This means that UK organisations, including UCL, can apply to participate in and lead projects, and ends months of uncertainty about the status of UK research teams.
Under the new agreement, announced today, the UK will also associate to Copernicus, the European Union’s £8bn (¤9bn) Earth observation programme.
Commenting, UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence, said: "Today’s announcement on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and Copernicus is a cause for celebration on both sides of the channel.
"Association to Horizon Europe will enable research which makes a positive difference to people’s lives, supporting vital research and innovation networks and strengthening the UK’s position as an attractive destination for talent.
"We are grateful to the UK Government and to the European Commission for their efforts to secure a deal, and to the many members of our community who have advocated for this outcome.
"As one of Europe’s most internationally collaborative universities, the UCL community is well-placed to take full advantage of the opportunities association offers by continuing to lead collaborative, innovative research projects which tackle the world’s most pressing challenges."
Horizon Europe is the world’s largest research and innovation collaboration programme and provides unrivalled access to funding and collaborative opportunities with the best researchers in universities and companies, not just in Europe but across the world. The UK’s association to the programme will enable international cooperation on shared challenges, while also supporting the quality and impact of UK research, the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for talent and our ability to compete effectively with research powerhouses like China and the US.
Professor Geraint Rees, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), said: "The announcement of Horizon Europe accession is wonderful news for researchers across the UK and throughout Europe, allowing them the opportunity to work together to help solve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. At UCL our researchers have continued to win European grants over the last two years thanks to the Government’s Horizon Europe Guarantee, but this excellent news will now give our researchers even more opportunity to lead, collaborate and partner with the best researchers and universities in Europe to deliver outcomes that transform the lives of UK citizens."
Associate membership of Horizon had been agreed as part of the Brexit trade deal when the UK formally left the EU in 2020. However, the UK has been excluded from full membership of the scheme for the past three years because of a disagreement over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The new deal to rejoin Horizon and Copernicus has been part of discussions between the UK and EU, since agreeing the Windsor Framework in February, and has now been formally agreed under the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Horizon Europe is a 7-year Framework Programme for Research and Innovation that succeeds Horizon 2020. UCL has participated in more than 1,000 EU Framework Programme projects, of which more than 500 (equalling around ¤380 million) are funded through Horizon 2020. We have also hosted more than 200 prestigious European Research Council grants.
E: h.killworth [at] ucl.ac.uk
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