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The real Horizon 2020

As European research managers and administrators meet for their 2018 conference in Brussels, Seán McCarthy unpicks the success rates for EU funding, and finds things aren’t as bad as they seem.

The European Commission recently announced that the average success rate of grant applications to its Horizon 2020 research funding programme was 11 per cent. This was calculated by dividing the total of number that were funded by the number of eligible applications.

I think that this gives an unrealistic picture of the difficulty of getting European funding. Instead, it would be better to use the number of viable rather than eligible applications. This gives a success rate of 24 per cent, which is higher than for many national funders.

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