UK joins Horizon Europe after securing a new bespoke deal

8th Sep 2023
UK joins Horizon Europe after securing a new bespoke deal

From the 7th of September, the UK joins Horizon Europe and will be able to access grants to take part in projects under the Horizon programme – the world’s largest research collaboration programme. What does it mean for UK scientists and British taxpayers? Let’s figure out.

UK Scientists Gain Access to Horizon Europe with Improved Financial Terms

The United Kingdom has secured a unique agreement that allows its scientists to participate in Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research collaboration program. This move comes with significant benefits. From September 7th, UK researchers can actively apply for grants and participate in projects under the Horizon program, all while having the certainty that the UK will remain a fully associated member until the program concludes in 2027.

But there’s more to this agreement than just participation. Once adopted, the UK will also be able to join the governance of EU programs, an aspect from which the UK had been excluded for the last three years. This inclusion will allow the UK to actively shape and influence collaborative efforts scheduled for the upcoming year. Furthermore, UK researchers will have the opportunity to lead consortia in the next work program of Horizon Europe projects, opening up unprecedented opportunities for British innovation.

This collaboration extends not only to the EU but also to other nations such as Norway, New Zealand, Israel, South Korea, and Canada, who are keen to join this transformative initiative. This international partnership strengthens the UK’s position as a global leader in research and technology.

The UK to Associate with Copernicus, Enhancing Earth Observation Capabilities

In addition to Horizon Europe, the UK is set to associate itself with Copernicus, the European Earth Observation program. This partnership provides the UK’s earth observation sector access to invaluable data. This data is not only essential for research but also for practical applications such as early flood and fire warnings.

One significant aspect of this association is the ability for UK organizations to bid for contracts related to Copernicus—a privilege they haven’t enjoyed for three years. This development not only bolsters the UK’s capabilities in monitoring and managing environmental changes but also opens up new avenues for British businesses in the rapidly growing space sector.

Horizon Europe: Benefits for the UK

The bespoke agreement heralds a new era of scientific and technological advancement for the UK. Beyond its immediate benefits, this deal is set to create and support thousands of new jobs, fostering the next generation of research talent.

This agreement aligns perfectly with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s vision to grow the economy and establish the UK as a science and technology superpower by 2030. It demonstrates the government’s commitment to making innovation the cornerstone of prosperity, leveraging the wealth of expertise and experience present in the UK.

Moreover, the deal includes provisions to protect the interests of British taxpayers, ensuring that they do not bear the financial burden of past exclusion. Costs will start from January 2024, delivering much better terms for 2023. This will also provide breathing space to boost the participation of UK researchers in open calls for grants before financial contributions commence.

Additionally, the UK will have a new automatic clawback that protects the country as participation recovers from the effects of the last two and a half years. This means the UK will be compensated should UK scientists receive significantly less money than the UK puts into the program—protections that weren’t present in the original terms of association.

In conclusion, the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe and Copernicus through this bespoke agreement signifies a momentous stride in global scientific cooperation and innovation. It not only benefits UK scientists and taxpayers but also strengthens international partnerships, promising a brighter future for scientific research, technological development, and global problem-solving. It is a clear message that the UK is ready to take on the world as a science and technology superpower.

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