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020’, revealing that the best researchers were being turned off by the programme due to the poor chances of securing funding.
Horizon 2020 is the European Commission’s flagship research programme, which expects to invest some €80bn in research between 2014 and 2020. However, billions of euros worth of funding was controversially siphoned from the scheme to establish a new strategic investment fund, which the LERU said was having an impact on the programme’s ability to achieve its objectives.
Horizon 2020 is under threat
Speaking to the Times Higher Education, author of the report Laura Keustermans said: “Oversubscription and low success rates are a threat to Horizon 2020.
“It is important that the best researchers want to participate in Horizon 2020.”
She added that the success rate of the scheme needed to be “decent” otherwise researchers might chose to apply for other schemes instead.
The LERU report follows one from the European University Association, which suggested some €1.4bn was wasted by European institutions putting together proposals that go unfunded.
Keustermans said it was vital the budget for Horizon 2020 was protected. “The less the budget you have, the fewer projects you can fund and the lower the success rate is,” she said.
The LERU report recommended the most popular research calls should be repeated to give researchers the opportunity to submit proposals. It also urged the commission to divert funding from less popular research areas to fields that are oversubscribed.
Furthermore, LERU said the next funding programme developed by the commission should look at funding the entire innovation pipeline, rather than focusing on specific areas. This, it said, was leading to too much focus on the innovation pipeline where research is close to hitting the market.