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Update on UK participation in Horizon Europe

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

UK puzzle

Horizon Europe UK summary

Recently, the UK Government extended the Horizon Europe guarantee scheme, protecting funding for UK researchers, businesses, and innovators under the current EU-based program that is the world leader in terms of sustainable development funding.

Association to EU programmes remains the UK’s preference, with the government’s priority to maintain support for the UK’s research and development sector during the ongoing period of uncertainty. The guarantee scheme will be in place to cover all Horizon Europe calls that close on or before 31 December 2022, with the majority of grant signature dates expected before the end of August 2023. This extension will protect and support the UK sector during the ongoing delays while the UK and the EU work together to formalise UK association, including through a recently launched consultation process.

As it currently stands, eligible, successful applicants will receive the full value of their funding at their UK host institution for the lifetime of the grant. Successful awardees will be able to remain in the UK to receive this funding, which will provide reassurance for future collaborations, and support UK researchers whether association is confirmed, or otherwise.

Horizon Europe Brexit Fallout

In the wake of the decision to leave the European Union, the UK is expected to become an Associated Country to Horizon Europe, which will grant the country the same rights and obligations as other countries associated to the Programme.

How will the UK be associated to Horizon Europe?

Association will occur through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK (TCA). The TCA has been provisionally applied since January 1st, 2021, and entered into force on May 1st of the same year. Part V of the TCA specifically addresses UK participation in EU programmes, complemented by a financial annex specifying the implementation of the financial conditions and by a draft protocol, called Protocol I, that specifies the scope of the country’s participation in Horizon Europe.

This protocol is still in draft form and will be finalised and adopted by the joint EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes. When the Protocol enters into force, the UK will be formally associated to Horizon Europe.

Can UK entities take part in the first calls for proposals of Horizon Europe?

Currently, UK entities (such as universities, research centres, scientists, innovative businesses, and industry partners) are able to participate in the first calls for proposals of Horizon Europe. In duly justified exceptional cases, restrictions may apply, but these will be clearly specified in the calls for proposals.

The General Annexes attached to the main Horizon Europe work programme (2021-2022) ensure that UK applicants are treated as if the UK is an Associated Country throughout the process, from admissibility and eligibility to evaluation, up until the preparation of Grant Agreements. However, Grant Agreements can only be signed if the association has come into force. This means that UK organisations can apply as Project Coordinators, but if the associate has not come into force by the time the GA needs to be signed, the coordination will have to be transferred to another partner.

What parts of Horizon Europe will the UK be associated to?

The UK is associating to the full Horizon Europe programme with the only exception of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund (which is the loan/equity instrument of the EIC). UK entities are not eligible to participate in the EIC Fund part of the EIC Accelerator, since the UK decided not to take part in financial instruments of the EU. This means UK entities can apply for grants under the Accelerator, but they will not be eligible for loans or equity. They can also participate on an equal footing with entities from EU Member States and other Associated Countries in the EIC’s Pathfinder component.

The full scope of association that allows UK participation includes the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the six ‘Global Challenges’ Clusters and Missions, the partnerships, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and more. The UK is also expected to become associated to the Euratom Research and Training Programme, as well as fusion-related activities carried out by the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (F4E) under the ITER Agreement, and the Broader Approach Agreement.

The UK will not participate in the European Defence Fund, which has a different legal basis and is not covered by the TCA. Moreover, for duly justified and exceptional reasons, in order to guarantee the protection of the strategic interests of the Union and its Member States, the work programme may also exclude the participation of legal entities established in the Union or in Associated Countries directly or indirectly controlled by non-associated third countries or by legal entities of non-associated third countries from individual calls, or make their participation subject to conditions set out in the Work Programme.

What are the rights of UK participants?

Once the Associated Country status is in force, UK participants will have the same rights as EU participants, with the very limited aforementioned exceptions. UK entities will be eligible for funding at the same rates and under the same conditions. They will be able to lead project consortia and count towards the minimum number of countries in calls for transnational projects.

Horizon Europe Work Programmes available in the UK

Given the current status of the Horizon Europe agreement, all work programmes mentioned above are available in the UK. However, due to continued delays and uncertainty surrounding full ratification and completion of association to Horizon Europe, the UK has made clear that should association not be completed, funding allocated for association would be redirected to new R&D programmes, including those designed to support international partnerships.

In particular, the UK government has announced the following transitional measures to further support UK work programmes:

  • The UK Guarantee scheme already in operation

  • Funding for successful, in-flight UK-based applicants to Horizon Europe

  • Uplifts to existing UK talent schemes

  • Uplifts to innovation funding and support for businesses, in particular SMEs

  • Uplifts to international innovation schemes to support international business collaborations

  • Funding for research institutions most affected by the loss of Horizon Europe’s talent funding

  • Continued Third Country Participation in Horizon Europe

The measures will be delivered by trusted and experienced UK bodies, using existing and well-established UK funding and support mechanisms, and will be ready to launch if the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe. The long-term programme will be established as quickly as possible, and the government is already in conversation with researchers and businesses to determine priorities for a programme that would help build on UK strengths and develop new capabilities, while distributing resource and support for the sector across the country. The government is also developing a comprehensive plan of alternatives to Euratom R&T, Fusion for Energy, and Copernicus programmes, including interim measures.

Contact us for more information on Horizon Europe in the UK

The dedicated experts at Linq Consulting are available to assist with Horizon Europe proposals at every stage of the writing and application process, inside and outside of the UK.

With our knowledge of the UK grant landscape, as well as our expertise in grants management, we can help you secure funding from Horizon Europe or other grant opportunities that may be available.

Whether you represent a large organisation or run a small business, Linq Consulting will help locate funding opportunities and secure funding for your project. Get in touch with us today.

If you or your organisation would like to explore available funding set aside for sustainability research and development, in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, contact us at Be sure to follow us on Twitter @linq-consulting and connect with us on LinkedIn as well.

Further reading on Horizon Europe in the UK:

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