The European Commission recently published a note on the eligibility of UK participants under Horizon 2020 referring to the existing terms and conditions of the EU research and innovation framework programme agreements:
“Please note that until the UK leaves the EU, EU law continues to apply to and within the UK, when it comes to rights and obligations; this includes the eligibility of UK legal entities to fully participate and receive funding in Horizon 2020 actions. Please be aware however that the eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to be eligible to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate) or be required to leave the project on the basis of Article 50 of the grant agreement.”
However, the termination of projects is not automatic or obligatory. Even if UK partners cannot continue to receive funding from the European Commission because the UK is no longer one of the countries eligible for funding, the UK Government has guaranteed funding for successful bids submitted by UK participants before departure, including those that are successful afterwards. Third country (non EU) participation is routine in Horizon 2020 and often supported with national funding (i.e. China, Korea, Brazil, USA, etc.).
Finally, in a speech, Commissioner Moedas recently reasserted that “Horizon 2020projects will continue to be evaluated based on merit and not on nationality. So I urge the European scientific community to continue to choose their project partners on the basis of excellence.”. This is in line with European Commission guidance for evaluators of Horizon 2020 proposals which states that “experts should not evaluate proposals with UK participants any differently than before”.
If you have further questions regarding UK participation in Horizon 2020, please contact the relevant UK National Contact Point (NCP).”