Following lengthy negotiations, the UK government has announced that the UK will be participating as a fully associated member of Horizon Europe for the remaining life of the programme to 2027.
UK researchers can now apply for grants and bid to take part in projects under the Horizon programme. They will also be able to lead consortia in the next work programme of Horizon Europe projects.
The deal was negotiated over the last six months by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen.
Sunak said: “The Horizon programme is unrivalled in its scope and opens up a world of opportunity for cooperation on science that delivers real-world benefits for the UK – creating jobs, boosting our economy and opening up collaboration for the sector with some of our closest partners, whether on tackling climate change or advancing cancer research.”
International collaboration is crucial
A survey carried out by Cancer Research UK revealed that the delay in re-joining Horizon Europe was causing the UK to lose talented researchers to EU countries. The poll saw 76% of respondents state that the new UK-EU relationship had caused difficulties in recruiting and retaining research staff.
In response to the news of the new agreement, Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Horizon Europe association is overwhelmingly in the best interests of cancer patients and scientists, and it is great news for cancer research that agreement has finally been reached between the UK and EU. There will be relief throughout the research community that the uncertainty of the last two and a half years has come to an end.
“It is essential that the European Commission, the UK government and UK research funders work with urgency to rebuild the strong position the UK occupied in the Horizon programme, and get funds and global collaboration flowing again into our research institutions.”
Janet Valentine, ABPI Executive Director, Innovation and Research Policy, commented: “Joining the Horizon Europe programme is a huge win for the scientific research community, who have been pushing for resolution over the past few years. UK innovation and research depends on international collaborations which are crucial for driving advancements in all areas of science, including the discovery and early development of new medicines and vaccines.”