A key finding of recent reports measuring the success of the twinning projects, such as the Widening instrument, is that while there is still a noticeable gap in the scientific output of eastern European countries compared to the west, lagging countries improved between 2010 to 2020. More generally, the 13 newer EU member states have nearly the same success rate in winning Horizon Europe grants as older member states, at 20.5% compared to 22.2%. while the performance gap seems to stem primarily from the low number of applications. The far lower number of proposals submitted by newer member states is underlined by the fact that to date, older member states have been granted €14 billion through Horizon Europe, compared to just over €1 billion for the newer members. More efforts are needed at the national level, with the support of the European Commission, with regards to capacity building, training and employing staff who can enhance participation of this group of countries in the Partnerships. Another issue for Widening countries is their lack of experience in organising national consultations and choosing national priorities that are needed to develop Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas, a key document required to create a Partnership. The European Commission should consider including Widening actions, such as those that promote Widening countries in calls for proposals, as an obligatory part of the Partnerships initiative.

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