UCML digest of the white paper ‘Supporting UK R&D and collaborative research beyond European programmes’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-uk-rd-and-collaborative-research-beyond-european-programmes/supporting-uk-rd-and-collaborative-research-beyond-european-programmes , published 20 July 2022
The government white paper published in July 20th 2022 sets out the government’s transition plans at the end of the Horizon Europe guarantee on December 31st 2022. It also sets out longer term plans to replace Horizon Europe funding should the UK not be able associate to Horizon in the future.
The white paper reiterates the UK’s preference to associate to Horizon Europe, claiming that it is the EU who have stalled this process. The Horizon Europe guarantee, established by UK government in November 2021 and extended to 31 December 2022, ensures that eligible UK applicants who have been successfully evaluated by the European Commission (EC) have access to funding regardless of whether the UK associates to Horizon Europe.
The white paper sets out transitional measures that go beyond the end of the Horizon Europe guarantee at the end of 2022. These include:
- The Horizon Europe Guarantee – If the UK is unable to associate, the government will fund applications that are submitted to a Horizon Europe funding call with an EU final call deadline date before the point of non-association, are successful in the EU evaluation and meet the eligibility criteria of the guarantee. This includes those where grant signature dates fall beyond the end of 2022. This would pick up where the current guarantee has left off, so there is no gap, and no eligible successful applications would go unfunded.
- Funding for successful, in-flight applications – the government will support UK entities with eligible in-flight applications to Horizon Europe (to calls that have closed or are open at the point of non-association, where such applications are not being evaluated by the EC), by assessing such applications domestically, to ensure the best get funded should the EC no longer carry out the evaluation.
- Uplifts to existing talent programmes – increasing funding for existing schemes covering a broad range of disciplines via National Academies and UKRI, followed by the creation of a new UK fellowship and award programme.
- Uplifts to innovation support – increasing funding for a range of innovation schemes targeted at small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), delivered by Innovate UK.
- The use of formula funding to support a range of eligible UK institutions who have been most affected by the loss of Horizon Europe talent funding through the Talent and Research Stabilisation Fund.
- Third Country Participation – Around two-thirds of Horizon Europe calls are open to UK researchers and companies as Third Country applicants, as part of consortia with at least 3 other applicants from EU member states or associated countries, provided they bring their own funding. The government will fund all eligible UK entities participating in any such consortia signing grant agreements before 31 March 2025.The government will consider the approach to funding for Third Country Participation beyond this date and make an announcement by October 2024.
It also sets out longer term plans. It aims to use the funding allocated to Horizon Europe at the 2021 Spending Review to build on existing R&D programmes. This includes:
- Adding a new ‘talent offer’ to the existing offer, including long-term fellowships and a strong international mobility offer. This includes the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships and Mid-Career Fellowships; UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships; AHRC Research Development and Engagement Fellowships and Research Grants Scheme; ESRC New Investigator Grants, Postdoctoral fellowships, Policy Fellowships, and Research Grants (Standard grants, Large grants).
- Funds to support global collaboration, including funds for bottom-up collaborations with researchers in partner countries around the globe; multilateral and bilateral collaborations; and Third Country Participation in Horizon Europe.
- Investment in industrial research and innovation to address UK government’s strategic priorities including those identified by the National Science and Technology Council and industry, building on Innovate UK funding.
- Additional funding for UK HEIs to respond to new programmes to ensure research sustainability.
- Increasing domestic R+D investment outside of the Greater Southeast by at least a third over the spending review period and at least 40% by 2030.
UCML welcomes the greater clarity over transitional and longer term funding plans, but strongly advocates for association to Horizon Europe.