billion research and innovation programme succeeds Horizon
2020 until 2027. Who knows where this may lead, after
FP7 and H2020.
the disruption caused by Brexit
and Covid19, many persons and organizations looking to join EU
consortiums in the hope of obtaining grant funding, were or are unclear
as to where they stand.
With effect from 1 July 2021, the provision of UK National Contact Point (NCP) services for the Energy theme under
Horizon Europe will be transferring to
UK. The NCP services for the Energy theme will then be offered alongside those for the
Climate themes, which together form a Cluster under the new Horizon Europe Work Programme and governance structures.
As part of the future relationship agreement reached between the UK and the EU on 24 December, the UK has announced that it will associate to Horizon Europe, in principle, subject to both the ratification of the overall deal and satisfactory finalisation of the regulations.
Horizon Europe is the EUís research and innovation programme that will run from 2021 to 2027, the successor to
Association will give UK scientists, researchers and businesses access to funding under the programme on equivalent terms to organisations in EU member states. The next step is for both sides to formally adopt the full text of the agreement taking into account the finalised EU Programme Regulations. The
Commission has published a Q&A on the UKís participation in Horizon Europe.
The timeline for UK association is to be confirmed but draft text in the EU-UK Declarations sets out an ambition for the UK to associate to Horizon Europe in time to participate from the beginning of the programme. The first Calls for Proposals for the new
Climate, Energy and Mobility Cluster are expected to be launched in June 2021.
HOW WILL THE UK ASSOCIATE WITH HORIZON EUROPE (HE)
Through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK (TCA). All
aspects of UK association to Horizon Europe were agreed on 24 December 2020 in the TCA
and documents attached to the Agreement. Association will enter into force through the
formal adoption of a Protocol that is already agreed in principle, after the Horizon Europe
Regulation has been adopted. No additional negotiations are foreseen.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has been provisionally applied since 1st
January 2021. It will be definitively adopted after receiving the consent of the
Part V of the TCA addresses UK participation in EU programmes. It is complemented by a
financial annex specifying the implementation of the financial conditions and by a draft
protocol, called Protocol I. This Protocol specifies the Programmes in which the UK will
participate and the scope of its participation, as well as some rules specific to each
programme, including Horizon Europe.
This protocol is still in draft form and will be finalised and adopted by the joint EU-UK
Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes. This delay in adoption is
purely for legal reasons, as the Protocol on participation to Union programmes cannot
formally be adopted prior to the formal adoption of the basic act: the Horizon Europe
Regulation needs to be adopted first. As soon as the regulation is adopted the parties will
finalise and adopt the Protocol in the joint Specialised Committee on Participation in Union
When the Protocol enters into force, the UK will be formally associated to Horizon Europe.
The UK is associating to the full Horizon Europe programme with the only exception of the
EIC Fund (which is the loan/equity instrument of the EIC, see below). The scope of
association includes the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Curie-Skłodowska
Actions, the six ĎGlobal Challengesí clusters and Missions, the partnerships, the European
Institute of Innovation and Technology, etc.
UK entities are not eligible to participate in the EIC Fund part of the EIC Accelerator, since
the UK decided not to take part in financial instruments of the EU. This means UK entities
can apply for grants under the Accelerator but they will not be eligible for loans or equity.
They can also participate on an equal footing with entities from EU Member States and other
associated countries in the EICís Pathfinder component.
The operational contribution will be calculated by applying the ratio of UK GDP to the EU27
GDP to the amount allocated to Horizon Europe. Adjustments will be made to deduct calls
from which the UK might exceptionally be excluded or quasi-excluded.
The participation fee will be introduced progressively. It will be 4% of the operational
contribution in 2027, at the end of the phase-in period.
In case the UK receives more in competitive grants than its operational contribution (after
deduction of support expenditure) an automatic correction has been set with a threshold of
8% over two successive years.
In case the UK receives significantly less, the mechanism is different and the first way to rebalance the situation should be to try to improve the level of UK participation.
If the UK overpays by more than 12%, it may bring the matter to the joint Specialised
Committee on Participation in Union Programmes for consideration and agreement of
appropriate measures to balance the situation. In case the imbalance persists and exceeds
16%, the Specialised Committee can make adaptations to the UKís participation and adjust
future financial contributions. At this stage, the UK may also reconsider its participation in
the Programme or parts thereof.
WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES ARE ASSOCIATED TO HE?
Sixteen countries were associated to Horizon 2020. Similarly, Horizon Europe will be open to
the association of:
- European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members which are members of the European
Economic Area (EEA);
- Acceding countries, candidate countries and potential candidates; and
- Countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The Commission is currently (May 2021) engaged in active exploratory talks with a view to
(re)association with six Western Balkan countries, Turkey, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Ukraine,
the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and the Faroe Islands. Moreover, the process to
formalise (re)association with Norway and Iceland is being carried out in accordance with the
provisions of the EEA Agreement.
The Commission expects most (if not all) of these countries to be associated from the start
of Horizon Europe, alongside the UK, while others may join later in the Programmeís life
In addition, Horizon Europe will also be open to the association of other third countries and
territories located anywhere in the world and that share the EUís fundamental values, as well
as have a good capacity in science, technology and innovation, in line with the requirements
of Article  (1)(d) of the Horizon Europe Regulation
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