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Horizon Europe - UK Association to the Programme

05 Jan 2021

An update regarding EU research funding

On 24 December 2020 the UK Government announced the conclusions of the negotiations with the European Commission.

The announcement included confirmation that the UK will associate to Horizon Europe subject to ratification of the overall deal and finalisation of the Horizon Europe Programme regulations, however, UK participation in the EU’s Erasmus+ student/staff exchange programme will end (there are national programmes being considered which we hope will bridge this gap).

Details included in the Declarations

The Horizon Europe programme is included in the Draft Protocol of the ‘Joint Declaration on Participation in Union Programmes and Access to Programme Services’ alongside the Space Programme, ITER and the Euratom training programme. The Draft Protocol includes information on the duration of UK participation (full duration of the programme or duration of the next EU budget 2021-27) and lists specific terms and conditions of UK participation in Horizon Europe - these include full participation in Horizon Europe (with the exception of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund which is part of the EIC Accelerator and provides investment through equity or other repayable form).

The Draft Protocol also states the that the UK may participate in Joint Research Centre (JRC) activities, European Partnerships in the form of Article 185 and 187, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), ERICs (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) and the European Research Area Committee (ERAC).

We are still waiting for further details, and confirmation that this will include ERC (European Research Council) and MSCA (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions), though the regulations establishing Horizon Europe has no restrictions for associated countries apart from the EIC.

The Draft Protocol also includes details on an automatic financial correction mechanism to be used for determining the UK's financial contribution to Horizon Europe.

The UK has also reached agreement with the EU to associate to the next Euratom Research & Training (R&T) Programme 2021-2025, this agreement includes UK participation in the ITER fusion collaboration through membership of Fusion for Energy.

Once the overall deal has been ratified by all sides and the Horizon Europe and ITER programme regulations have been finalised there will be a formal process between the UK and the EU to conclude the association agreement.

Full details of the legal text is available on the GOV.UK website.

UK participation in Horizon 2020 remains unchanged

The Withdrawal Agreement means that the UK can continue to participate in EU programmes, including Horizon 2020, that are financed by the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) until their closure (i.e. for the lifetime of grants). UK participants will continue to receive EU grant funding for the lifetime of individual Horizon 2020 projects, including projects finishing after the transition period ends at the end of 2020.

More information

If you have questions about Brexit or Horizon Europe please contact Liz Fay, EU Funding and Development Manager.

Advice and support for staff on the implications of the UK leaving the EU is available on our updated Brexit microsite: