PPMI submits the Final Report for the study supporting the evaluation of the operation of the Research Executive Agency, which was launched by DG RTD of the European Commission. The main objective of the third three-year evaluation of REA’s operations was to assess the effectiveness, efficiency and coherence of the implementation of parts of the European Union programmes by REA in the period from 16 July 2015 to 15 July 2018. The study combined a retrospective and prospective analysis. If the former analysis assessed changes in the operations of REA during the evaluation period, the latter analysis informed the development of recommendations for improving the performance of the Agency in the future. This study was carried out by PPMI along with partners from CSES and IDEA Consult.
The study followed a single organisational model linking the following three sets of factors: (1) regulatory and operational framework; (2) enablers of the Agency performance (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 REA’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 REA staff, surveys of the Agency’s beneficiaries, unsuccessful applicants, experts and of EC officials, an analysis of the survey and administrative data, and a retrospective cost–benefit analysis. Also, a focus group meeting was organised at the end of the project to validate the draft conclusions and recommendations of the study. The methodology applied in this assignment was consistent with the approaches employed during the evaluations of other Executive Agencies, including the latest evaluations of the ERCEA, 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 Steering Committee of REA 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.