The UK government recently published an updated note on UK participation in the EU research funding programme, Horizon 2020. The update includes details on the current negotiation status on future UK participation as part of Brexit discussions, as well as confirmation of the recently announced extension of the Underwrite Guarantee for UK participants in the event of a ‘no deal’ outcome.
The updated note follows previous updates issued following the EU referendum and outlines the current position in relation to the proposed Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU, the UK government’s Underwrite Guarantee (including the newly announced Post-EU Exit Guarantee Extension), and the UK government’s aspirations for UK participation in Horizon 2020’s successor programme, Horizon Europe (2021-2027).
The note outlines the position in the draft of the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU that UK participants in on-going EU funded projects will continue to receive an uninterrupted flow of EU funding for the lifetime of the project. Furthermore, it envisages that UK participants will be eligible to bid for Horizon 2020 funding for the duration of the programme, including after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as both partners and in coordinating consortia.
As previously announced in August 2016, the UK government is committed to underwriting all bids for EU funding submitted by UK participants whilst the UK remains a member of the EU. The underwrite covers both on-going projects and all bids submitted prior to the date the UK leaves the EU (29 March 2019) but for which the outcome is not known by that date. This includes Stage 1 bids that have been submitted for calls operating a two-stage process, where the Stage 2 deadline falls after the exit date. Operation of the Underwrite Guarantee would only be necessary in a scenario in which the Withdrawal Agreement is not signed (i.e. a ‘no deal’ outcome).
On 24 July, the government announced an extension to the Underwrite Guarantee (the ‘Post EU Exit Guarantee Extension’). The extension means that the government is now committed to funding UK participants on all successful collaborative Horizon 2020 bids made after exit day and until the end of Horizon 2020, thus including all bids submitted both before and after the date the UK leaves the EU.
The extension to the guarantee means that, in a no deal scenario, UK participants will be able to continue to apply to Horizon 2020 calls open to third country participants (which the UK will be at that point), safe in the knowledge that their participation will be funded for the lifetime of the project, even if this extends beyond 2020.
For more details of which parts of the Horizon 2020 programme are open to third countries, please contact the Research Development Team (see below).
UK participation in Horizon Europe
The note also sets out the government’s aspirations for UK participation in the successor programme to Horizon 2020 – Horizon Europe – which will run from 2021-2027. In the recently published white paper on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the government set out that it would like to explore association to Horizon Europe and other European science and innovation programmes. Such association – in the government’s view – would involve an appropriate UK financial contribution linked to a suitable level of influence in line with the contribution and benefits the UK brings to such programmes.