Horizon Europe: one year after Brexit

A year has passed since our last update on the participation of United Kingdom (UK) entities in Horizon Europe. Now, we are able to share more information on UK participation within this programme. On the 24th of December 2020 the European Union (EU) and the UK signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), agreeing on all aspects of UK association to Horizon Europe. This agreement has entered into force on the first of May 2021. However, the protocol that formally specifies the programmes in which the UK will participate is still not finalised. What does this mean, and what are the consequences for (cooperation with) researchers in the UK?

UK participation according to the TCA

In general, third countries can be associated with Horizon Europe by signing an Association Agreement. Thus far several countries have signed this agreement, including Norway, Israel, and Turkey. For the UK, association is arranged through Protocol I, part of the TCA. Next to specifying the programmes in which the UK will participate, the protocol will state the scope of its participation, as well as some rules specific to each programme. UK’s association to Horizon Europe will only be formalised after this protocol has been finalised.

Horizon Europe programmes open to UK entities

Waiting for this last signature is, however, not necessary for UK entities. They can participate in all parts of Horizon Europe, with exception of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund, which is the loan/equity instrument for which can be applied through the EIC Accelerator. That means that next to programmes such as European Research Council (ERC) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), the EIC Pathfinder and Transition are also open to UK entities. Once the association is formally in place, UK entities will have the right to lead consortia and apply for funding at the same funding rates and conditions that apply for EU countries. Moreover, the UK will count towards the minimum number of countries required for consortia.

In case of delays

Even though the finalised association seems only a small step away, further delays may occur. Should this happen, the UK government will provide the funding for the first wave of successful applicants who have not been able to sign grant agreements.

Advice or support

The current developments bode well for UK researchers. However, because of the complexity of this topic we can imagine you may still have questions. So are you located in the UK? Or do you intend to work together with a UK entity in applying for funding through Horizon Europe? Do not hesitate to contact us for more information or support! We will be happy to answer all your questions. In the meantime, we will publish updates as more information becomes available.

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