23 January 2017 | Briefing

EFSI and Horizon 2020: Efficiency and Opportunity Cost

An EUA Review

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) was created in 2015 in order "to strengthen the attractiveness of investing in Europe and in the infrastructure of a modern knowledge economy [...] by overcoming the Union's current investment difficulties and regional disparities". EFSI was designed to support strategic investments in the transport, telecommunications, energy and social infrastructures sectors, and in the fields of SMEs, environment, culture, education and healthcare, as well as research, development and innovation (RDI).


In the summer of 2016, EUA reviewed EFSI's first undertakings in respect to its specific aim to advance RDI, particularly through support to academia including collaboration with industry. EUA came to the conclusion that universities as key RDI players cannot benefit from EFSI, as loan schemes are not suitable to fund university-based research given that universities in most European countries are not allowed to or are restricted from borrowing money. Furthermore, the nature and scale of projects considered for financing essentially excludes universities from the scheme.

Following EFSI's first year of work, a series of internal and external evaluations were conducted to assess the early progress of the scheme and to advise on its future. This note briefly analyses the key reviews and explores the relationship between EFSI and Horizon 2020.

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