UK’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee extended again

Additional three months of funding follow deadlock over UK’s membership of European research scheme

June 8, 2023
European Commission in Brussels illustrating opinion about European universities alliance
Source: iStock

The UK government has extended its Horizon Europe guarantee scheme for a further three months as the stalemate over association to Europe’s flagship research scheme continues.

With UK-based researchers unable to receive funding from the European Union’s €95 billion (£82 billion) scheme, successful applicants to Horizon Europe have been given equivalent grants worth more than £1 billion by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) since November 2021, with more than 2,000 offered so far.

Announcing an extension to the UKRI guarantee scheme on 8 June, the government said the guarantee would cover anyone who has successfully applied to a Horizon Europe call that was due to close on or before 30 September 2023.

Successful applicants to Horizon Europe would receive the full value of their funding at their UK host institution for the lifetime of their grant, the government explained.

However, UK-based researchers are not eligible to lead larger Horizon projects involving multiple institutional partners across Europe, a policy that prevents British researchers from accessing larger grants.

UK-based researchers are also encouraged to continue applying to Horizon Europe’s schemes, including those run by the European Research Council, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions fellowship scheme.

Chloe Smith, interim science and technology secretary while Michelle Donelan is on maternity leave, said the extension “offers certainty to our world-class researchers that they will receive the support they need to continue their ground-breaking work, building on the over £1 billion in support awarded so far, while negotiations over association to Horizon Europe remain ongoing”.

The extension comes after more than two years of delays to the UK’s association to Horizon Europe, which was initially blocked by Brussels over disagreements related to the Northern Ireland protocol signed-up to in the Brexit agreement, which ministers had sought to renegotiate.

Four months after an outline deal on Irish Sea trade links was agreed in London by prime minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, the impasse on UK membership of Horizon has continued. The delays are believed to concern the annual cost of joining the science scheme, with the government stating that “our participation must be fair for UK researchers, businesses and taxpayers and reflect the lasting impact of two years of EU delays to the UK’s association”.

A previous three-month extension of the Horizon gurantee was announced in March, with science minister George Freeman warning that Horizon association could take more than a year to agree.

Register to continue

Why register?

  • Registration is free and only takes a moment
  • Once registered, you can read 3 articles a month
  • Sign up for our newsletter
Please Login or Register to read this article.

Related articles