UK Participation in Horizon 2020: The UK Government's overview

by michael rogers

The submitter notes: A growing number of questions are being raised by members and prospective submitters about the impct of BREXIT on the MSCA. This document provides an overview of the UK’s relationship with Horizon 2020. It is dated mid-March 2018. Nothing since then has been agreed that would materially alter any of these statement.

The European Council formally agreed on 15 December that sufficient progress had been made to move on to the second stage of the negotiations, and adopted guidelines for that second phase. This followed the publication of a Joint Report on progress during the first phase by the Government and the European Commission on 8 December, which outlines the agreement in principle made between the EU and the UK. The UK and EU have committed to translating the Joint Report into a legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement as soon as possible, subject to outstanding issues to be agreed as part of phase two of the negotiations. The European Commission published their version of draft legal text on 28 February. The UK continues to stand behind the commitments made in December and will work with the Commission to agree how they should be translated into legal form in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Joint Report states:

“following withdrawal from the Union the UK will continue to participate in the Union programmes financed by the MFF 2014-2020 until their closure (excluding participation in financial operations which give rise to a contingent liability for which the UK is not liable as from the date of withdrawal). Entities located in the UK will be entitled to participate in such programmes. Participation in Union programmes will require the UK and UK beneficiaries to respect all relevant Union legal provisions including co-financing. Accordingly, the eligibility to apply to participate in Union programmes and Union funding for UK participants and projects will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the Union for the entire lifetime of such projects.”

Horizon 2020 is one of the Union programmes covered by this text.

The UK Government encourages the UK research and innovation (R&I) community to continue applying for Horizon 2020 funding and participating in Horizon 2020 projects because:

● Until our departure from the EU, we remain a Member State, with all the rights and obligations that entails. This means that UK entities are eligible to participate in all aspects of the Horizon 2020 programme while we remain a member of the EU.

● The UK and the EU fully intend UK entities’ eligibility in Horizon 2020 to remain unchanged for the duration of the programme, as set out in the Joint Report. This includes eligibility to participate in all Horizon 2020 projects and to receive Horizon 2020 funding for the lifetime of projects.

● The Government’s underwrite guarantee remains in place in the event that commitments made in the Joint Report are not met.

Science, research and innovation are vital to the UK’s prosperity, security and wellbeing, and are at the heart of our industrial strategy. The UK Government is committed to ensuring we secure the best possible outcome for the R&I community as exit negotiations continue. The Prime Minister stated in her speech on 2 March 2018. “The UK is  committed to establishing a far-reaching science and innovation pact with the EU, facilitating the exchange of ideas and researchers. This would enable the UK to participate in key programmes alongside our EU partners”, a position further reinforced by the UK Government’s Collaboration on science and innovation: a future partnership paper.

The UK values being a part of the Horizon 2020 programme. Through this programme we have built significant scientific partnerships with countries across Europe and beyond. These collaborations have reinforced the UK’s position at the forefront of international research and innovation, with UK researchers and businesses helping to tackle societal challenges that affect people all over the world.

Horizon 2020 has delivered great benefits, both from the UK perspective and for our European colleagues. The UK is a top five collaboration partner in Horizon 2020 for each of the other 27 European Union Member States and there have been over 38,000 collaborative links with Member States, including with our top five partners: Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands. Across the programme, the UK ranks second only to Germany in terms of the number of project participations, with UK researchers and innovators awarded 15% of all agreed funds to date, totalling around €4 billion.

The UK Government’s commitment to underwrite Horizon 2020 funding provides further reassurance to UK businesses and universities. Through this guarantee, any successful bid submitted before the UK leaves the EU will be funded for the lifetime of the project. This ensures businesses and universities can feel confident bidding for Horizon 2020 funds while the UK remains a member of the EU.

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