PPMI in collaboration with CSES have recently submitted the Final Report for the study supporting the evaluation of the operation of the European Research Council Executive Agency, which was launched by DG RTD of the European Commission. The main objective of the third three-year evaluation of the ERCEA’s operations was to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and coherence of the implementation of parts of the European Union programmes by the ERCEA in the three-year period (2015-2018). The study combined a retrospective and forward-looking analysis. If the former analysis assessed changes in the operations of the Agency during the evaluation period, the latter analysis informed the development of recommendations for improving the performance of the ERCEA in the future. This evaluation was coordinated by our partners from CSES.
The purpose of this evaluation was to undertake the periodical (tri-annual) evaluation of the operation of the ERCEA for the period 2015-2018. In line with the Commission’s better regulation principles, the evaluation covered the criteria of efficiency, effectiveness, coherence and relevance. The study combined a retrospective and forward-looking analysis. If the former analysis assessed changes in the operations of the Agency during the evaluation period, the latter analysis informed the development of recommendations for improving the performance of the ERCEA in the future. The evaluation extended to the 2014-2020 programmes delegated to the Agency and the legacy of the FP7 actions managed during the period 2015-2018.
The study followed an organisational model linking three sets of factors: (1) regulatory and operational framework; (2) performance enablers (strategy and planning, people, other resources, partnerships and processes of an Agency); and (3) (intended and unintended) results. It also measured the main aspects of the ERCEA’s performance based on quantitative or qualitative indicators on efficiency, cost-effectiveness, effectiveness and value for money. As part of the study, we gathered and analysed the evidence using qualitative and quantitative methods, including an extensive documentary review and desk research, semi-structured in-depth interviews with Commission officials and Agency staff, surveys of the Agency’s experts, an analysis of the survey and administrative data, and a retrospective cost–benefit analysis. The methodology applied in this assignment was consistent with the approaches employed during the evaluations of other Executive Agencies, including the latest evaluations of REA, EACEA, INEA and CHAFEA.
Over the course of the project, the evaluation team assessed the Agency’s regulatory framework, mission and governance, evaluated its performance in 2015-2018, conducted cost-benefit analysis as well as developed conclusions and policy recommendations. The results of the study were submitted to the ERCEA Steering Committee and other Commission services. The evaluation results helped the Commission services to assess whether the functioning of the Agency has yielded the expected positive results as estimated in the ex-ante Cost-Benefit Analysis for the delegation of tasks to the Executive Agencies and identify potential areas of improvement.