20.09.23 Market Intel

A new Horizon

Written by Jon Williams, Director, Granted

The news that the UK has formally reassociated with Horizon Europe, the European Union’s flagship scientific research funding scheme, has been met with joy and relief by most of the research and development community.

Joy because the programme is integral to supporting cross-border scientific collaboration, underpinning a wide range of grant-funded research activities, and relief because it has finally removed the uncertainty around the UK’s continued support for EU funding for the remainder of the programme.

This uncertainty had actively disincentivised UK applicants from applying for EU funds for the past three years. Although UK institutions and companies have been able to apply for Horizon Europe funds since Brexit, funding for successful applications was ultimately dependent upon a rolling guarantee from the UK Government. This provided little confidence in ongoing UK financial support.

Understandably, European collaborators have been reluctant during this period to include UK partners, leading to a dramatic drop in collaborative R&D applications with UK involvement. So, the new deal agreed by the Prime Minister means the UK (company or academic) now has an enhanced ability to collaborate and participate in EU funding calls.

Horizon Europe will give UK companies and research institutions opportunities to lead global work to develop new technologies and research projects, ensuring we, as a nation, can shape scientific collaboration taking place next year, as well as lead consortia.

What is Horizon Europe?

In a nutshell, Horizon Europe is a well-established EU research and innovation programme with a budget of €95.5 billion and runs until 2027.

It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

Horizon Europe delivers funding opportunities through dedicated work programmes (critical documents that outline the program’s objectives, funding opportunities, and specific areas of interest for research and innovation projects).

Essentially, they are detailed roadmaps that guide researchers, innovators, and organisations interested in securing funding from the program. They ensure transparency, fairness, and alignment with the EU’s research and innovation priorities, making it easier for potential applicants to understand the program’s goals and how to participate effectively.

Researchers and organisations looking to participate in Horizon Europe should closely review the relevant work programme(s) to identify suitable funding opportunities and understand the specific requirements and expectations for their projects.

Horizon Europe statistics as of 31 August 2023

Number of applications and grant offers made through the Horizon Europe guarantee up to 31 August 2023

Source: UKRI, last updated 3 August 2023

Look before you leap

While the sun may be shining on the Horizon, the UK’s reassociation will further increase the funding landscape’s complexity and reinforce the challenge and importance of identifying the right fund at the right time via fund matching.

Large, collaboration funding opportunities are not necessarily the best fit for small businesses’ strategic objectives and goals (they are typically on three to four-year timelines and are multi-participant projects with a variety of objectives), and should be carefully considered alongside other funding opportunities.

Importance of fund matching

Having a guide to help you navigate the opportunities available will be beneficial to ensure funding that best aligns with your strategy.

Specific competitions only fund certain types of research and development, so it is always worth checking that your project aligns with the scope of the competition, including any specific themes.

We’re here to help you navigate the grant funding landscape with open and honest communication – maximising your chances of funding success.


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