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It’s official: UK to associate to Horizon Europe

After multiple false dawns, London and Brussels have finally agreed a deal to allow the UK to rejoin. The UK will also join the Copernicus space programme, but is out of Euratom and the ITER fusion project.

The UK government and European Commission have have struck a deal to allow the country to associate to Horizon Europe after more than two and a half years of delay.

This morning they released a joint statement that will have UK and EU scientists breathing a sigh of relief after being stuck in limbo since 2021.

“The EU and UK are key strategic partners and allies, and today’s agreement proves that point,” said Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in a statement. “We will continue to be at the forefront of global science and research.”

The deal means that UK scientists will now be able to receive European Research Council grants and coordinate academic-industrial consortia in the Framework programme.

Up to now, they have been forced to rely on UK equivalent grants and funding instead of being seamlessly integrated into Horizon Europe.

While UK academics have still been able to join consortia under the industrially-focused Pillar 2 of the programme – the biggest part by value – uncertainty about the future meant that UK participation in the programme halved, raising fears that UK scientists were being forced out of European academic networks built up over decades.

UK-based ERC grant winners have faced an agonising choice over whether to move to the EU to keep their awards, or stay and settle for a UK equivalent scheme.

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