European Court of Auditors. Special report 15/2022. Measures to widen participation in Horizon 2020 were well designed but sustainable change will mostly depend on efforts by national authorities (OJ C 236/06, 20.6.2022)
To tackle the innovation divide, Horizon 2020 introduced specific widening measures to support Member States lagging behind in research and innovation. We assessed whether these measures were fit for purpose.
We conclude that the widening measures were well-designed to address the limited participation of widening countries in R&I framework programmes, but sustainable change requires efforts at national level. The ability of the Policy Support Facility to induce these changes was limited.
The participation in the widening measures was uneven and the funded projects, whilst starting to show promising results, face challenges in terms of complementary funding and sustainability.
We recommend that the Commission strengthen the use of the Policy Support Facility, aim for a more balanced participation in widening measures, facilitate the availability of complementary funding, enhance their capacity to exploit project results and improve monitoring.