The UK has officially rejoined the Horizon Europe science programme as an associate country, three years after it left the EU research and innovation scheme following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
As of yesterday, the UK became an associate of the scheme, allowing UK researchers to participate in the programme, which focuses on supporting climate science and clean technology projects to address global challenges.
Under the terms of the association agreement deal finalized in early December by EU and UK negotiators, UK researchers will have the same opportunities as researchers from other associated countries, including consortium leadership and access to funding.
Horizon Europe is the largest international research and innovation programme globally, with the EU allocating £82bn from its budget for 2021-2027 for the scheme.
Associated countries, including Albania, Armenia, Norway, Serbia, Turkey, Tunisia, and now the UK, are also expected to make financial contributions to the programme. The UK is expected to contribute almost €2.6bn per year on average to both Horizon Europe and Copernicus.
UK Science Minister Michelle Donelan celebrated the UK’s re-accession to Horizon Europe on social media, highlighting the opportunities for scientific innovation and economic growth.
Starting from today, the UK will also participate in the EU’s Copernicus scheme, which provides services based on satellite data to support emissions reduction and the goals of the European Green Deal.
In a statement published yesterday, the EU Commission praised the UK’s participation in both schemes as a significant moment for scientific and space collaboration between the EU and UK.
The EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth welcomed the UK back to the Horizon family, emphasizing the mutual benefits for scientific progress.
The European Commission and the UK government have committed to joint outreach and engagement activities to encourage the participation of UK entities in both schemes.
Although the UK’s rejoining of the programme comes with less favorable terms than its previous membership as a full member, the EU and UK have agreed on a temporary mechanism to address any risk of “critical underperformance” by the UK until 2027.
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