Government commits nearly half a billion pounds for UK research to cover EU shortfall
- The Business Secretary has announced £484 million in targeted investment to support UK research due to the EU’s refusal to finalise UK access to EU programmes Horizon Europe, Euratom and Fusion for Energy
- the package will provide much needed immediate investment to researchers, universities and research organisations
- the funds will be delivered across the UK, boosting research and innovation across the breadth of the country
The Business Secretary has today (Monday 21 November) announced up to £484 million in research funding to support the R&D sector, in response to the EU’s refusal to finalise the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and other related EU science programmes as agreed under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) in 2020.
These investments will provide targeted support for staff retention and local talent strategies at eligible universities and research organisations, as well as making sure the UK labs remain world class and at the cutting edge of R&D.
The funds will also provide a catalyst for the growth in the UK’s burgeoning fusion industry, ensuring the UK can retain and build on its position as a global leader in fusion science.
Today’s support builds on the Horizon Europe guarantee scheme, extended in September, which continues to provide funding for eligible, successful UK winners of Horizon Europe calls to ensure UK researchers and businesses can continue to collaborate internationally.
Business Secretary Grant Shapps said:
This immediate investment will help our excellent research sector to shore up their talent pools, invest confidently in infrastructure and protect the UK’s reputation as a science superpower.
The UK cannot wait indefinitely for the EU to meet its commitments which is why this funding is so important to boost research and innovation across the breadth of our country.
The government is disappointed that the EU is still linking UK association with wider issues, and the UK remains open to association, but cannot wait indefinitely.
The package includes:
- £30 million Talent and Research Stabilisation Fund. This will provide targeted support to eligible universities and research organisations who have a track record in attracting direct talent-based funding from the EU, to help them retain talent and address vulnerabilities at a local level
- £100 million Quality-Related (QR) funding for English universities with additional funding for the Devolved Administrations. This will complement the Talent and Research Stabilisation Fund to deliver a one-off boost to enable universities to strengthen research capabilities – for example employing research staff, technicians or sustaining new areas of research – which are vital to the UK’s reputation for excellent research
- £200 million for UK Research Infrastructures including additional funding for the Devolved Administrations. A one-off boost to the UK’s research infrastructure base. This includes the UKRI World Class Labs fund, enabling institutes and universities across the United Kingdom to invest in essential research equipment and sustain their excellent research base, as well as making funding available to the UK’s Public Sector Research Establishments (such as the National Physical Laboratory and the Met Office) to maintain their status as international centres of excellence
- £42.1 million for the Fusion Industry Programme. This will galvanise the UK fusion sector through a challenge fund, designed to engage and support UK businesses in important technical challenges of fusion, helping to build capabilities and spur commercial innovation
- £84 million for JET Operations. This will support JET (Joint European Torus), as the world’s largest and most powerful fusion experimentation, to continue operations which will provide valuable new insights and support other UK fusion programmes such as STEP (Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production)
Notes to editors
The UK and the EU agreed the terms for the UK’s association to programmes (Horizon Europe, Euratom, Fusion for Energy, Copernicus) and access to programmes services under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
UK association could not be finalised at the time as the underpinning EU legislation was not in place. That EU legislation has now been in place for 19 months. It remains the UK’s preference to associate to these science programmes, but the European Commission is refusing to implement the agreement reached under the TCA.
To support UK researchers and innovators and to provide certainty, we launched the Horizon Europe guarantee in November 2021. The guarantee ensures that eligible UK applicants who have been successfully evaluated by the European Commission (EC) have access to funding while the EU continues to delay finalising our association to Horizon Europe. It covers all calls that have an application deadline on or before 31 December 2022.
The Horizon Europe guarantee is working and is providing eligible, successful UK winners of Horizon Europe calls with funds to continue their work in the UK and their international partners; this additional package of spending sits alongside the guarantee to offer additional support to the R&D sector.