The final evaluation of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (2014-2020) is published on January 29, 2024 by the European Commission. The work shows that the investment in EU research and innovation greatly pays off. Each euro in costs linked to Horizon 2020 will ultimately bring five euros in benefits to EU citizens by 2040, proving the high value for money of investment in research and innovation for the European society.
The programme made a major contribution to building an EU society and economy rooted in knowledge and innovation and benefitted Europeans far beyond what could have been achieved at national or regional level. Among the tangible impacts of the Horizon 2020 programme are the decisive contribution to climate science, and a rapid response to COVID-19, Ebola and Zika outbreaks. Almost 4,000 patents and trademarks resulted from the funding. Horizon 2020 fuelled a 20% additional growth in employment and a 30% increase in turnover and total assets for participating firms. In the long term, the programme is estimated to contribute an average annual increase of €15.9 billion to EU GDP, totalling €429 billion over the period 2014-2040.
The evaluation also identified some areas for improvement:
- broader participation,
- further simplification and reduction of the administrative burden,
- reinforcement of the dissemination, exploitation and deployment of results,
- support for the participation of women and
- enhancement of synergies with other initiatives at EU, national and regional level.
The evaluation was drawn on a wide evidence base with over 1,000 interviews with project beneficiaries, national authorities and implementing bodies, as well as surveys of both successful and unsuccessful participants. It combines extensive quantitative and qualitative analyses and builds on a large open public consultation with close to 2000 replies.