Evaluation of academic research grants now published
The funding is both larger in size and more flexible than other national funding opportunities, according to the evaluation.
The academic research evaluation was commissioned by the Financial Mechanism Office and conducted by COWI between January and November 2011. It was based on an in-depth study of 5 funds, 7 individual projects and 16 sub-projects in 3 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland). The EEA and Norway Grants 2004-09 supported 94 projects overall within the academic research sector, totalling €82 million.
Key findings include:
•All funded projects met their immediate objectives and outputs;
•Grants provided a relevant and significant source of funding, complementing wider EU funding schemes;
•Whilst administrative quality was high, procedures were regarded as cumbersome;
•Research partnerships contributed to strengthened bilateral relations — however ensuring the sustainability of partnerships has proved challenging;
•Partnerships proved a very good tool provided the cooperation is based on an overlap in strategic scope and mutual contribution to the research.
Most of the recommendations have been followed-up, with, for example, the introduction of block grants through research programmes and a results-based approach. Measures have also been put in place to simplify the administrative procedures.