UK promise to underwrite Horizon 2020 projects leaves it begging for details of what they are

The UK has no information on the companies and organisations that are involved in research projects funded via the EU’s flagship research fund, Horizon 2020, which it has promised to underwrite.

The government has guaranteed to maintain funding for projects under way or given the go-ahead before Brexit, but it admitted, “Horizon 2020 contracts are between the European Commission and the beneficiary – this data is not held by the UK government or its partner organisations.” Under new GDPR rules the government needs permission from participants so it can  Participants will have to upload details of their projects to ensure they continue to receive funding post Brexit.

However, the government’s pre-Brexit overview of Horizon 2020  says individuals should not register themselves, but instead ensure that their institutions provide data “to ensure the data is collected in a co-ordinated way”. Non-UK participants should also encourage their UK partner organisations to register.

The portal is to be set up via UK Research and Innovation but it is not yet in operation.

Once the UK exits the EU it may throw some project eligibility into doubt, as consortia are required to meet eligibility criteria that include minimum Member State or Associated Country participation. The document noted that the UK’s future participation in projects would be as a ‘third party’ country, although that is not yet confirmed. The document said “We are seeking discussions with the European Commission to agree the details of the UK’s participation as a third country.” Third party countries are excluded from some research funding calls under the Horizon umbrella.