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Working on EU-funded projects

The UK has left the EU and is in a transition period until the end of 2020. The UK government is in negotiations with the EU to participate in the next generation of European research and innovation programmes starting in 2021: Horizon Europe and Euratom Research and Training.

During this period, researchers and businesses in the UK can still take part in EU-funded research programmes, including Horizon 2020.

Under all scenarios after 2020, the government’s aim is that UK organisations and entities continue to be able to lead and join consortia to participate in Horizon Europe collaborative projects open to ‘third countries’ as well as in wider international collaborations.

UKRI therefore strongly encourages research talent, businesses, and innovators in the UK and worldwide to continue to work together in establishing global consortia.

Applying for Horizon 2020 funding

Horizon 2020 is the largest European fund for research and innovation. It is running throughout 2020.

UK researchers and businesses can continue to apply for Horizon 2020 funding. This includes:

  • funding that will be awarded after 31 December 2020
  • projects that finish after 31 December 2020
  • Horizon 2020 Green Deal opportunities for projects relating to climate action – bids will be accepted until the deadline of 26 January 2021. UKRO UK guidance is available.
  • European Research Council (ERC) opportunities
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) opportunities
  • European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator grant funding.

UK applicants can lead or join a consortium of organisations from different countries to propose a Horizon 2020 project.

There’s information on GOV.UK about:

Deadlines for Horizon 2020 opportunities have been extended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Find COVID-19 deadline extensions on the European Commission website.

Additional innovation financing for businesses

Small and medium-sized enterprises can still apply for European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator grants. But they can’t access blended finance to combine their grant with equity investment.

Innovate UK will help businesses with EIC Accelerator grants to find potential investors. Find out more from your UK National Contact Point – you can find the UK National Contact Point for your sector on GOV.UK.

UK businesses can no longer access InnovFin financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

If you already have Horizon 2020 funding

Funding for most Horizon 2020 projects will continue for the project’s lifetime – even for projects that finish after 31 December 2020.

Payment arrangements will stay the same, and UK participants can continue to lead projects. They will still receive any:

  • remaining ERC, MSCA or EIC Accelerator funding they’ve been awarded
  • non-grant EU finance approved before 1 February 2020 – for example, from the European Commission, EIB or European Investment Fund (EIF).

During the coronavirus pandemic, Horizon 2020 projects should continue to follow the terms of their Grant Agreement if possible. Find COVID-19 guidance on the European Commission website.

Horizon 2020 projects involving EU-restricted information may not be able to continue in their current form. This applies to a very small number of projects and the European Commission will inform those affected. You can also email us for more information.


Other EU-funded projects

Funding for UK researchers and businesses from the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) will continue for each project’s lifetime. Payment arrangements will stay the same.

UK researchers and businesses can’t get RFCS funding for future projects. Find out more about future RFCS funding on GOV.UK.

Keep up to date about EU transition

UKRI’s European office, UK Research Office (UKRO), is based in Brussels, Belgium. UKRO provides:

  • a Brexit fact sheet including the latest information on UK participation in Horizon 2020 and other EU funding schemes
  • an advisory service for subscribing organisations.

Last updated: 23 November 2020

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