To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent progress has been made towards the ratification of the UK’s association with the EU’s Horizon Europe programme.
31 March 2022
The UK stands ready to formalise our association to EU programmes at the earliest opportunity. The UK raised the ongoing delays at the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes in December. In this meeting the EU confirmed that they were unwilling to move on UK association due to broader political issues. The minutes from this meeting can be found on GOV.UK. We continue to push the EU to formalise our association to Horizon Europe as soon as possible.
We recognise that the EU’s delays to the UK’s association have led to uncertainty for researchers, businesses and innovators based in the UK. In order to provide reassurance, the Government guaranteed funding for the first wave of eligible successful applicants to Horizon Europe. On 15 March, the Government announced an extension of the guarantee to a second wave of eligible, successful applicants to ensure that important international collaborations can continue and to provide reassurance for future collaborations.
This guarantee protects researchers whether we associate to Horizon Europe, or not. The Government’s position remains to associate and we will continue to do everything we can, but the UK cannot wait indefinitely. If the UK is unable to associate to Horizon Europe soon, and in time to make full use of the opportunities it offers, we are committed to introducing a comprehensive alternative programme of international science, research and innovation collaborations. These will focus on both immediate stability for the sector, with short-term mitigations including the guarantee of funding for successful Horizon applicants, and a bold and ambitious longer-term offer that delivers many of the benefits of Horizon association, and additional benefits, through wider global participation, and even stronger industry and SME engagement.