EUA, CESAER and EARTO have released a joint statement following the publication of the European Commission’s Assessment of the Lump Sum Pilot 2018 - 2020: Analysis of qualitative and quantitative feedback.
This interim analysis concludes that lump sum funding works in practice and can be used more widely according to the current approach. But it also underlines important shortcomings and reveals that universities and research and technology organisations are less positive than other types of beneficiaries, like SMEs.
In recent years, EUA and partner organisations have expressed concerns about the unintended consequences of the lump sum funding approach, which appear in the analysis. For example, the use of lump sum funding for larger consortia results in a risk-averse approach with regards to the choice of partners and the collaboration between them. This creates a negative impact in terms of widening participation and strengthening pan-European collaboration objectives.
In addition, as this is an early assessment, the report lacks the full experiences of coordinators, as well as the full effect of lump sum funding on grant management, including final payments and reporting, and its impact on RD&I outcomes. Thus, EUA and its partners consider that broadening the use of lump sum funding is premature and call for caution on the interpretation of the interim analysis, advising to await the final and thorough evaluation of the pilot. Changes regarding funding modalities should be considered as part of the interim evaluation of Horizon Europe, on the basis of complete evidence.