According to Science|Business, the EU is considering mechanisms to manage the increasingly low EU grant success rates before research universities shy away from the EU calls.
“It’s more popular than ever before. But with our success rates we’re heading to a situation where we have to be very careful not to scare away top researchers,” Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s Director-General for Research and Innovation, told Science|Business.
Apparently, the Commission is considering three approaches:
- Two-stage applications – As a rule of thumb, 80 per cent of proposals – those not considered strong enough to meet competition requirements – should be rejected in a short-form, stage one evaluation, Smits said. In stage two, where a longer application is required, at least 35 per cent of proposals should have a chance of success.
- Greater emphasis on impact – Brendan Hawdon, Head of Horizon 2020 Policy in Smit’s directorate-general, elaborated. “It’s all about the outcome,” he said. An applicant should say clearly: “Here’s what we want to come out of the project.”
- Non-starters – making the call documents clearer so that potential applicants can work out for themselves that they will not be funded alongside, potentially, some element of demand management
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