UK rejoins EU’s Horizon research programme

UK rejoins EU's Horizon research programme

UK Rejoins Horizon: A Triumph for Scientific Collaboration

UK Rejoins Horizon

In a much-anticipated announcement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak revealed that after months of negotiations, the UK will be rejoining Horizon, the EU’s flagship research and innovation program. This decision, which was part of the Brexit deal, was initially delayed due to disagreements over trade rules for Northern Ireland. However, the successful resolution of this issue in February has paved the way for the UK’s re-entry into Horizon, bringing with it unparalleled research opportunities for British scientists and taxpayers alike.

Under the new agreement, UK researchers can now apply for grants and participate in Horizon projects, with full access beginning in January 2024. Furthermore, the deal ensures the UK’s participation in Copernicus, the European Earth observation satellite program. The EU has also accepted the UK’s request to opt out of Euratom, Europe’s atomic energy program, in favor of pursuing a domestic fusion energy strategy.

London’s participation in Horizon and Copernicus comes at an annual cost of €2.6bn on average, but the UK will not be required to pay for the time it was absent from the program. This news has been warmly received by the scientific community, which has long campaigned for the restoration of access to Horizon.

Professor Dame Sally Mapstone, president of Universities UK, emphasized the significance of international scientific collaboration. She noted that Horizon, along with its predecessors, has been the foundation of scientific collaboration for over three decades. From groundbreaking advancements like early detection of ovarian cancer to the development of clean energy networks involving numerous universities and industrial partners, Horizon enables research on a scale that would otherwise be unattainable.

Dr. Diana Beech, CEO at London Higher, shared her delight at the reinstatement of UK universities’ certainty and stability in fueling innovation nationwide. She believes this move will further bolster the country’s reputation as a global science superpower.

The re-entry of the UK into Horizon is not only a pivotal moment for the post-divorce relationship between London and Brussels but also a significant step forward for European innovation and scientific progress. Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen has proudly affirmed the strategic partnership and allyship between the EU and UK, stating that this agreement will ensure their continued leadership in global science and research.

As we look to the future, the reunion of the UK and Horizon signifies the potential for collaborative breakthroughs that transcend borders. This positive development will inspire researchers and scientists across Europe to push the boundaries of innovation and set new standards for progress in their respective fields.