RTD Evaluation 2007-2013 :
Beneficiary and
project Dashboard

Regional policy supported RTD with over EUR 17 billion in 2007-13

In the 2007 – 2013 period, cohesion policy contributed to the development of Research and Technological Development (RTD) infrastructure and activities with an EU budget investment of EUR 17.2 billion allocated through two specific categories of expenditure: 01 – RTD activities and 02 – RTD infrastructure and competence centres.  Considering both European and national contributions, an estimated EUR 23 EUR billion was invested by programmes supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 
Launched in 2019, an evaluation is examining the effectiveness, efficiency and impact of investments in RTD infrastructure and activities. It aims to identify factors contributing to the success or failure of these investments and runs until mid-2021. It focuses on programmes in 18 Member States, covering 86% of resources allocated by the ERDF in the two categories of expenditure. 
For the first time, information on the large majority of projects supported under specific categories of expenditure have been gathered to inform the evaluation. In the course of the evaluation, and thanks to the cooperation of the programmes, project-level information has been collected for around 10,000 projects in 17 Member States, including data on 11,400 beneficiaries of ERDF support. These projects represent the majority of the overall EU expenditure (76% or EUR 13 billion).
Explore below the data on the RTD beneficiaries and the nature of the projects supported from this large sample of projects using this interactive dashboard! 
Disclaimer: While based on list of beneficiaries and projects provided by the programmes, a significant part of the data was added by the contractors, CSIL Milano and its partners. Neither the European Commission nor CSIL Milano are responsible for the use that might be made of the information presented in the datasets or in the dashboard below. 

... supporting both RTD activities and infrastructures

In the set of projects examined, RTD infrastructures and competence centres (category 02) absorbed the largest share of ERDF support, while more projects concerning RTD activities (category 01) were carried out overall. 
The two categories of intervention, 01 – RTD activities and 02 – RTD infrastructure and competence centres, cover a wide variety of activities. The projects were therefore attributed by CSIL Milano to subcategories to better define their scope composed of 10 main groupsExplore the chart to the right using the filters (top right) and drill down to explore the subcategories present in the dataset. 

... with strong variations across countries in the categories of support.

The combination of investments in RTD activities or infrastructure varied by Member States. More than 50% of funds were concentrated in Poland, Germany and Czechia, who also allocated the largest contributions to RTD infrastructure. In relation to RTD activities specifically, Poland and Italy contributed the highest amounts.  In IT, RTD activities dominated the support given. 
All countries invested both in research infrastructures and activities, except for Latvia, which invested only in research activities, and Lithuania, where the one programme examined entailed allocations to research infrastructures only. 

HEIs received the highest share of ERDF support

More than half the beneficiaries of ERDF support identified were higher education institutions (HEIs); a little less than one third were research and technology organisations (RTOs), and less than 10% were enterprises. HEIs and RTOs therefore accounted for the vast majority of beneficiaries and received over 80% of the total ERDF investment. The distribution of beneficiaries in these categories varied by country. 

... with most beneficiaries being public organisations.

A large part of the sample is composed by public-owned organisations, most of these being HEIs. The other lead beneficiaries were private and non-profit organisations. The highest variability in terms of ownership was recorded for RTOs: most of them were public or non-profit organisation, a significant number were private or a mix of public and private. The same is true for clusters and science or technology parks.
Each category of beneficiaries received a share of support roughly proportional to its size, but projects carried out by a mix of public and private beneficiaries were typically more expensive than the others.

... with collaborative projects (regional /  national collaborations) absorbing half of the funds destined to R&D

RTD projects are scientific activities undertaken to produce new knowledge, carry out experimental development or industrial research. 
The largest ERDF contribution to individual R&D projects was implemented by Higher Education Institutions, that were also among the actors typically involved in collaborative activities.
Among  RTD  projects, collaborations were relatively more resource intensive (although less in number). Most collaborative projects involved partners located in the same region.
A substantial share of the ERDF contribution to this category was devoted to science-industry collaborative projects, involving one or more enterprises and one or more research centres. These projects were aimed, for example, at fostering science-industry collaborations for applied research and experimental development; at identifying priorities for the development of fundamental research; at supporting RTD activities carried out by clusters and public-private laboratories.  

... research infrastructures absorbed most of the infrastructure funding

The largest share of infrastructure investments pertained to research infrastructure (vs education), mostly in HEIs. Around 20% of the allocation to this category concerned the implementation of major projects, aimed at scaling up research, increase collaboration with industry and train early-career researchers.
Infrastructure investments for education were mainly geared towards improving education facilities in universities to implement modern education, including ICT learning techniques. 
In some projects, the distinction between research and education focus was not clear, as the concerned infrastructures could benefit both. The largest share of investments were made in HEIs operating in the fields of Engineering and Technology, Natural Sciences and Medical and Health sciences.
The majority of ICT-based infrastructures, providing digital services and tools for data- and computing-intensive research, were implemented by HEIs, and could be classified as virtual infrastructure.

... and some residual "other RTD activities".

Some types of interventions, still  relevant in the RTD field, could not be defined as either R&D projects or infrastructure investments. The most important group in this subcategory was capacity building for research, mainly targeted to the development of researchers and the support of PhD programmes.
Projects concerning science dissemination to the general public aimed to increase the public engagement and awareness in science, while internationalisation of research pertained mainly the promotion of international collaboration among HEIs and RTOs and support to mobility programmes for scientists and students.
A number of projects in this category related to intellectual property protection instruments, even though they absorbed a relatively small share of financial support. 

Who were the most frequent and biggest beneficiaries of EU support to RTD ?  

In the charts below you can discover which bodies were the most frequent project leaders (left-hand chart) and which were the largest beneficiaries in EU contribution terms (right-hand chart).
While the default settings are set to Germany / all programmes / lead beneficiary, the filters (top right) allow you to focus the search by country, programme, role of beneficiary and location.   

The projects focused on different fields of science

The project-level analysis allowed to attribute each project to one (or more) broad field(s) of science proposed in the OECD Frascati Manual. Engineering and technology received the highest contribution from ERDF, followed by multidisciplinary projects, projects in the fields of medical and health sciences and natural sciences. The distribution of funds reflected broadly the distribution of projects in each field of science, even though projects in medical and health sciences typically costed more than projects in the other fieldsThe focus on engineering and technology projects (in terms of ERDF contribution and number of projects) seems to be a trend shared by most considered Member States, Germany leading with the highest number of projects in this category.
The first chart below shows the share of total EU cost by field of science in the project sample collected.  The second chart compares the intensity of EU financial support EU by field of science in the 17 countries studied. 

... and several types of research.

According to the type of research they focused on, projects were attributed to the following categories (using definitions from the Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 on State Aid): 
  • fundamental research, undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge;
  • applied/industrial research, aimed at the acquisition of knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes and services;
  • experimental development, using existing knowledge and skills to develop new or improved products, processes or services;
  • feasibility study, aimed at the evaluation and analysis of the potential of a project. 
The vast majority of projects pertained to applied research and a large share of them pertained to experimental development activities, while the majority of projects in the field of fundamental research were investments in research infrastructures. Few feasibility studies were detected. In general, the closer the project was to basic research, the higher was the corresponding ERDF contribution. 
The focus on different types of research varied by country and field of science.  

Other materials 


  • Authors: CSIL Milano, Emanuela Sirtori, Francesca Ardizzon; REGIO B2, Caterina Scarpa
  • Date: 15/09/2020