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ERC reveals countries to which UK grant winners are moving


Top destinations approved so far are France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria

The European Research Council has revealed the destinations of the principal investigators who are moving their new grants out of the UK.

The 22 PIs who have decided to move are all heading to an EU country, the ERC said, specifically: France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria.

ERC grants must be hosted in an EU country or a country associated to the EU’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

Although the EU encouraged researchers to apply for its grants with UK organisations as hosts, it then refused to approve UK association due to disagreements over trade, meaning that new ERC grants cannot currently be hosted in the country.

As a result, the ERC recently terminated 116 new grants that would have been based in the UK. One more termination is in progress, and nine projects are still being looked at after their researchers asked for extensions to reconsider their options.

These pending cases “involve PIs waiting for more information from their potential new host institutions or PIs who were invited for granting at a later date, and special family situations like maternity”, the ERC said.

More researchers could move

The termination of the 116 or more grants means that applicants whose bids were well evaluated but who missed out on grants now have a chance to move from the reserve list to the list of winners.

The ERC told Research Professional News that 23 PIs who wanted their grants to be hosted in the UK were on the reserve list, some of whom will now be offered the chance to take up a grant if they decide to move out of the UK.

It said that the number of PIs who would take up the offer to move was not yet known: “Some of them may request ‘portability’, some will not.”

UK-based winners who choose not to take up grants by moving could be eligible for alternative funding from the UK government.