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Horizon Europe €100 billion euro research and innovation programme



Europe's €100 billion research and innovation programme succeeds Horizon 2020 until 2027. Who knows where this may lead, after FP7 and H2020.




Following 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 Innovate UK. The NCP services for the Energy theme will then be offered alongside those for the Mobility and 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 EU’s research and innovation programme that will run from 2021 to 2027, the successor to Horizon 2020.


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 European Commission has published a Q&A on the UK’s 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.




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 European Parliament. 


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 Programmes.

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 ‘Global Challenges’ 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 EIC’s 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 UK’s participation and adjust future financial contributions. At this stage, the UK may also reconsider its participation in the Programme or parts thereof.


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 Programme’s life cycle.

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 EU’s fundamental values, as well as have a good capacity in science, technology and innovation, in line with the requirements of Article [12] (1)(d) of the Horizon Europe Regulation














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