What’s on the Horizon for UK Science, Research & Innovation?

“Science matters to every one of us, in the UK and across the world. Tomorrow’s treatments and technologies are grounded in today’s science, and it’s the deep collaborations between UK researchers and colleagues around the world that help make the UK a leading scientific nation. For UK science to remain strong after Brexit, we need to continue working closely with our European partners. If we try to go it alone, we risk falling behind.”
SIR PAUL NURSE, 2001 Nobel Prize winner

Horizon 2020 is Europe’s largest research and innovation (R&I) programme. With a total budget of €80 billion, the programme has so far provided over 25,000 grants to more than 120,000 participating organisations across Europe and beyond.

The current framework ends in 2020 and its highly anticipated successor, Horizon Europe, is currently being negotiated by EU lawmakers. Horizon Europe will run from 2021-2027 with a budget of around €90-120 billion, depending on the outcome of the negotiations in the EU budgeting process. It aims to encourage promising ideas, enable new technologies and innovations to mature, and move projects from the laboratory to the market to benefit society as a whole.

The resources available to participants are not just limited to funding, but include access to collaborators, standardisation of research and mutual support. With a big emphasis on universities and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Horizon projects bring together different fields of science and the business community to find real solutions to societal challenges – from ageing populations to the need for clean energy and sustainable agriculture, all the while maintaining European jobs and industrial competitiveness in a fast-evolving global economy.

In the last European Parliamentary term 2014-2019, the Greens achieved a binding commitment for at least 35% of the total Horizon Europe budget to be allocated to mainstreaming climate-related research. The Greens’ ambitions are now to ensure that all pillars of the Horizon Europe programme maximise their climate contributions, and to help to define what amounts to climate-relevant and climate-directed research. The Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA), a parliamentary body that brings together MEPs from different committees and offers policy advice, has been invited to help provide assistance to meet this aim.