Brexit disrupts preparations for European research programme FP9

The preparations for the European programme for research, development and innovation for Framework Programme 9 (FP9), the successor of current programme Horizon 2020, are in full swing. Although the start of the new programme period lies a few years ahead, the first challenges are already noticeable.

Within the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) has always been an important force behind the European research and innovation climate. The UK traditionally has also been a generous net contributor to the budgets. Because of Brexit, uncertainty about the available budgets for FP9 has arisen. It might be that the European Commission (EC) will not reach an agreement about the budgets and outlines of the programme within the time available before the start of the programme. This might cause a gap between Horizon 2020 and the subsequent FP9, which might result in researchers missing out on approximately € 10 billion of EU funding. Although these are all speculations, one thing is certain: compensating for the missing budgets after Brexit will be an enormous challenge (ScienceBusiness, 2017a).

More budget for funding of excellent research

But Brexit is not the only hurdle for the continuation of the European research programme. An evaluation by the European Commission shows that more and more excellent research proposals have been rejected over the past few years. The success rate within FP7, the programme preceding Horizon 2020, was approximately 18.5%. The success rate within Horizon 2020 is significantly lower at 11.6%. As a result, many innovative research project could not find funding, despite their (very) high quality. It has been estimated that the EC needs over € 62 billion of additional funding to support the top ranking research projects, i.e. proposals assessed to be very good or excellent (ScienceBusiness, 2017b).

To stay updated about the latest news and evolvements about FP9, our consultants attend the leading FP9 meetings in Brussels. On the 27th of June we will be attending the meeting ‘New world order: Science, technology & trade – Shaping the next Framework Programme’.

If you have any questions concerning the effects of Brexit or other developments within the field of European grants? Please let us know! Managing consultant European Grants Yorick Debeus can be contacted for more information.



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