Posts tagged: Brexit

Latest update on UK participation in EU funding programmes

13 August 2018

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).

Withdrawal Agreement

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.

Underwrite Guarantee

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.

Link: UK participation in Horizon 2020: UK government overview

If you have any questions about any aspect of applying for EU research funding, please don’t hesitate to contact either Stephen Parkinson or Adrian Duckworth in the Research Development Team.

Update on UK participation in EU funding programmes

29 January 2018

Given the on-going uncertainty and widespread misapprehensions about the eligibility of UK-based applicants to participate in EU research and higher education funding programmes, Universities UK (UUK) have issued a briefing note summarising the current position.

The key message is that, despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU, nothing has changed in terms of the UK’s status in EU programmes including Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+. UK-based applicants are therefore encouraged to continue to work with collaborators across the EU in developing applications for funding under both programmes.

The agreement on Phase One of the negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU – announced in December 2017 – clarifies that the UK will continue to pay into the EU budget up until the end of the current budget period in 2020 and therefore there will be no change in the UK’s status in relation to these programmes until 2021 at the earliest.

Even in the event of a “no-deal” scenario at the end of the second phase of negotiations, the UK Government has committed to underwrite UK participants on all successful bids made by UK applicants to Horizon 2020 (and all Erasmus+ grant agreements signed) while the UK remains in the EU.

A full copy of the briefing note is available to download below. Please feel free to pass this information on to your EU-based collaborators, especially if they are in any doubt about UK-based applicants’ eligibility to apply for EU funding.

UUKi Briefing note on HE&R collaboration through EU programmes

If you have any questions about any aspect of applying for EU research funding, please don’t hesitate to contact Stephen Parkinson in the Research Development Team.

Post-referendum position on EU research funding

2 March 2017

In light of a number of queries received from academic colleagues in recent weeks, it is clear that there is still some uncertainty about the position of UK researchers in relation to applying for EU research funding in light of the referendum result and the UK’s impending departure from the EU. The Research Development Team therefore thought it would be useful to summarise the current position and to point colleagues towards additional sources of information about post-referendum related issues.

The over-arching message is that, at least until the UK officially leaves the EU (currently expected to be in March 2019), there is no change in UK-based applicants’ ability to bid and be awarded funding from the main EU research & innovation funding programmes (Horizon 2020, but also Erasmus+). Those colleagues interested in applying for funding from these sources should continue to pursue these opportunities and work with their partners across Europe to develop and submit their proposals as normal.

UK participants on all successful proposals which are submitted prior to the date on which the UK formally leaves the EU will have the cost of their involvement in these projects guaranteed, even where these projects extend beyond that date (or even if they are due to start after this date, provided the proposal is submitted prior to it).

The European Commission has also made it clear that proposals led by or including UK partners should not be treated any differently in the evaluation process and is putting measures in place to monitor this. Proposals involving UK partners should therefore not have a reduced chance of success.

The Research Development Team is on hand to advise and support any academic colleagues working on (or thinking of developing) Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ bids as normal. However, we are aware that may still be some uncertainty across Europe about the status of UK applicants, and would therefore like to hear from anyone who feels they may have been excluded from a bid, or had their role in one reduced/sidelined, due to uncertainty from others partners about UK applicants’ eligibility.

If you have experience of this, please send details to EU Funding Lead, Stephen Parkinson.

What follows is summary of some of the key messages, taken from the UK Research Office’s post-referendum resources page, which colleagues may find useful.


What has changed for UK participation since the referendum?
No immediate changes to UK participation in Horizon 2020 – this reflects the broader position that the UK’s status in the EU has not changed yet.
This means that:
  • Currently, the UK is still an EU Member State and has the same rights and obligations as all other 27 Member States, including the participation in EU funding programmes
  • The UK continues to be a full Member State during the negotiation process, with all the rights and obligations until the UK leaves the EU at the end of the process.
  • Details on how the UK can participate after an exit need to be determined during the negotiations following the triggering of Article 50.
What happens to proposals and projects involving UK participants when the UK leaves the EU?
The UK Government will underwrite funding for UK researchers participating in EU projects beyond the date the UK leaves the EU.
HM Treasury has issued a statement on 13 August 2016 to confirm this:
  • “Where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU”.
  • UKRO understands that eligibility for the guarantee will extend to all applications submitted before the exit date, and not just to grants signed.
  • British universities and research organisations should therefore continue to apply for EU funding through mechanisms such as Horizon 2020 while the UK remains a member of the EU.
  • Universities and research organisations from other EU Member States or countries associated to EU funding programmes are encouraged to and should feel reassured to continue to include UK partners.
  • Information on Erasmus+ is available on the website of the National Agency (erasmusplus.org.uk/news/eu-referendum-update).
What is the advice from the European Commission on UK participation in Horizon 2020?
The Commission has confirmed that the status of UK participants in EU funding programmes remains unchanged until the UK leaves the EU.
  • In July 2016, the Commission issued a statement concerning Horizon 2020: “Until the UK leaves the EU, EU law continues to apply to and within the UK, both when it comes to rights and obligations. This includes the eligibility of UK legal entities to participate and receive funding in Horizon 2020 actions.”
  • The Commission also explicitly briefs proposal evaluators in their guidance: “Experts should not evaluate proposals with UK participants any differently than before.” (europa.eu/research/participants/data/support/expert/h2020_expertbriefing_en.pdf)
  • The Commission has also clarified that proposals should not dedicate a part of their proposal to addressing the potential risks as a consequence of the UK Referendum, and that this will not be considered as part of the proposal evaluation process.
The main message at the moment, both from the UK Government and the European Commission, is that the status of the UK as an EU Member State will not change until such time as the UK actually leaves the EU and that UK participants should continue applying for Horizon 2020 and other competitive EU funds.
Additional Resources
UKRO has produced a detailed FAQ factsheet on UK participation in EU funding for research, innovation and higher education, containing additional information and links to a variety of resources.
Post-Referendum Statements