A new system is being rolled out today as a first step towards supporting the continuity of funding for UK organisations which have been awarded grants from the European Union’s flagship programme for science and innovation, Horizon 2020. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is asking recipients of Horizon 2020 grants to input basic information about their awards into a bespoke portal. This will ensure that UKRI can keep UK researchers and businesses informed of the next steps if the government needs to underwrite Horizon 2020 payments.
The UK and the EU’s intention is that UK researchers and businesses will continue to be eligible to participate in Horizon 2020 for the remaining duration of the programme.
This is set out in the Financial Provisions of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, which has been agreed by both UK and Commission negotiators, and was welcomed by the other 27 EU countries at March European Council.
As a responsible government, however, the UK Government is planning for all eventualities to ensure that cross-border collaboration in science and innovation can continue after EU exit.
Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: "It is imperative that we support our world-class researchers, businesses and scientists to continue to collaborate with EU partners after exit.
"While we do not want nor expect no deal, it is right that we plan for every eventuality. The launch of the new UKRI portal today is the next step in our commitment to the recipients of Horizon 2020 funding that we will guarantee funding for the duration of the programme."
The UK government announced two years ago that it would underwrite UK funds for all EU-funded projects successfully bid for while the UK is a still a member of the EU.
In July of this year an extension to that guarantee said that funding for UK participants successfully bid for from exit day until the end of 2020 would also be guaranteed by the UK government, in a no deal scenario.
Last month the UK government announced that if the underwrite needs to come into effect, UKRI is the partner of choice to deliver it.
To ensure UKRI is ready for that eventuality, specialist teams have developed a bespoke portal designed to capture basic information about recipients’ grants and identify a relevant contact at the participating organisation for the project, likely to be the LEAR (Legal Entity Appointed Representative), so that they can be informed of the next steps in the process.
Those in receipt of Horizon 2020 grants need to input their information into the system as soon as possible.
UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “It is extremely important that, if required, the underwrite guarantee for Horizon 2020 funding is administered effectively and UKRI is committed to putting in place the mechanisms that will support this. I urge our partners in research and business to work with us to capture the information we need via this portal.”