Impact of Horizon 2020 SC5 Projects
The Impact-SC5 project aims to identify and analyse the impact of Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 5 projects on science, society, the environment and the economy, to understand why certain impacts have or have not been achieved.
Measuring the impact of projects is more important in Horizon 2020 than it was in its predecessors. Horizon 2020 has new performance indicators to measure the impact of the funded actions. However, these indicators are not considered sufficient to fully capture the outcomes and impacts of projects. Reasons for this are for example that the time between the funding of activities and achieving impact can be several years and the difficulty of attributing impact to a single funding source. It is often difficult to attribute outcomes to funding sources, as most research teams receive funding from multiple and different sources. It is therefore critical to develop the right indicators and ensure the quality and quantity of underlying data is done such that the impact of a project can be measured and attributed to its investments.
IMPACT-SC5 can be considered a test case and pilot project for monitoring and evaluation of projects that have now finished and have reported their results. This evaluation, using a new and extended set of indicators will be input for the next EU Research and Innovation investment programme, Horizon Europe. This new programme, running from 2021-2027, introduces the concept of key impact pathways to track progress.
Impact Pathways in Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe
These pathways are included in the Horizon Europe implementation strategy as follows: “Starting with the way the work programme is conceived, there will be a clearer specification of the expected impacts. Unlike Horizon 2020, these targeted impacts will be given at the level of a call, or group of topics, while expected outcomes will be set out for each topic . These provisions will guide applicants and experts alike, and will ensure that, from the off, projects are lined up along impact pathways. Importantly, while expected impacts will be precise, topics will be open to a range of different pathways to achieve those impacts. These targeted impacts will further enable to define the expected feedback to policy at call or groups of topics level.” (source)
The evolution in impact pathways from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe is shown in the figure below.
IMPACT-SC5 evaluates the SC5 projects along three impact pathways to assess performance and effectiveness:
- Scientific impact
- Societal and environmental impact
- Economic impact
The IMPACT-SC5 project developed a set of indicators to qualify and quantify each of these impact pathways. You can read more about these indicators in subsequent blogposts.