There has been some “noise” over the past weeks regarding the UK’s future partnership with the EU in science and innovation projects, which in some cases might make consortia reluctant to incorporate UK entities into their projects.
Here are some reasons why consortia should not exclude UK participants at this point in time:
- Clearly, until the official Brexit date (March 19) nothing changes and the projects finishing before that date will not suffer any change.
- In the case of projects that are running at the moment the Brexit happens, UK partners will not be eligible to receive EU funding automatically. We will have to wait until the Brexit date to see if a bilateral agreement between EU-UK has been signed making EU funding possible for UK partners. However, if the worst scenario happened (no agreement between the UK and EU), the UK government has officially committed to fund, with national funding, the EU projects that are ongoing.
You may use the following references and information to check this fact:
- Official UK statement (August 2016): “… I am confirming that structural and investment funds projects signed before the Autumn Statement and Horizon research funding granted before we leave the EU will be guaranteed by the Treasury after we leave.”
- Some more details on the issue from the UK Research Office (July 2017).
- See Innovate UK’s post (September 2017) referencing Science Minister Jo Johnson who reaffirmed UK Government’s underwriting of H2020 funding: “UK businesses and universities should continue to bid for competitive EU funds while we remain a member of the EU and we will work with the Commission to ensure payment when funds are awarded. The Government will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.”
- And finally, in a speech on October 16th in Edinburgh, EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas told UK researchers that: “while you remain part of the European Union, the Horizon 2020 programme is fully open to you. Please keep taking part. Keep collaborating with your European partners. Keep welcoming researchers from other EU countries into your universities and research teams.”
The only cases of ongoing EU projects that could be affected by the Brexit are those in which the eligibility condition (3 EU countries involved in the project) is fulfilled with partners coming from just 3 countries and being one of them the UK. In these cases, after Brexit, the consortia would cover only 2 EU countries and would lose the eligibility condition.
Zabala recommends keeping this information in mind when elaborating a proposal, our UK office in London and can provide expertise on how to write project proposals, also involving UK partners.