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Horizon Europe and the UK: A New Chapter in Research and Innovation

Good news for the UK's science and technology sectors! The United Kingdom will join Horizon Europe and Copernicus programmes through a bespoke agreement with the European Union.

Cale Bannister

Marketing Manager


5 minute read


Good news for the UK's science and technology sectors! From today (Thursday 7 September), UK researchers can apply for grants and bid to take part in projects under the Horizon programme, with certainty that the UK will be participating as a fully associated member for the remaining life of the programme to 2027.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the United Kingdom will join Horizon Europe and Copernicus programmes through a bespoke agreement with the European Union.

But what does this really mean for researchers, businesses, and ordinary citizens?

Here's everything you need to know.

Key Takeaways from the Announcement

  • Horizon Europe Access: UK researchers can now apply for grants and projects in the Horizon Europe programme, one of the world's largest research collaboration platforms.
  • Financial Terms: The Prime Minister has secured improved financial terms for the UK's participation, making it a win-win for researchers and taxpayers alike.
  • Governance Roles: The UK will also be able to influence the governance of EU programmes, which it had been excluded from for the last three years.
  • Additional Programmes: Along with Horizon Europe, the UK will also associate with Copernicus, the European Earth Observation program, providing valuable data for sectors like environmental monitoring.
  • Going Solo on Fusion: The UK will develop its own fusion energy strategy, backed by up to £650m to 2027, rather than associating with the EU’s Euratom programme.

What This Means for UK Science

More Funding Opportunities

UK scientists and researchers will now have better access to funding opportunities through Horizon Europe, spanning multiple disciplines from healthcare to Artificial Intelligence.

Collaboration and Global Reach

The agreement also opens doors for collaboration with countries like Norway, New Zealand, and Israel that are part of the Horizon Europe programme. Korea and Canada are also looking to join, making this a truly global collaboration platform.

Governance and Policy Influence

Being able to influence the governance of these EU programs means that the UK can now have a say in shaping future research collaborations.

Impacts on the UK Economy and Job Market

The deal is set to create and support thousands of new jobs, especially for the next generation of research talent. This is in line with the Prime Minister’s ambition to turn the UK into a science and technology superpower by 2030.

Benefits for Businesses and Ordinary Citizens

UK companies, especially those in tech and research sectors, will gain unparalleled opportunities to lead global work on new technologies and research projects. For the everyday citizen, this could mean quicker advancements in areas like healthcare, environmental sustainability, and technology.

Some Caveats

While the news is mostly positive, it's important to note that the UK has decided to go solo on its fusion energy strategy. While this offers a level of autonomy, it also comes with the responsibility to make significant advancements independently, backed by a £650m fund until 2027.

What the Experts are Saying

Leaders in academia, industry, and government have lauded the agreement. Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, mentioned that nearly three-quarters of cancer researchers cited EU funding as crucial for their work. Dr. Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, also heralded this as excellent news, especially for the Earth observation sector in combating climate change.

Director of Grants at Myriad Associates Marc Greatrex, who has been responsible for numerous successful Horizon Europe Applications had the following to say: "Although I am extremely skeptical, this appears to be good news for UK researchers and business, hopefully this will go someway to leveling the public funding landscape in Europe"


The new UK-EU deal on Horizon Europe and Copernicus is a win for the UK's scientific community, providing more opportunities for funding, collaboration, and governance. It's not just a boost for scientists and researchers, but also a positive development for businesses and the general public.

The government’s commitment to becoming a global science superpower by 2030 just got a significant boost, and it’s an exciting time to be involved in the UK's research and technology sectors.

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Our market-leading team is ready to put your company front and centre, aiming to secure the R&D grants in the UK that elevates your innovation strategy to the next level.

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