UK Returns to the Horizon and Copernicus Fold

3rd Jan 2024
UK Returns to the Horizon and Copernicus Fold

On 1st January 2024, the UK returned to Europe’s largest research programmes, Horizon and Copernicus. Michelle Donelan, Science and Technology Secretary, had visited Brussels on 4th December 2023 to seal the UK’s involvement. Rejoining the programmes marks an important change for UK researchers and their ability to work with their counterparts. For the space industry, rejoining Copernicus will bolster Earth Observation innovation and development. The UK been a participant until the Horizonn 2020 programme ended, and negotiations on UK financial support for the successor ended without success.

UK officially rejoins Horizon Europe

This deal is poised to generate and support numerous new job opportunities, contributing to the growth of the economy through research and innovation. It will play a significant role in realizing the Prime Minister’s goal to solidify the UK’s position as a science and technology superpower by 2030. UK researchers, academics, and businesses can apply to participate in the £80 billion scheme through this association. 

Starting from the 2024 Work Programmes, UK-based researchers have the same opportunities to participate in the program as researchers from other associated nations, including leading consortia, and have direct access to Horizon Europe funding. The European Commission will continue to administer transitional arrangements for calls from the 2023 Work Programmes, and the UK will still provide funding under the UK guarantee scheme. 

With the UK’s association with Horizon Europe, the EU’s relationship with the UK in science and technology has been deepened, uniting research communities to address global issues such as digital transformation, health, food security, and global warming.

The UK Government and the European Commission will collaborate on engagement and outreach efforts to encourage UK-based entities’ participation in both programs. 

Donelan expressed her satisfaction with the UK’s association with both programs, highlighting how the association is a significant victory for the UK’s science, research, and business communities and would lead to economic growth and job creation. 

A New Era of Opportunities for Researchers and Innovators

This is an important step for researchers across various disciplines, as projects like ESCAPE (Exploration of the SpaceCArrying capacity ProblEm), led by Dr. Massimiliano Vasile, whom we had the honour of interviewing, will have greater opportunities to access funding.

Apart from receiving funding to continue their ongoing projects, researchers, academics, and businesses will get the opportunity to work in the world’s largest program of research cooperation. They can collaborate with researchers and professionals from EU member states, Norway, Israel, and other participating nations, with Canada preparing to join soon. Moreover, both UK and EU researchers and scientists can be assured of continuing long-term collaborations with their counterparts.

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