EUREC has prepared a document based on the analysis of the Working Programme 2014-2015 of Horizon 2020 Energy. The following text is taken from the introduction.
Work Programme 2014-15 in the Energy Societal Challenge tried out some new things, notably the two-year format, greater competition between technologies, less prescriptive call topics and two stage calls for all RIA calls.
The RIA calls (Research and Innovation Actions – low TRL) in renewable energy technologies and storage technologies were particularly oversubscribed. Pent-up demand due to the relatively long gap between the last call in energy of FP7 and first call of H2020 and Member States pushing projects to Brussels because of a lack of national money were both offered as reasons. The latter of these problems might also originate in Brussels, as some research centres depend on regional funding programmes co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds. If the Operational Programmes that disburse the funds take longer to set up than the first Horizon 2020 calls, pressure is piled onto Horizon 2020. That said, the greatest contributor to oversubscription is in our view down to a third choice: loosely defined call topics, which enabled a great many ideas potentially to be eligible.
Two energy-related Work Programmes for the period 2016-17 are discussed in the second section of this paper, ‘Draft Energy WP 2016-17 – some feedback’: the ‘Energy Societal Challenge’ Work Programme and the NMBP Work Programme. The former addresses oversubscription by returning to FP7-style individual descriptions for IA topics and defining RIA topics with roughly twice as much text as in WP 2014-15. This may have the effect also of improving the quality of evaluations, which was a headache both for proposers and the European Commission, and is the focus of the first part of this paper, ‘Evaluations’.