Government sets out a new package of transitional measures to ensure the stability and continuity of funding for researchers and businesses

In order to preserve the stability and continuity of financing for researchers and businesses, the government today unveiled a new set of interim measures that will take effect if the UK is unable to join Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation funding programme.

As part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK government agreed in December 2020 to associate with Horizon, Copernicus, Euratom Research & Training, and Fusion for Energy.

The UK government continues to hold the view that association would be advantageous to all parties and allow nations throughout Europe to collaborate on common challenges.

However, the UK has made it clear that, should association not be completed, our priority is to protect and support the research and innovation (R&I) sector.

As a result, the funding allotted for association will be diverted to new R&D programmes, such as those intended to support international partnerships.

This is because the UK has expressed concern over the EU’s ongoing delays.

While longer-term measures are put in place, transitional measures will make sure there is no financial gap for the R&D sector and will offer researchers, institutions, and businesses immediate funding options.

The interim actions announced today include:

the already-in-place UK Guarantee scheme funding for successful, in-flight UK-based applicants to Horizon enhancements to currently-existing UK talent schemes enhancements to innovation funding and support for businesses, particularly SMEs enhancements to international innovation schemes to encourage cross-border business partnerships

financing for research organisations most negatively impacted by the termination of Horizon Europe’s talent funding

Continuing participation of a third country in Horizon Europe

The measures will be prepared to go into effect if the UK is unable to associate with Horizon Europe and will be administered by reputable and experienced UK entities using established and well-established UK financing and support mechanisms.

The document released today also lays out a preliminary vision for a long-term programme that, should it be necessary, would replace Horizon and would be centred on four major themes to supplement our current R&D investments: talent, end-to-end innovation, global collaboration, and investments in the R&D system.

The government is already in discussions with researchers and businesses to determine priorities for a programme that would help build on UK strengths and develop new capabilities while distributing resources and support for the sector all across the country, in line with the Levelling Up agenda.

The long-term programme will be established as soon as possible.

In due order, our comprehensive recommendations will be made public.

The government is also creating a thorough plan of alternatives to the Copernicus, Fusion for Energy, and Euratom R&T programmes, including temporary solutions.