Post Brexit Environment and UK Association

The UK officially left the EU on 1 January 2021, following signature of the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement (Brexit deal). This agreement sets out the terms of the future EU and UK relationship.

Horizon 2020 projects

Although Horizon 2020 has ended, some projects funded in its lifetime could continue up to 2025-26. It is therefore important to note that Brexit will not affect the funding of UK partners in live projects. The UK remained a Member State up to the end of 2020, thus all UK partners in live projects will receive funding as normal for the full duration of their project.

Horizon Europe – UK to become an Associated Country

The UK is no longer a Member State but it was agreed as part of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (Brexit Deal) that we would participate as an Associated Country. This means that the UK would pay into the Horizon Europe Programme and enjoy the same participation rights as a Member State.

The terms of association are already agreed in Protocol 1 to the Brexit Deal, meaning that association should have been a formality rather than a negotiation. However, Horizon Europe has become a bargaining chip for leverage in other post-Brexit politics and as a result this association is delayed. The current state of play is summarised in a presentation and slides on our Events page and an evolving FAQ document.

As the intention is still to associate, UK applicants are deemed to be eligible for all Horizon Europe calls even when a funding deadline precedes the signing of the association agreement. If an award is made before official Association, the UKRI Guarantee Fund will cover the budget of UK applicants.

This fund initially covered any awards signed off before the end of 2022 but this will be extended to cover all pending awards of live applications to calls open at the time of any formal non-association.

For further information about Horizon Europe, please consult our Horizon Europe page.

UK Government ‘Plan B’

The UK Government released a policy paper on 20th July for the proposed Plan B approach. This includes a series of transitional, short-term measures and longer-term replacement schemes.

  1. Transitional Measures:

    The UKRI Horizon Europe Guarantee – If we are unable to associate, Govt will fund applications submitted to funding calls with an EU final call deadline date before the point of non-association which are successful in the EU evaluation and meet the eligibility criteria of the guarantee. This includes those where grant signature dates fall beyond the end of 2022. This would pick up where the current guarantee has left off, so there is no gap, and no eligible successful applications would go unfunded.

    Uplifts to innovation support and existing talent programmes – this will broaden the scopes of existing mechanisms for SME funding and broaden the scope of national-level Fellowship schemes.

    Talent and Research Stabilisation Fund – this may take the form of a block grant to retain researchers or consolidate key EU projects.

  2. Plan B replacement schemes:

Top Talent – attractive fellowships to replace lost access to ERC and MSCA PF fellowship opportunities.

End to End Innovation – funding for international innovation in strategic global challenges (e.g. Net Zero) with 60% total funding investing in industry.

Global Collaboration – a combination of top-down and bottom-up international collaboration opportunities and UK access to Horizon Europe calls where a Third Country is eligible.

R&D System – measures to enable participation via investment in infrastructure, supporting sustainability in UK Universities and installing international collaboration in the UK’s top Public Sector Research Establishments (PSREs – e.g. UKAEA, NPL).

UK Participation in other EU Funding Programmes

Draft Protocol I of the Joint Declaration on Participation in Union Programmes states that the UK may also participate in:

  • Joint Research Centre (JRC) activities
  • European Partnerships in the form of Article 185 and 187 (Joint Programming)
  • The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
  • European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERICs)
  • European Research Area Committee (ERAC)
  • Euratom Research & Training (R&T) Programme 2021-2025.

Turing scheme to replace Erasmus +

The UK will no longer participate in the next Erasmus+ programme (2021-2027). As a replacement scheme, the UK Government has announced the new Turing scheme. This scheme is managed by the International Office and further details can be found here.

Useful Links

You may find the following resources helpful: