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Update: Impact of Brexit on European Commission research funding

Update 27/1/20. This information in this post is now out of date. Please refer to this post for the latest information.


Áine Ryan, Research Funding Manager (EU & International), outlines the implications of the UK leaving the EU on current awards, on applications awaiting notification and on applications not yet submitted.

We strongly encourage researchers to continue to apply for European Commission funding. In this post, I outline the implications of, firstly, the UK leaving the EU with a deal and, secondly, the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

The UK leaves the EU ‘with a deal’

The terms of the Withdrawal Deal include a provision for continued access to research funding from the EU for the duration of the current funding programs, even when the UK is no longer a member state.

For Horizon 2020, this is for deadlines up until the end of 2020. UK entities will be eligible to continue to apply for funds, and awarded projects will be funded for the lifetime of the project. So if there is a deal, all continues as normal for H2020 even if UK is no longer a member state.

The situation for Horizon Europe (the successor to H2020) and other EU programs beyond the end of 2020, is to be negotiated. However, the UK Gov has stated that it wishes to ‘have the option to associate to Horizon Europe’.

The UK leaves the EU ‘with no deal’ aka ‘Hard Brexit’

Current ‘live awards’

The remainder of the unclaimed funds for these projects will be covered by the UK Gov underwrite i.e. funds will come from UK Gov not the European Commission. Colleagues in Finance Research Grants Section (RGS) are continuing to register all University of Edinburgh awards on the UKRI portal to prepare for this. The precise detail of how the underwrite will be implemented is not yet fully clear, but should we move to a no deal situation, RSO & RGS will update as required. If you have any queries about current awards, please contact RGS.

Applications notified as successful by 31 January 2020 even if Grant Agreement not finalised

UK Gov has committed to underwrite UK component of all eligible* awards submitted before 31 January 2020 that have been notified as successful.

Multi-beneficiary collaborative applications submitted before 31 January 2020 that have not been notified of outcome by 31 January 2020

UK Gov has committed to underwrite UK component of all eligible* awards notified as successful even if notification issued after 31 January 2020.

Mono-beneficiary applications – ERC & MSCA-IF – submitted before 31 January 2020 that have not been notified of outcome by 31 January 2020

These applications will automatically become ineligible for EC funding if UK leaves with no deal. There is therefore a possibility that the EC will not continue with evaluation. In this case UK Gov has guaranteed they will be instead evaluated by UKRI, although the mechanisms by which this will happen are as yet unclear. However, this announcement does provide some reassurance for those applicants currently preparing ERC AdG, MSCA-IF and ERC StG applications, as well as those ERC CoG applicants currently preparing for interviews in Brussels in Sept / Oct.

Collaborative multi beneficiary deadlines falling after 31 January 2020

UK Gov has committed to underwriting the UK components of all eligible* successful awards, so UK institutions can still participate AND coordinate.

Mono-beneficiary schemes – ERC & MSCA-IF – with deadlines falling after 31 January 2020

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, UK institutions will no longer be eligible to apply for ERC and MSCA-IF awards (with the exception of hosting the outgoing phase of MSCA Global IFs).

*Eligible awards – for most collaborative schemes, in order to be eligible, a minimum of 3 beneficiaries from 3 different member or associated states must take part. In a no deal, the UK will be a third country, so will not count towards minimum eligibility

In summary – we encourage applicants to continue to apply for EU funding.

Support available to University of Edinburgh researchers

If you have queries about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on existing awards please contact your local research finance colleagues, or Finance Research Grants Section (RGS).

If you have queries about the impact of a no deal Brexit on applications currently either in Grant Agreement preparations, still under evaluation, or yet to be submitted, please email the EU & International Specialists in the Edinburgh Research Office via

Useful links and further information

UK Gov – Horizon 2020 funding after Brexit 

UK Gov – Guarantee for EU funding programmes

UKRO (login needed – free, instant registration with email address)

Universities UK

UKRI (NB you don’t need to register projects on the UKRI portal – this is being completed by Finance RGS)


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