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Reading and EU research before & after Brexit: The Facts

Reading EU research: what we know so far

The University of Reading is one of the world’s leading research universities. It is important to our success, and the success of our European partners, that we continue to work together on research.

Following the EU referendum vote in the UK, there has been uncertainty about the future of British universities and academic staff involved in European-funded research. In a statement on 13 August, the UK government has provided some welcome guarantees about maintaining EU research funding beyond the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. 

What’s new? 

On 13 August 2016, the UK government announced initial measures to continue EU research funding. Not only will all current Horizon 2020-funded projects be fully honoured, but new grant contracts signed before the UK formally leaves the EU will be honoured for their full duration.

While the timetable for UK withdrawal from the EU has not yet been set, negotiations may not be complete before 2019. Prime Minister Theresa May has said the UK government will ‘take time’ to prepare for formal negotiations to leave the EU. So if withdrawal takes two years from now, a new five-year research programme awarded and signed just before exit would be fully funded until as late as 2022 or 2023. 

What we knew in July hasn’t changed:

  • Business as usual: There are currently no changes to UK involvement in EU-funded research. A UK government statement and an article by the EU Commissioner have confirmed that there will be no immediate change to UK funding of, and participation in, EU research programmes, including Horizon 2020.
  • UK participation is not a risk to funding success: UK academics are fully eligible to participate in EU proposals. Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation has provided assurances that UK researchers should not face any discrimination when bids are assessed. All application evaluators are now being given specific additional instructions that they should not evaluate proposals with UK participants any differently than before.
  • Reading will continue to apply for new EU research funding: The University of Reading is committed to supporting applications to EU research schemes, and is offering additional help for staff for the development and submission of applications. For more details on how to access this help, see these FAQs.
  • Reading can continue to lead EU research bids: There is no change to the participation of UK institutions in EU programmes at the moment. Therefore, Reading academics are still able to co-ordinate proposals, and should continue to do so.

Last Updated: 17 August 2016

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