University welcomes ‘tremendous news’ as UK rejoins Horizon Europe research programme


September 8th, 2023

The UK is to re-join Horizon Europe, the EU’s flagship scientific research programme. The announcement, made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will allow scientists and researchers to apply for funding from the £81bn (€95bn) scheme from 7 September. The UK will also associate to Copernicus, the EU’s £8bn (€9bn) Earth observation programme. 

The news has been warmly welcomed by the University of Nottingham and our European collaborators and partners. Professor Sam Kingman, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, said: “We are truly delighted. Rejoining the world’s largest research collaboration programme is tremendous news for research institutions such as the University of Nottingham, our global collaborators, for the UK and for Europe.” 

Professor Kingman urged research leaders and teams at the University of Nottingham to continue to be alert to opportunities in Europe. 

He added: “Our faculty teams and Research and Innovation colleagues work hard to ensure an agile response to such opportunities. Our message to our researchers is to continue to think globally and seek new channels to take research across borders and amplify the impact of our discoveries.” 

More guidance from the university and news of support for Horizon Europe and Copernicus funding opportunities will follow, including plans for in-person and virtual workshops. As well as promoting and supporting this renewed opportunity, we will ensure the anticipated increase in activity in this area is fully supported, both pre- and post-award.  

Please visit Research and Innovation’s Horizon Europe funding guidance for updates or contact Matt Rackley, Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Manager for the EU. 

There is also an opportunity to ask Science Minister George Freeman MP questions about the Horizon Europe deal. 

Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, which has been a key advocate for securing a Horizon Europe agreement. Chief Executive Dr Tim Bradshaw said: “This deal is a true win-win for everyone. The scale of research supported by Horizon Europe will help deliver medical breakthroughs, new technologies, and advances in areas such as AI to improve all our lives and help tackle the shared environmental, economic, and social challenges we face.” 

Chief Executive of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern, there would be a “unanimous sigh of colossal relief” from scientists at the news. 

Under the bespoke agreement announced today, the UK will be participating as a fully associated member of Horizon Europe for the remaining life of the programme to 2027. 

This will not only open up cooperation with the EU, but also Norway, New Zealand and Israel which are part of the programme – and countries like Korea and Canada which are looking to join too. 

Associate membership had been agreed with Horizon as part of the Brexit trade deal when the UK formally left the EU in 2020, but this stalled due to disagreement over the Northern Ireland Protocol. 

In the meantime, the University of Nottingham’s ongoing commitment to engage with Europe has seen a number of projects secure funding under the ‘financial safety net’ provided for researchers who have successfully applied to Horizon Europe but were unable to sign grants and access EU funding.  

Among other Horizon Europe awards, we’ve had particularly encouraging recent successes with prestigious European Research Council grants, including several €1.5 million Starting Grants for five-year ‘excellent’ frontier research projects, and €2.5 million Advanced Grants for established research leaders. 

Professor Sam Kingman said the university was determined to maintain momentum and seize funding opportunities with Horizon Europe and Copernicus, the Earth observation programme that is playing an increasingly important role in environmental monitoring. 

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