Final Seminar: The factors behind participation: Evidence from the European framework programme, Horizon 2020

This PhD project presents three studies on the factors behind participation in the European framework programme, Horizon 2020. It does so by addressing different and so-far uncharted aspects of participation, focusing on the research organization and the project level.


The results separate two important steps in research funding – the decision to apply and the funding phase, and find that national funding schemes supports research organizations in their attempts to submit proposal. Results does also support past studies arguing repeated participation of endowed organizations, in terms of resources, capabilities, and network connections, which have led to self-reinforcing oligarchic networks. That EU FP funding to a large extent falls in the hand of organizations located in the Western European countries, seemingly at the detriment of Easter European organizations, nurtures the debate about an European ‘innovation divide’. I find that experience in EU FP projects combined with strong scientific reputation plays a pivotal role in both applying and achieving funding. Supported by an analysis at the project level, I find that the framework conditions enforced by the EU Commission influences how members for collaborative projects are selected and how these projects are managed.

Implications for Policy

The findings have several implications for policy. At the national level, policy makers face a challenge of not reducing national funding, as this is important for capacity building and mobilizing applications. At the same time, too generous funding that overlap EU FP thematic may contribute to insufficient motivation for applying at al. At the EU level, the results suggests why the EU Commissions ambition to promote excellence and cohesion across Europe is in conflict, and propose several efforts that might mitigate the situation, for example: offering more autonomy in the projects, incentivizing collaboration between different entities, and supporting capacity building in synergy with other programmes.   

Simen G. Enger

Simen G. Enger is an externally funded PhD Candidate, and works as an adviser at the Ministry of Education and Research. He is the first "Public Sector PhD" to hold a final seminar at teh University of Oslo. This seminar marks his final evaluation prior to submission of his dissertation. 

The seminar is open to everyone, and the manuscript is availeble upon request

Thesis supervisor


  • Rune Dahl Fitjar


Published Mar. 26, 2019 10:02 AM - Last modified July 29, 2022 11:31 AM