The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy has hired Ricardo Energy & Environment and Dutch consultancy CE Delft to evaluate its Horizon 2020 programme. The assessment will place the impact and effectiveness of the programme under the microscope, but also evaluate the way with which the European Commission rolled out the programme.
Horizon 2020 is the largest research and innovation programme within the European Union, offering nearly €80 billion in grant money over seven years (2014 - 2020). The programme supports research and innovation that contributes to science, industrial development and social challenges faced by Europe and the rest of the world. Through Horizon 2020 the European Commission and the European governments are seeking to boost science and innovation within both business (e.g. increasing the competitiveness of European companies) and academia (e.g. helping educational institutions develop and market solutions in the private sector).
The Directorate-General for Energy (DG Energy), which falls under the responsibility of the EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, was founded in 2010 and develops EU policy on energy. DG Energy is responsible for the management of projects and for providing financial support to technological development and innovation in the energy sector*. DG Energy aims at supporting, among others, an energy market in Europe in which citizens and businesses can make use of renewable energy technology and advanced energy services. Furthermore, DG Energy is engaged in the promotion of sustainable energy, transport and consumption, and is tasked with improving the conditions for Europe’s energy supply.
Horizon 2020 (H2020) has been running for about two years, and, as part of the programme’s governance, DG Energy has pledged to, during the project, review aspects of the programme and its delivery. To evaluate the programme the DG Energy has hired two independent consultancies: CE Delft and Ricardo Energy & Environment. CE Delft is a Netherlands-based research and consulting firm specialised in environmental and sustainability matters, while Ricardo Energy & Environment is a British research and engineering business that provides a range of engineering and consultancy services.
CE Delft and Ricardo will oversee the evaluation of the H2020 programme (and its predecessors **) – the firms will focus primarily on the impact, effectiveness and implementation of the programme. Besides assessing the programme, the two firms will also look into the extent to which the European Commission manages the programme and evaluate the quality of its governance.
* Issues include climate change, aging population, food and affordable renewable energy.
** H2020 is the successor of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), a programme that was set up by the European Commission and the Ministry of Economic Affairs – in Europe and beyond – to encourage international cooperation between companies and academic institutions with the aim of improving European competitiveness and to strengthen regional economies.