The objective of the study was to evaluate the external coherence of Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) relation to the rest of the R&I environment. The study aimed to identify evidence of and learn from strategic and operational synergies, as well as to detect gaps and overlaps among the support provided by H2020 and other programmes at European and national level. The analysis took into account the principle of subsidiarity – i.e. the relationship between EU and national programmes and initiatives – and the various interactions occurring between EU programmes and national, regional and private initiatives. The evaluation efforts aims at identifying operational recommendations for future actions, as well as ways to improve H2020 external coherence and strengthen synergies with other initiatives.
The study involved a comprehensive desk research covering reports and evaluations of diverse programmes and previous studies on external coherence. Data mining provided insights on potential synergies through analysis of databases of H2020 projects, other European Union (EU) initiatives, and national programmes from five different countries (Germany, France, Croatia, Poland, and Sweden). The study also included the preparation of 20 dedicated synergy case studies covering diverse topics like support for skills, research infrastructures, and financial instruments and three in-depth system case studies structured along three key thematic policies – green transformation, digital transition, and healthier future. The case study preparation included more than 130 interviews with a large variety of stakeholders such as universities, research centres, associations, regional authorities, ministry representatives, programme managers, National Contact Points, different Directorates-General of the EC, and the European Investment Bank. EFIS Centre team led the methodological approach to case study development.