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Results of the HORIZON 2020 Interim Evaluation

On 29 May 2017, the Commission published the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020, required by Article 32 of the regulation establishing Horizon 2020.

The interim evaluation aims to contribute to improving the implementation of Horizon 2020 in its last Work Programme 2018-2020, to provide the evidence-base for the report of the High Level Group on maximizing the impact of EU Research and Innovation programmes and to inform the design of future Framework Programmes.

 Purpose and methods of the evaluation
Following the Better Regulation Guidelines, the interim evaluation looks at Horizon 2020 from five different angles: (1) Relevance: assessment of whether the original objectives of Horizon 2020 are still relevant and how well they still match the current needs and problems, (2) Efficiency: the relationship between the resources used by Horizon 2020 and the changes it is generating, (3) Effectiveness: how successful Horizon 2020 has been in achieving or progressing towards its objectives, (4) Coherence: how well or not the different actions work together, internally and with other EU interventions/policies, (5) EU added value: assessment of the value resulting from Horizon 2020 that is additional to the value that could result from interventions which would be carried out at regional or national levels.

The interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 started in 2016 and has been guided by Terms of Reference adopted by the Commission after a vote by the Member States’ Programme Committee. An evaluation roadmap, summarising the design, purpose and scope of the Horizon 2020 interim evaluation, was published in May 2016.

The interim evaluation was coordinated by the Evaluation Unit of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD) with inputs from several Commission services that, in turn, contracted studies or steered groups of independent experts. The evaluation is based on a wide range of sources comprising internal assessments by Commission services as well as external expert group reports, horizontal and thematic evaluation studies, the results of the ex-post evaluation of 7th European Research Framework Programme (FP7) and the review of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. The sources are systematically described and identified throughout the Staff Working Document.

A public stakeholder consultation on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 was launched on 20 October 2016 and closed on 15 January 2017. On 28 April 2017 a conference was organised by DG RTD in cooperation with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to present the results of this consultation.

Scope of the evaluation
The interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 covers the entire Horizon 2020 programme and its specific programme, including the European Research Council (ERC) and activities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) with the exception of public-public partnerships (initiatives based on Article 185 of the Treaty), public-private partnerships (initiatives based on Article 187 of the Treaty), activities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and the Euratom Framework Programme.

While references are made to those initiatives in this evaluation, this is done without prejudice to the forthcoming separate dedicated interim evaluations of those initiatives. Joint Research Centre (JRC) direct actions are part of the EC and Euratom Framework Programmes, but are evaluated separately. The interim evaluation covers the first half period of Horizon 2020 implementation (2014 – 2016 included). Furthermore, it reports on the wider impacts of the previous European Framework Programmes, with a longer-term perspective.

 Next steps
3rd July 2017
: publication of High Level Group report and stakeholder conference in Brussels.
October 2017: publication of Commission communication on the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020. This will report on the key evaluation results including from the Art. 185 and 187 initiatives, the Commission’s observations on the High Level Group report, and will address the recommendations of the FP7 ex-post evaluation.

Key documents


SOURCE: EC Research & Innovation