Subsidies & Funding

We empower medical innovation

Project Management

We manage research & innovation projects

Business Strategy

We support successful commercialisation


Has Brexit affected Horizon 2020 funding to the UK?

July 13 2017

It has been over a year since the UK’s referendum on EU membership with the UK invoking Article 50 on 28th March 2017. While the European Commission has clearly declared that the UK’s rights and obligations continue to apply until the UK leaves the EU [1], there has nonetheless been fear over reviewers penalising UK involvement in H2020.

In this article, we follow-up our earlier analysis on the post-Brexit effects on UK participation in H2020.

What do the numbers say?

We analysed CORDIS database for research projects under Horizon 2020 which currently includes a list of projects from 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 for which the grant agreements have been signed [2]. We looked at the total number of proposal granted to UK partners (either as coordinator or participant) in three different periods (2014, 2015, and 2016/2017). In order to assess trends, we also looked at the same data for Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Brexit effects on British horizon 2020 participation 2017

Initial analysis for 2016/2017 shows that the UK continues to lead the coordinator list with approximately 18% of granted projects. This is a minor decrease from 2014 and 2015 where the UK coordinated 20.8% and 21.2% of the projects. In addition, projects in which the UK is a participant has dropped to 16.8% from 17.7% and 20.1% in 2015 and 2014 respectively. However, a slight decrease can also be seen for other countries with Germany at 10.3% (11.1% in 2015) and the Netherlands at 6.1% (6.8% in 2015) as coordinator of granted projects. Meanwhile, a few countries experienced an increase as coordinators, such as France at 8.8% (8.3% in 2015) and Spain at 13.7% (11.2% in 2015). The decline in British coordination is slightly larger than the decline observed in Germany or The Netherlands.  Whether this drop can be attributed to Brexit is hard to assess, as information on when (before or after Brexit) the projects were submitted/reviewed is not readily available. We are actively monitoring further developments and will publish regular analyses as more data becomes available.

Brexit means Brexit?

Amidst the platitudes, the UK government has welcomed an agreement to continue collaboration with European partners on science, research, and technology initiatives as a part of the 12 negotiating priorities [3]. This has also been reflected during the general election with the conservative manifesto promising to collaborate in science and innovation while the labour manifesto promising to stay part of H2020 and its successors [4]. Thus, even after Brexit, continued collaboration between UK and EU scientists looks possible and external participation has precedent with the Swiss involvement in H2020 [5]. These should hopefully allay fears of British isolation from future EU projects and scientists from the EU and UK should not allow politics in the way of scientific excellence that the collaborations have brought.

Request assistance

If you are a UK-based researcher or SME or if you are collaborating with UK-based partners and have any questions about funding opportunities, do not hesitate to contact us.


[1] EC: Informal meeting at 27 – Brussels, 29 June 2016 – Statement, accessed 12/07/2017.

[2] CORDIS, accessed 12/07/2017

[3] The government’s negotiating objectives for exiting the EU: PM speech, accessed 12/07/2017.

[4] BBC: Brexit barriers ‘would harm science’, say universities, accessed 12/07/2017.

[5] LSE: Debunking the myths about British science after an EU exit, accessed 12/07/2017.

Share this