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October 2016

Information for researchers about HM Treasury announcement on H2020

(12 October 2016)

HM Treasury (HMT) has confirmed in their August communication that the recent underwrite guarantee for Horizon2020 projects is an additional commitment from the Treasury. Budgets have been set until 2019-20 and, should this guarantee be called before then, the funding provided by HMT would be additional to the research budget. Budgets for the years beyond 2019-20 will be set at future spending reviews.   

Brexit & H2020 - what we know at the moment 

  • There will be no immediate change to the UK university sector’s ability to participate in EU research and innovation programmes such as Horizon 2020.
  • This was confirmed in a statement (27 June 2016) from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science.
  • This was reaffirmed by the European Commissioner, Carlos Moedas, on 1 July 2016, who said: “For the time being, I would like to reassure (researchers in the UK) that the referendum as such doesn’t change anything regarding their eligibility for funding under Horizon 2020.”
  • HM Treasury has confirmed that it will underwrite the payments universities are due to receive as part of competitive awards granted under Horizon 2020 that are agreed while the UK is still a member of the EU.  The Government will underwrite these payments even where research projects are due to run past the point the UK leaves the EU.
  • The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, has also written to each devolved administration to confirm the same level of assurances offered to UK government departments in relation to programmes they administer but for which they are expected to rely on EU funding.
  • UUK has been informed that the above funding provided by Treasury would be additional to the science budget up to 2019/20, (budgets for the years beyond 2019/20 will be set at future spending reviews). 

Brexit and H2020 - what we don’t know at the moment 

  • How UK researchers might be able to apply for and access new funding under Horizon 2020 once the UK leaves the EU.
  • The level of funding a UK government would commit to replacing any reduction in available university research income resulting from the UK leaving the EU, and where this would be sourced from. 


NB The part of the HM Treasury announcement which states that “All structural and investment fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU”refers to structural and investment fund projects and NOT H2020.  The signature of the Autumn Statement does not affect H2020.