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EU Exit In-Flight Applications

Are you an EU grant holder with a question? If so email EUGrantsFunding@ukri.org

On 8 August the government announced that UKRI will manage the independent assessment of UK bids to the mono-beneficiary elements of the European Research Council (ERC), Marie Skƚodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) and European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator (formerly known as SMEi) that are submitted to Horizon 2020 prior to EU Exit if the European Commission does not complete evaluation of bids. The government funding has committed to this additional funding which will be made available to support successful projects for their duration.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK becomes a non-member state and ‘third-country’. Despite this, UK researchers and innovators will remain eligible to bid to, and participate in, most Horizon 2020 grants which are collaborative; that is that they involve several different researchers, businesses and organisations working together to deliver a project.

However, there are some grant types that are predominantly targeted at individual researchers or businesses, known as ‘mono-beneficiary’ schemes. These are the majority of European Research Council (ERC) grants, some Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and EIC Accelerator grants. These grants support ‘blue-sky’ thinking and world-leading innovation activity and are only open to Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020. 

The government’s ‘in-flight’ commitment only covers ‘mono-beneficiary’ ERC, MSCA and EIC Accelerator bids that are submitted to Horizon 2020 before exit. It does not cover collaborative calls within ERC and MSCA because the UK can still access those as a third-country, for example ERC Synergy, MSCA RISE or MSCA ITNs. 

This page provides guidance for UK applicants who have submitted bids to these calls before EU Exit and are expecting to be notified of an outcome by the European Commission after Exit.

Got a question about In-flights? See our detailed Q&A (PDF, 180KB).

Definition of an ‘In-flight’ bid?

In-flight bids are those grants that have been submitted to the mono-beneficiary elements of Horizon 2020’s ERC, MSCA and EIC Accelerator programmes before EU Exit but have not been assessed at the point of exit.

If the European Commission evaluates these ‘In-flight’ bids and confirms that they are successful, the UK government will fund the projects through the Guarantee. More information about the guarantee is available here.

However, if the European Commission does not evaluate these bids, which it may stop doing at the point of EU Exit, the UK government will instruct UKRI to manage the independent assessment of In-flight proposals.

Actions you need to take to prepare for Exit

STEP 1: If you are considering submitting a bid to a mono-beneficiary element of ERC, MSCA or EIC Accelerator, make sure you submit the bid to the European Commission before EU Exit.

  • Bids submitted to these calls after Exit will not be eligible for resubmission to UKRI for assessment, and thus will not be covered by the Government’s in-flight commitment. To make sure your bid is eligible for ‘in-flight’ assessment, make sure you submit it to H2020 before we leave the EU. Please note, UKRI will only accept proposals that have been submitted to H2020 before exit. Evidence of this prior submission will be required.

STEP 2: Ensure you have proof that your bid has been submitted before Exit

  • In order to qualify for the in-flight process, you will need to provide proof that you submitted your bid to Horizon 2020 before EU Exit. Make sure that you save a timestamped copy of the submitted proposal and any other correspondence confirming your submission. Further guidance on the documents that you will need to submit to UKRI as part of the in-flight process will be provided in due course.

STEP 3:  Wait for a response from the European Commission

  • If the European Commission notifies you that you have been successful, please visit this page for information on actions that you need to take to access guarantee funding.
  • If the European Commission notifies you that it will not evaluate your bid, you will need to refer to UKRI guidance detailing the actions that you need to take to resubmit your grant application to UKRI for independent assessment. This guidance will be available in due course.

If you have any further questions, please our Q&A first and if you still have questions email UKRI at EUGrantsFunding@ukri.org