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Improving Horizon 2020 efficiency: the importance of the consortium

We are over halfway through the Horizon 2020 programme. This programme, which started in 2014, has spent billions of euros and helped thousands of organisations to expand their innovation horizons. Even so, we conclude Horizon 2020 is not yet as impactful as it could be. We investigated the programme and determined there are three key factors Horizon 2020 could change to increase its effectiveness. In part 2 of this series: improve the process from project to results.

Problems with large consortia

Once a project has been started, there is one factor that decides whether or not a project will yield results: the number of partners within a consortium. The European Commission often asks for a multi actor approach: a collaboration of all players within a value chain. This is the case especially when new industrial or societal standards are being pursued. However, if very large consortia are not restricted by proper project management, they run the risk of become inefficient or even ineffective. This is many a project’s downfall.

Limit the number of participants in a Horizon 2020 consortium

Our advice is to limit the number of key partners involved in a project. This can be done by subcontracting non-essential necessary organisations. Subcontracting is often seen as undesirable. However, in a number of projects that we developed and managed, we saw that subcontracting actually improved the implementation of the project. That is the case especially when part of the work concerns realising demos or pilots on a large scale (like engineering, or contract research for the actual holder of the intellectual property).

What is the ideal consortium in a Horizon 2020 project?

The ideal partnership strongly depends on the type of project. But smaller consortia in general work better, more efficiently and more effectively. In our experience, partners with smaller, less essential budgets are often less committed to a project, and this makes them less effective. It is worth seriously considering how you can keep your consortium as small as possible, to guarantee your project’s success.

Want to read more about our solutions for Horizon 2020?

In our ePaper about Horizon 2020 you will find our other solutions for the issues within Horizon 2020. Download the ePaper.