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Horizon Europe and Copernicus Programmes: UK's Association

Volume 742: debated on Monday 4 December 2023

On Monday 4 December the UK and EU will sign our bespoke new agreement finalising the UK’s association to the Horizon Europe and Copernicus programmes. This deal is set to create and support thousands of new jobs as part of the next generation of research talent. It will help deliver the Prime Minister’s ambition to grow the economy and cement the UK as a science and technology superpower by 2030.

As part of the new deal negotiated over the last six months, the Prime Minister secured improved financial terms of association to Horizon Europe that are right for the UK—increasing the benefits to UK scientists, value for money for the UK taxpayer. It ensures:

UK taxpayers will not pay for the time where UK researchers have been excluded since 2021, with costs starting from January 2024.

The UK will have a new automatic clawback that protects the UK as participation recovers from the effects of the last two and a half years. It means the UK will be compensated should UK scientists receive significantly less money than the UK puts into the programme. This was not the case under the original terms of association.

Later today we expect UK and EU representatives to meet in the format of the Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes, where they are due to sign a decision to adopt Protocols I and II and amend Annex 47 of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, thereby formalising the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and Copernicus.

I will meet in Brussels with EU Research and Innovation Commissioner lliana Ivanova and members of the UK and EU R&D sectors to discuss and promote efforts to boost UK participation in Horizon Europe and Copernicus.

My visit to Brussels marks the start of joint UK-EU work to ensure that UK businesses and researchers and their international counterparts come together and seize the opportunity that UK association to the programmes brings.

Researchers, academics, and businesses of all sizes can confidently bid for a share of the more than £80 billion available through the two programmes, with calls for the 2024 work programme already open. It builds on the Government’s record-breaking backing for R&D, with a commitment to invest £20 billion in UK R&D by 2024-25, borne out in recent announcements like the £500 million boost to the AI research resource and £50 million for battery manufacturing R&D, announced in the autumn statement.

DSIT will shortly launch a communications campaign to maximise participation in Horizon Europe and Copernicus from researchers, academics and businesses of all sizes in the UK. Encouraging smaller businesses to pitch for, and win, Horizon and Copernicus funding supports DSIT’s aim to help the UK’s promising science and tech firms scale-up and grow. Officials will work closely with key sector stakeholders to ensure this message reaches businesses of all kinds, who might not have previously considered applying, as well as researchers and academics in every part of the country.