Research associations plead for eleventh hour deal on UK’s Horizon Europe association

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Research and university associations from across Europe have sent a letter to the European Commission calling for the UK to become associated in Horizon Europe without delay.

In the letter, bodies representing over 1,000 universities, 38 research institutes and funding agencies, 33 rectors’ conferences, and 120 regional organisations, say the lack of a clear timeline for finalising UK association is increasingly damaging research ties.

“The UK’s association to Horizon Europe must be implemented now,” the letter says. “This lingering uncertainty risks endangering current and future plans for collaboration.”

The post-Brexit trade agreement the EU and UK signed in December 2020 included provisions for the UK to be associated in Horizon Europe and the Commission assured researchers UK partners need not wait for the formal approval of the association agreement and could go ahead and apply for the first calls.

Research organisations are annoyed that universities, businesses and research institutions have been working with UK partners on project proposals for the past 10 months, assuming the UK would soon be a full associated member in Horizon Europe, but the Commission is delaying a decision on the UK’s participation in the €95.5 billion programme.

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