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Over 600 UK researchers ask for nearly £350m in EU backup funds

UK funding agency reveals statistics on use of “safety net” financial guarantee for Horizon Europe

Some 609 UK-based researchers have requested a total of £348 million from the UK fund created to replace research and innovation grants won from the European Union that cannot be accessed due to political disagreements.

The UK’s national R&D funding agency, UK Research and Innovation, revealed the data on 1 September, adding that it had already processed 202 applications and committed a total of £142m. UKRI said it will be updating the data monthly.

UK association to the EU’s €95.5 billion (£80.5bn) R&I programme, Horizon Europe, has been held up due to an ongoing political dispute over trade with Northern Ireland, preventing UK-based researchers who recently won EU grants from receiving funding from the bloc.

But the UK government has promised to cover any shortfall through a “safety net” financial guarantee administered by UKRI.

“The guarantee is already delivering hundreds of grants as today’s statistics show,” said UKRI’s international champion Christopher Smith.

“UKRI is working very hard to ensure researchers and businesses are aware of the guarantee and have access to support and guidance. Details are published on our website and our team is ready to help with any queries via eugrantsfunding@ukri.org.”

The data came as the UK government extended the safety net, so that it now applies to all Horizon Europe calls that close on or before 31 December.

Joanna Burton, policy manager at the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, said: “The extension to the Horizon guarantee for a third wave will give UK researchers and innovators welcome reassurance that they can continue to apply for grants, and helps to plug the gap while keeping the window for UK association open.”