European Commission and UK reach a new agreement with funding for Horizon Europe and the Copernicus space programme

Last week, it was confirmed that the UK will associate to the Horizon Europe and Copernicus programmes through a bespoke new agreement with the EU.

As of 1st January, 2024, researchers and organisations in the UK will be able to participate in Horizon Europe on par with their counterparts in EU Member States and have access to Horizon Europe funding. Association to Copernicus will enable the UK’s contribution to a strategically important space programme with a state-of-the-art capacity to monitor the Earth and to access its services.

It is estimated that the UK will contribute almost €2.6 billion per year on average for its participation to both Horizon Europe and the Copernicus component of the Space programme.

The agreement is the culmination of a long and complex negotiation process, which began in the aftermath of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Over the past three years, ResearchConnect has reported on over 40 significant events in the timeline leading up to the agreement.

Key points in the negotiations include:

  • December 2020: The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement outlines how the two parties will approach trade and security in the years to come, opening the door to UK Horizon Europe association. It also confirms that the UK will not participate in Erasmus+.
  • October 2021: Uncertainty arises on the ongoing lack of association of the UK to Horizon Europe, especially as other countries had successfully associated. The delays are due to political concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the UK prepares alternative plans if non-association is the outcome.
  • March and September 2022: UK Government extends financial guarantee for Horizon Europe applicants.
  • February 2023: Announcement of the Windsor Framework removes the Northern Ireland Protocol as the political stumbling block for association.
  • September 2023: UK to associate to Horizon Europe.

ResearchConnect keeps its users informed of the latest developments of funding and policy changes by actively monitoring and reporting on them through news and updates to relevant funding guidance. This helps subscribers navigate the ever-changing funding landscape, ensuring that they are well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities and meet the latest requirements.

The agreement will ensure that UK researchers can continue to participate in world-leading research projects, and that the UK can continue to contribute to the development of new technologies and solutions to global challenges.

The Horizon Europe agreement is a major milestone for UK-EU cooperation in science and research. ResearchConnect is committed to helping UK researchers take full advantage of this opportunity.
Zoe Wood, Head of Product & Strategy, ResearchConnect.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

‘With a wealth of expertise and experience to bring to the global stage, we have delivered a deal that enables UK scientists to confidently take part in the world’s largest research collaboration programme – Horizon Europe.”

The Horizon Europe association agreement will now be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union for approval. Once approved, it will enter into force and UK researchers will be able to start participating in Horizon Europe projects.

Zoe Wood, Head of Product & Strategy, ResearchConnect said:

“The Horizon Europe agreement is a major milestone for UK-EU cooperation in science and research. ResearchConnect is committed to helping UK researchers take full advantage of this opportunity. We look forward to the next step of the programme and will work to support researchers to access funding and succeed in Europe.”

Find out more

ResearchConnect will continue to report on the latest news and developments for Horizon Europe.

Contact ResearchConnect to find out more.

Published on: 14 September 2023

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