- The government’s push to maximise UK participation in Horizon Europe continues today with the start of a new multichannel campaign across social media, podcasts and more in both UK and Europe
- the Science and Tech Secretary wants UK academics, researchers and businesses of all sizes to seize the enormous opportunities presented by the £82 billion scheme
- UK firms are already benefitting from Horizon funding to support their research
A new campaign launched to encourage UK businesses, academics and researchers to apply for Horizon Europe funding kicks off today (Monday 29 January). Horizon is the world’s largest programme of research collaboration, which the UK is a part of after the Prime Minister secured a bespoke deal, last year.
The average Horizon grant is worth £450,000 to a UK business, and Ministers are determined for UK researchers and businesses to capitalise on the opportunities the programme offers to support vitally important research benefitting all our lives, from health to the environment.
The multi-channel campaign will include media partnerships, content on digital audio platforms (such as podcasts), and targeted digital media investments, with a focus on paid social adverts on platforms regularly used by research professionals such as LinkedIn, and digital displays.
It will also include real-world examples, spotlighting outstanding researchers and businesses who have delivered their ideas through Horizon Europe funding. The campaign’s reach will extend both domestically and internationally, building upon an ongoing series of official-level engagements with stakeholder organisations, designed to actively promote and advocate for the programme.
UK firms are already benefitting from Horizon funding to support their research, like Nova Innovation, whose consortium won over £17 million to develop tidal energy in Orkney, and South Yorkshire tech firm The Floow who are part of a project awarded just under £3 million, looking into road safety. The campaign push will shine a light on the benefits of Horizon participation for businesses like these – particularly smaller firms involved in R&D which might not have previously considered applying – as well as academics and researchers nationwide.
Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:
“We listened to the research sector and secured an excellent bespoke deal associating to Horizon. Being part of Horizon is a colossal win for the UK’s science, research and business communities and we need to capitalise on this incredible opportunity, once again putting our world class researchers and businesses at the very heart of the Horizon programme, which is precisely why I have set up this campaign blitz.
“I want to ensure that every part of the country is getting the most out of this programme. From a comms blitz to ensure every business and institution that does research in the UK knows about the opportunities Horizon offers, to grants to help our researchers and businesses put in the best applications possible, we will leave no stone unturned to boost our role in the world’s largest research programme.”
The launch of this campaign builds on concrete support already being made available to encourage UK bids for Horizon funding, such as ‘pump priming’ grants delivered in partnership with the British Academy offering of up to £10,000 for selected UK researchers and businesses to help them create better applications. The aim is for this funding to encourage those researchers who have not previously had experience, including next generation researchers, to apply to Horizon.
This is just the start of a packed 2024, with plans for engagement throughout the year to ensure this message reaches businesses of all kinds, who might not have previously considered applying, as well as researchers and academics in every part of the country. More details on this will be made available in due course.
The future of the UK depends on science, innovation and technology. By leading the way in these fields, we can grow the economy, one of the Prime Minister’s five priorities, as well as unlock breakthroughs that could improve everyone’s quality of life.
We know from recent history that the UK can be a leader in this area. We have four of the top ten universities in the world, and the second-highest number of Nobel prize winners. A quarter of projects in which the UK participated, funded through Horizon’s predecessor, were UK-led.
Horizon Europe is built around three main pillars – excellent science (Pillar 1), global challenges and industrial competitiveness (Pillar 2), and innovative Europe (Pillar 3). Horizon’s Pillar 2 has the largest budget, and supports research that is aimed at tackling some of the biggest problems facing society, from improving people’s health to tackling climate change. The average Horizon grant from Pillar 2 is worth £450,000 to a UK business.
In addition to funding, collaboration with European and global partners through the programme can help unlock export markets for UK businesses.
Further information, including practical support on how to apply is available on Innovate UK’s website and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) also host regular events that help guide businesses and researchers through the opportunities on offer and the application process.
Encouraging smaller businesses to pitch for, and win, Horizon and Copernicus funding supports DSIT’s aim to help the UK’s promising science and tech firms scale-up and grow.