Israel, Switzerland & UK Join Horizon Europe

The UK’s association to Horizon Europe has been agreed “in principle” and awaits Parliament’s scrutiny, while agreements with Israel and Switzerland could be finalized by the end of the year, EU officials stated at a Science|Business conference on Tuesday, February 23.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice-president for digital affairs, said the EU and the UK are coming closer to finalizing a draft agreement for the UK to become an associate country in EU’s seven-year research and innovation program. “There’s agreement in principle on this draft version,” she said. 

The agreement has yet to be scrutinized by the European Parliament, but in the meantime UK organizations are able to participate in Horizon Europe calls, providing the association agreement is officially adopted before the grants are signed. “I think we’re on a good track here,” said Vestager. 

Earlier this week, the European Research Council announced it will welcome “conditional” applications from researchers based in the UK, and from Switzerland, Israel, and other countries that were associated in Horizon 2020, for funding in a call announced on Monday, despite the fact that the participation rules for these countries are yet to be settled.

Simona Kustec, Slovenia’s education and science minister, noted Norway and Iceland will also be associated countries in Horizon Europe, by virtue of their membership in the European Economic Area, by the time Slovenia takes over the helm of the EU Council in July. Agreements with Israel and Switzerland are likely to be concluded later in this year, during Slovenia’s mandate. “Cooperation with the rest of the world needs to be put into the heart of our further work and activities,” said Kustec.

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