Brexit: Information for research staff

Brexit: Information for research staff

The University of Nottingham will remain unwavering in its dedication to world-class research with international partners and continue to retain, develop and attract the best and brightest researchers from across Europe and the world.

Horizon 2020

Considerable uncertainty remains on the nature of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and consequent impacts on access to European research programmes and funding. However, it is important to bear in mind the following points with regard to UK access to Horizon 2020 now and in the future:

  • While the UK remains an EU member state, currently to 31 January 2020, full eligibility to apply for Horizon 2020 funding remains.
  • If a withdrawal agreement is secured, it is likely to include provision that gives the UK full access to all parts of Horizon 2020 until the end of the programme, funded by the European Commission for the full duration of any projects awarded in that period.
  • In the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, the UK government has underwritten UK participation in current projects and in any Horizon 2020 calls applied for prior to leaving the EU. This underwrite has been extended to include all projects open to Third Country participation until the end of Horizon 2020.

ERC and Marie Sklodowska-Curie

Applications to the ERC and Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSC) lodged before Brexit are covered by the original government underwrite, with the Prime Minister’s statement on Thursday 8 August giving additional reassurance with respect to ERC and MSC proposals which will be under evaluation as at Friday 31 January. The statement says “In the event we leave without a deal, the Government will ensure any Horizon 2020 applications in the approval process when the UK leaves, will instead be automatically assessed by UKRI - with successful applications provided with funding”, so applications to the ERC Advanced Grant call (deadline Thursday 29 August 2019), the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (deadline Wednesday 11 September) and the ERC Starting Grant (deadline Wednesday 16 October) can all be pursued with confidence.

The wording of the extended government underwrite may mean that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit causes a hiatus in access to ERC and Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, where proposals are submitted after Brexit, but provides for continued access to collaborative projects under the Societal Challenges and Industrial Leadership pillars.


Although continued uncertainty remains, many of the potential outcomes offer UK partners continued ability to access EU-funded programmes. Our research community is therefore encouraged to continue to consider and pursue opportunities where they support research aims, career progression and underpin valuable international research.

UKRI has repeatedly stated that it values international collaboration in research and innovation and has indicated the development of new funding schemes which encourage international research activity, including with European partners should access to EU funding programmes be curtailed, and replacement for the research and mobility funding covered by the ERC and Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions.

'Fast-Track' Visas

The government has announced that it will introduce a new fast-track visa route for international researchers later this year which may include abolishing the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas; expanding the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates; creating criteria that confer automatic endorsement; ensuring dependents have full access to the labour market; removing the need to hold an offer of employment before arriving; and providing an accelerated path to settlement.

Further information

Further detail is available in UK government publication Brexit and Horizon 2020. Please contact Matthew Rackley in Research and Innovation if you have any queries about EU funding calls and Brexit.

More general information for research staff is available at the following links for research funding, mobility and international opportunities.


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