It is no secret that the EU’s research programme, Horizon 2020 - with €77 billion of funding available from 2014 to 2020 - is a hit.
From the very beginning, it has been straining under an avalanche of grant applications and according to EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas, has now received as many as its predecessor, Framework Programme 7, which ran between 2007 and 2013.
“We’ve received 140,000 proposals already for Horizon 2020 – the same amount we received during [the entirety of] FP7,” Moedas told an audience in Brussels yesterday.
The statistic is one which should conceivably strengthen the Commissioner’s hand in negotiations for the next EU spending cycle, beginning in 2021.
The figure also provides plenty of proof for the Commission’s claims that applying for Horizon 2020 grants requires less effort from researchers than previously.
The downside, of course, is that with such hot competition, many more researchers are seeing their applications for EU funding fail, at a time when many national R&D budgets have decreased.
The success rate is low by the standard of research programmes, hovering between 12 and 14 per cent – a sharp fall from the average 19 to 21 per cent odds that researchers enjoyed under FP7.