UCL and Brexit


Applying for EU research funding

Following withdrawal from the Union, the UK will continue to participate in the Union programmes financed by the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2014-2020 until their closure.

This includes Horizon 2020, the EU’s current, €80 billion research and innovation programme. The UK Government’s position is to ensure UK Institutions continue to have full access to Horizon 2020 funding, with the UK becoming an associated country, following an orderly withdrawal.

Existing projects and the UKRI underwrite

In the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the UK Government (via UKRI) will underwrite all existing Horizon 2020 funding to ensure that existing projects continue to be funded. This applies to all existing / live Horizon 2020 funding. In other words, all projects that have reached and been signed off at Grant Agreement stage.

Will the UK be able to participate in collaborative projects in the case of a No-Deal Brexit?

Should the UK leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will be become a Third Country. Third Countries can currently participate under the collaborative pillars of Horizon 2020, but funding does not come from the EU. The UK Government has said that it would use the underwrite to fund these participations should the UK leave without a deal. There is however a small risk that should the UK leave with No Deal – and does not agree to meet the funding commitments already set by the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework – that the EU may block future participations in this area until the funding that is owed to the EU is honoured.

Can applicants from the UK still apply to the ERC and MSCA schemes?

At the moment, UK applicants can still apply to all Horizon 2020 funding – including ERC and MSCA schemes. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, UK applicants would however become ineligible to apply for ERC grants and MSCA projects. There is also a risk that proposals for ERC and MSCA deadlines, where the evaluations of such grants will take place after 31 October 2019, could be deemed ineligible should the UK leave the EU with No Deal. UCL’s academics are still encouraged to apply as normal for both collaborative projects and ERC and MSCA schemes. It is worth noting that UCL had its most successful round of ERC Advanced Grant awards in March 2019 – the month the UK was meant to leave the EU originally.

Where can I find more advice and support at UCL?

All potential Horizon 2020 applicants at UCL are strongly encouraged to contact the European Research & Innovation Office (ERIO) at the earliest possible stage to talk through their Horizon 2020 proposal and seek tailored advice on Brexit that is being provided by ERIO.

ERIO logo
The primary goal of the European Research and Innovation Office (ERIO) is to support UCL in maintaining its position at the forefront of European collaboration in science, technology, research and innovation. It supports research staff across the organisation, and their European collaborators, with the full range of proposal, contract and project management services, and can advise on all matters relating to Horizon 2020 and European research funding.  ERIO offers support in:
  • A dedicated Horizon 2020 proposal support service offering hands-on support from proposal conception through to proposal submission, including assistance in structuring, editing and targeting the Excellence, Impact and Implementation sections.  
  • High level, efficient and bespoke European project management service to the UCL academic community.  The extensive knowledge and experience of ERIO in the management of EU research and innovation projects provides the necessary framework for the smooth implementation of your project within the relevant project constraints and according to the funding requirements. 
  • Innovation services to ensure UCL-led initiatives funded under the Horizon 2020 programme achieve maximum impact, and helps to take products and services generated by Horizon 2020 projects to European markets. Activities focus on coordinating the generation of ideas and knowledge across diverse consortia of European partners.
  • Support researchers through every stage of the H2020 process, providing financial, legal and general administrative support to meet the all the EC requirements, reducing the administrative burden upon scientists and clinicians.  Making European funding more accessible to academics, and increases UCL’s European research portfolio.