Glasgow’s association with Horizon Europe

The UK’s association to Horizon Europe was announced in September 2023. This was met with scenes of celebration at the University of Glasgow due to the value we place on international research partnerships, as well as our excitement at continuing to work with our European partners to help solve global problems.

As of 1 January 2024, researchers and organisations in the UK were again able to participate in Horizon Europe on equal terms with their counterparts in the EU member states. This means that Glasgow researchers can again lead consortia in collaborative projects and, as an institution, we can host ERC and Marie-Curie mono-beneficiary scheme awardees. This has paved the way for Glasgow to return to, and hopefully even surpass, our pre-Brexit levels of engagement in EU-funded research.

Professor Chris Pearce, Vice-Principal of Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Glasgow, said: "Full access to Horizon Europe, the world’s largest collaborative research and innovation programme, allows our researchers to work across borders, with partners from across Europe and beyond, to push forward the frontiers of knowledge and tackle our most significant social, economic, ecological and political challenges."

Next steps

Since last September, the University has been taking steps to encourage and support our academics to engage with Horizon Europe and to demonstrate the value of collaboration through the programme. As an institution, we have invested significantly in retaining European collaborations outside of Horizon Europe and are ready to step up to make this a success.

Prof Chris Pearce chairing inaugral meeting of the CIVIS Research Council in Brussels

Part of that investment has taken the form of implementing a new scheme to award research seed funding to incentivise and build European research connections, with an emphasis on working with our European network partners. A focus has been on building the research networks of our academics, particularly Early Career Researchers.

We have also actively engaged in the new CIVIS Research Council, shaping how European alliances can leverage their close collaborations to deliver joint research. In November 2023, the official inauguration of the CIVIS Research Council took place in Brussels. Professor Pearce chaired the new initiative which brought together the Vice-Rectors for Research from our 10 CIVIS partners in Europe. The group has since worked together to strengthen research connections between our institutions and enhance opportunities for skill development and collaboration for our research community.

Scottish sector response

In February this year, a reception was held at Scotland House Brussels, coordinated by Scottish Government Brussels and membership network Scotland Europa, to celebrate the UK’s association with the Horizon Europe programme. The reception followed a day of reconnecting with existing connections and making new ones, as part of a collaborative programme of the Scottish Universities and Research Group in Europe (SURGE).

Prof Chris Pearce and Ester Ruskuc, Vice-Principal (Strategy, Policy & Planning), University of St Andrew’s at Scotland House Brussels

Continuing to work collaboratively with our European partners in the research and innovation space is essential to Scotland’s higher education sector. Scottish universities have benefited hugely from participation in EU funding programmes, and we greatly value our international research partnerships and the high-quality skills and ideas shared with our EU neighbours.

Map of collaborators on EU research projects to date

Glasgow’s experience in accessing EU funding for collaborative research is extensive and we have previously acted as project coordinator for several grants. Our experience includes collaborative research with over 1000 organisations from outside the UK.

Map with lines extending out from Glasgow, across the world, to illustrate the many partners with which we share research collaborations

We are looking forward to continuing to work together with partners worldwide through the Horizon Europe programme to help tackle the major global challenges we are all facing.