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In a recently published special report, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has assessed the simplification measures taken by the European Commission (EC), to see to what extent such measures have proved effective in reducing the administrative burden of Horizon 2020 beneficiaries and if they mirrored the evaluations and feedback proposed by the stakeholders. In order to answer this question, the ECA has surveyed the programme’s beneficiaries.
An online survey was sent in February 2018 to 32 918 contacts from 20 797 organisations which were granted Horizon 2020 funding. The survey covered the period from the start of the programme in 2014 to January 2018 and comprised 59 questions. Drawing from the 3 598 replies received, ECA noted that, overall, most of the simplification measures taken by the EC have been effective in reducing the administrative burden for Horizon 2020 beneficiaries, although not all actions produced the desired result and there is still room for improvement. As reported by the respondents, there is a widespread need for more user-friendly guidance and tools as well as for further testing of the appropriateness and usability of new funding schemes. More specifically, the ECA put forward the following observations:
Consequently, the ECA provides a set of eight recommendations in order to tackle these problems in the future, some of which relate to improved communication channels of the EC, wider use of two-stage proposal evaluations and stability for rules and guidance for participants. More information can be found in the ECA report.
Link to the report