Over the course of 2022, UK association to Horizon Europe has been an important issue for ADS members. The 95 billion EUR research programme, which includes funding streams for projects such as Clean Aviation, represents an opportunity for ADS to collaborate with European partners to innovate to tackle some of the biggest issues of the coming decade, such as decarbonising aviation.

This opportunity, however, is dependent on UK association to the programme. In September, ADS welcomed the full guarantee from the UK Government for all UK applications for Horizon Europe funding that took place in 2022; this week, it was announced that this has been extended to include any projects running through to March 2023.

What does this mean for ADS members?

The details of what counts as an eligible programme for the UK guarantee of funding is available on the UK Research and Innovation website. In short, any programme that a UK member has been successful at applying for with a final submission deadline of March 2023 will be covered. For example, this would include UK winners in the Clean Aviation batch announced in September, but will also include any projects that may be announced as successful applicants for funding in the first few months of next year.

A welcome extension, but still a stopgap

The certainty arising from the additional three months extension is of course welcome. It remains the case however that the ideal outcome is full association to the Horizon Europe programme. In 2022, ADS have written to the Innovation Minister, George Freeman MP, and the Vice President for post-Brexit relations in the EU Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, calling for a swift resolution.

Given the first-class academic research and investment in the UK, it is in the interest of both the UK and EU that the UK are able to fully participate in Horizon Europe. The delay in association risks European competitiveness as the continent seeks to become a global hub for the development of the new, innovative, and exciting technologies of the decades to come.

The UK Government’s continued affirmation that they support full association is certainly welcome, as is continued preparation for an alternative ‘Plan B’ in the event that the UK does not associate with Horizon Europe. ADS are engaged closely with the Government on both Horizon Europe and the Plan B alternative and will continue to keep ADS members in the loop in early 2023.