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How will Brexit affect the €79bn of R&D Horizon 2020 funding from the EU?

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UK businesses and research organisations currently have access to three major sources of public funding for R&D. Innovate UK, which is the UK government's agency for innovation funding in business, has a budget of £561 million for 2016-17. The R&D Tax Credits scheme that is administered by HMRC provides nearly £2bn per annum to UK businesses performing research and development activities. The EU' s Horizon 2020 programme has a much larger budget of nearly €80 billion for the seven years from 2014 to 2020. Many UK businesses, universities, and other research organisations are involved in R&D projects that receive funding from Horizon 2020. Many more have applied for future funding or are planning to do so. What does leaving the EU mean for Horizon 2020 funding?

In the longer term, UK participation in Horizon 2020 R&D funding will be a topic for negotiation. Several countries outside the EU, including Norway, Turkey, and Israel, are eligible to take part in all Horizon 2020 projects. Other countries, such as Switzerland, have more limited access to funding for some projects. The UK may join the list of non-EU countries with full or limited access to Horizon 2020, or may even find itself excluded completely. It is far too early to judge.

In the short term, nothing has changed. The European Council of Ministers has made clear that until the UK actually leaves the EU, all the obligations and all the rights of member states continue to apply. This includes eligibility for Horizon 2020 funding.

However the impact of the Referendum vote is already being felt. Chris Husbands, the Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University told BBC News last week that researchers at his university have been told by European colleagues that they don't want to work with UK universities, because of the uncertainty following the Brexit vote.

Barrie Dowsett, CEO of Myriad Associates commented: 'A number of our clients are concerned about how the assessors will score Horizon 2020 applications from UK businesses.  Although the UK is still part of the EU and should therefore be treated the same as any other member state, a number of our clients believe the European assessors (who are mainly entrepreneurs) may be influenced by Brexit.  It will be very interesting to see the results of our applications post-Brexit, which will filter through towards the end of this year.  For now we consider it business as usual, although it is very clear that many of our clients are focusing on applying for Innovate UK grant funding to suport technoloy innovation, rather than making a Horizon 2020 application, which looks after taking R&D-completed projects to EU and global markets.'

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Myriad Associates are leading experts in helping businesses maximise public funding for their research and development activities through R&D Grants and R&D Tax Credits. If you would like to discuss any aspect of R&D grant funding or R&D tax relief please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.


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