Brexit and the EU Referendum

Research funding and partners

We continue to encourage staff to apply for research funding from European research programmes at this time. The EU has been an important source of funding for our research at the University of Leicester. We have seen significant year-on-year increases in European Commission awards culminating in a 47% increase in award value in 2018/19.

Exit from the EU will mean that the UK’s future membership of Horizon 2020 and the forthcoming Horizon Europe will change. If there is a deal then our continued access to some forms of European funding is assured under the terms of the withdrawal agreement for the remainder of the transition period.

In the event of a no-deal exit our future access to many sources of European research funding will be restricted. The UK Government is developing an underwrite system that will permit nearly all existing research projects to continue largely unchanged. There will be some contractual changes and our RED team are preparing to assist our researchers through this process. In recent updates, the UK Government have made provisions for any submitted proposals that the EC will not continue to assess after Brexit to be resubmitted to UKRI for independent review and funding if successful. Details about how this will be implemented are not yet known.

In the longer term, irrespective of the type of Brexit that the UK selects, the UK Government has stated that it will seek to negotiate associated status that may allow access to some future programmes. The outcome of these proposed negotiations is currently impossible to predict.

It is currently thought that the UK will no longer have access to mono-beneficiary programmes, including the European Research Council’s Starting, Consolidator and Advance Grants and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action’s (MSCA) European Fellowships in the event of a no-deal outcome or after the transition period in the effect of an exit deal being agreed. The UK Government’s position remains that they wish to negotiate access to these programmes after exit from the EU. The probability of this happening is unknown, and the likely timescales are equally uncertain. We will keep staff informed of these negotiations.

What have we done?

We are reviewing all our current EU research funding to identify any potential issues that may need to be addressed during the Brexit process. We will communicate with any PIs and applicants as soon as issues are identified.

We have ongoing dialogue with a number of key agencies including BEIS, UKRI, UUK and UKRO to inform our planning for post-Brexit arrangements. We are working with researchers and international collaborators to inform and reassure them of the measures in place to ensure their continued participation in EU-funded projects. We are complying with UKRI instructions to ensure our H2020 projects have the correct registration to guarantee future payments in case of a no-deal EU exit.

Who can I contact?

Please email or call +44 (0)116 252 2437.

Where can I get support?

Will my research funding be secure?

In case of a no-deal Brexit, the UK Government has put in place a financial underwrite mechanism that will provide ongoing funding for H2020 projects that are active (in contract) at the date of Brexit. We will liaise with UKRI to ensure awards are transitioned into a UK scheme and funds are received in accordance with guidance provided at the time. The UK will be considered a third country in the event of a no-deal outcome, and eligibility to apply for EU funds will be dependent on the legal framework in place at the time. Further information will be provided as soon as it is available but no individual action should be taken.

Can I still apply for EU research funding?

UK institutions remain fully eligible to apply for EU funding until the day the UK departs from the EU. After the UK’s departure from the EU, eligibility to apply will be dependent on the wider agreement between the UK and EU.

My research proposal is under consideration. What happens?

This is currently unknown and subject to agreement between the UK Government and the European Commission. They have indicated that information will be provided after the date of exit from the EU.

I have a H2020 grant. Will I still receive payments?

The UK government has committed to underwrite all Horizon 2020 awards which have are in contract at the time of Brexit. We are awaiting further information from UKRI and the European Commission to understand the way that this process will work and any associated conditions and requirements. Our guidance will be updated with all relevant official information as soon as it becomes available.

How can we prepare for a no deal scenario?

You will need to:

  • Keep central records of all relevant expenditure
  • Complete all relevant documents (for example, timesheets and invoices)
  • Clarify all outstanding queries
  • Finalise any pending amendments

This will allow us to manage the transition with minimum disruption.

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