New £3 million research fund available to boost Scotland–EU research collaboration, networking and exchange

With the formal launch of the Horizon Europe Work Programmes due soon, Áine Ryan, International Research Funding Manager, highlights a new £3 million fund aimed at boosting Scottish universities’ research links with the EU following the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

Researchers based in Scotland and Europe can apply to the new £3 million Saltire Research Awards scheme aimed at repairing research links with the EU following the uncertainty caused by Brexit. This will help boost successful participation in Horizon Europe by growing existing partnerships, building new partnerships, and attracting top international talent to Edinburgh.

The fund, delivered via the Scottish Funding Council and Royal Society of Edinburgh, will be open to all research disciplines including arts, humanities and social sciences, STEM and multidisciplinary projects. There are separate calls for developing research pilot projects, workshops to build research funding applications and collaborations, network building, and exchange visits.

Strengthening existing partnerships and building new relationships

The University of Edinburgh is one of the most internationally collaborative research universities in the UK, and has the highest proportion of international staff outside of universities based in the South East England. University of Edinburgh researchers have participated in over 1,000 EU funded projects since 2002. We are an active member of international networks including Una Europa, the League of European Research Universities (LERU), TenU, the Coimbra Group, Eurolife, UNICA, Universitas 21, and the U7 Alliance.

Whilst many EU research collaborations are still going strong, the uncertainties around Brexit made it harder to build new partnerships. Although UK Association to Horizon Europe has been confirmed, there is much work to do to rebuild confidence and skills in European research collaborations. These new funds announced by the Scottish Government are a first step towards reinvigorating existing partnerships and opening up routes to exciting new relationships.

Summary of the funding calls

In addition to the short descriptions and links to funder websites below, we have created a quick glance summary table of the schemes (University of Edinburgh staff access only), to help you easily identify the key aspects of each fund, and find the best one for your research collaboration. Once you have reviewed the table, you can explore the full details of your preferred scheme on the funder website. The deadline for all of the calls has been extended to 12:00 on Monday 26 July 2021. If you intend to submit an application, please inform your local Research Office and your Research Funding Specialist as soon as possible.

RSE Saltire International Collaboration Awards, for joint research projects with Scottish and EU researchers

RSE Saltire Facilitation Workshop Awards, for Scotland and EU collaborative investigation into research proposition early stage of development.

RSE Saltire Facilitation Networks Awards, for Scotland and EU bi/multilateral partnerships.

RSE Saltire Early Career Fellowships, for PhDs students and Early Career Researchers to undertake 3–12-month exchanges.

RSE Saltire Research Excellence Fellowships, for world-class research leaders, to facilitate exchanges inbound/outbound of global Scottish/EU academics

SFC Saltire Emerging Researcher Scheme, for collaborative consortia based across Scottish universities to submit proposals to administer European exchange programmes of up to six months for doctoral research students and early career researchers.

Una Europa Seed funding

Una Europa is an alliance of eight leading European research intensive universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, The University of Edinburgh, Helsingin Yliopisto / Helsingfors universitet, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Seed funding for research collaboration is available from Una Europa, to build connections between researchers in the partner universities. Funding is available for consortia involving at least four of the partners.

The next deadline for applications is 16:00 on Monday 19 July 2021.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the 9th Framework Programme through which the EU will fund research and innovation. It will run for seven years from 2021-2027, and be funded by the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The UK is expected to soon become an associated country to Horizon Europe. The UK will therefore have the same rights and obligations as other countries associated to the Programme. You can read more about UK-based researchers access to Horizon Europe in our previous blog: Update on the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe

EU funding at the University of Edinburgh

We have been very successful in participating in European Framework Programmes. During the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes (FP6 and FP7) the University was involved in over 600 projects, with a total award value of approximately €320M. As of June 2021 we have been awarded 403 projects with a value of over €263m under H2020. This represents 42% of all funding awarded to 18 Scottish HESs, and places us as the 5th most successful university in the UK, and 11th most successful overall.

Support available from Edinburgh Research Office

You can read more about opportunities for funding from Horizon Europe on our dedicated EU & International Research Funding page (University of Edinburgh staff access only). If you are looking for tips on how to build a Research Network, visit our pages on support for complex bids (University of Edinburgh staff access only).

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