Calls to improve regional participation in EU funded projects

Calls to improve regional participation in EU funded projects

By Ingemar Pongratz


There is a large gap between the New EU member states and the established EU member states when it comes to participation in different EU funded projects. This gap has caused considerable concern both at the Commission level and at the European Parliament level. The European Commission has designed specific instruments to tackle this short coming such as the widening programme. The widening programme is specifically designed to promote participation and collaboration between the high and low participant countries in the Horizon 2020 programme.

The European Parliament has discussed this gap. In fact, the Parliament even discussed how to introduce specific criteria to increase the number of ERC grants in the new EU member states.


During the planning process for the coming EU funding programme, Horizon Europe, these set of criteria were dropped. But the problem remains. Recently, calls to improve regional participation in EU funded projects have been raised.

Recently, research representatives from the new EU member states sent a statement to the European Commission. The letter requests development of funding instruments  designed to improve participation in EU projects of the new EU member states.

The letter highlights the importance of ensure participation of all member states in EU funded research activities and call for the national governments in the new member states to increase research investments.

In addition, the statements call for increased synergies between Horizon 2020 and Regional funding and increased training / teaching activities in the new EU member states.

The need to increase involvement of the new member states has been recognized by other members. Germany research institutes  support the idea that specific instruments should be developed that target for the new member states.


In addition, there is lingering concern how the new European Innovation Council (EIC) will be received by the new European member states. There is a concern that the bulk of the funding from the EIC will end up in the established member states.

This is a clear risk.  Many institutes for example in the Nordic regions tend to mix in research into the innovation concept. The term for example in Sweden is research and innovation. In fact, there seems to be a clear discrepancy between member states what innovation actually means.

Clearly the foundation for a lot of heated discussions is in place. We will certainly hear more about this in the future.

Ingemar Pongratz established Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We support clients who are interested to apply for project funding from public sources including the European programmes. Please contact us if you are in need of our support. Send an email to:

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Stockholm evening by Ingemar Pongratz

Stockholm evening by Ingemar Pongratz


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