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The UK’s association to Horizon Europe and Copernicus

On 7 September, the European Commission and the UK Government concluded negotiations and reached an agreement in principle on the association of the UK to Horizon Europe and Copernicus under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. 

From the 2024 Work Programmes onwards – including any 2024 calls opening this year – UK researchers will be able to fully participate in the Horizon Europe programme on the same terms as researchers from other associated countries . In practice this means that UK scientists will now be able to receive European Research Council grants and coordinate project consortia under the Framework programme. There are, however, two exceptions to participation:  

  1. The European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund – which provides equity finance support to EIC Accelerator projects; and 
  2. Limited exceptional cases where the eligibility for individual funding calls is limited to member states or certain other countries under current Work Programmes.  

Going forward, the EU will assess the UK participants’ access to these parts of the Horizon Europe programme on equal terms with other associated countries. 

UK applicants to calls in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 Work Programmes remain fully eligible for evaluation by the EU and, if successful, for funding through the UK Horizon Guarantee. 

The UK will also join the Copernicus space programme, which will enable the  country’s access to state-of-the art capacity to monitor the Earth and to its services. Moreover, the UK will have access to EU Space Surveillance and Tracking services.  

However, the UK decided neither to associate to the EU’s Euratom programme nor to join the ITER fusion project. In keeping with the preferences of the UK’s fusion sector, the country will pursue its own domestic fusion energy programme with a budget of GBP 650 million.  

The European Commission and the UK Government also agreed appropriate terms regarding the UK's financial contribution for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, reflecting the fact that UK researchers did not participate in Horizon Europe or Copernicus from their beginning in 2021.  

The UK will pay almost EUR 2.6 billion a year for its participation in both Horizon Europe and the Copernicus component of the Space programme. A correction mechanism was also agreed to take account of the UK’s possible under- or over-performance in the programme.  

Prior to its formal adoption by the EU-UK Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes, this political agreement must be approved by the Council of the European Union. 

More details 

European Commission 

UK Government