09 Feb 2021

Study by FFG EU-Performance Monitoring and Utrecht University analyses proposal success in Horizon 2020

The Austrian Research Promotion Agency's EU-Performance Monitoring together with Utrecht University carried out a study entitled “Proposal success in Horizon 2020: A study of the influence of consortium characteristics”. The study has now been published in the MIT Press Journal "Quantitative Science Studies“.

The empirical analysis addresses the question whether certain project consortia are more successful in receiving funds from the H2020 pillar "Societal Challenges". Using information from the Horizon 2020 E-Corda database, a set of consortia-specific "success factors" are identified that have an effect on the evaluation outcome and influence the probability of receiving funds.

In particular, consortia with an experienced coordinator, a higher number of top universities and a higher number of partners from Western Europe (EU 15 at that time) significantly increase the chances of receiving funding. In addition, the connection to core players, in terms of centrality in the Horizon 2020 network, seems to increase the likelihood of proposal success.

Overall, the study suggests that the Horizon 2020 excellence criteria seem to be more important factors for the success of a proposal rather than factors related to cohesion, inclusion or widening of participation of new partners across Europe. Interestingly, consortia with a high share of universities have a significantly lower application success rate, which seems to underline the application-oriented focus of H2020.

The study is an important step towards disentangling the Horizon 2020 network structures, which is of policy relevance with respect to the underlying financing patterns across organisations and consortia, or to the policy goals related to intensified knowledge dissemination and collaboration across Europe.

“Proposal success in Horizon 2020: A study of the influence of consortium characteristics”