Evaluation of academic research
The evaluation 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). combined, these three countries received the majority of the funding in this sector amounting to almost 80% of all supported academic research activities (funds and individual projects) within the Grants.
The academic research evaluation looked at funds and projects in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.
The EEA and Norway Grants 04-09 supported 94 projects within the academic research sector, totalling EUR 82 million. An evaluation was commissioned by the Financial Mechanism Office and conducted by COWI between January and November 2011.
- All funded projects met their immediate objectives and outputs
- The Grants provided a relevant and significant source of funding - complementing wider EU funding schemes, and regarded as more flexible when compared to national funding opportunities.
- The evaluation pointed to the benefits yielded from enhanced cooperation, underlining that ‘the need to strengthen bilateral relations is particularly relevant to research communities.” However, ensuring the sustainability of partnerships proved challenging.
- The administrative procedures were seen by most stakeholders as being too long.
- Donor country partners had specific challenges (unfamiliar setup, often relatively small stake and the scope of the research project is sometimes ill-suited to strategic objectives of the donor partner itself.)
- The sustainability of the EEA/Norway Grants supported activities are satisfactorily addressed through the institutionalisation of results, dissemination through publications and to some extent, as impact on policy.
The new research programmes have been designed in line with the recommendations in the evaluation. To ensure the internationalisation of research, most of the grants under the new bilateral research programmes will be delivered through joint research projects. Programme operators have also been selected based on their experience with managing other research funds, as well as knowledge of international collaboration programmes, such as the EU’s large-scale 7th Research Framework Programme.