The United Kingdom and EU Grants After the Brexit Agreement

Vertrek VK uit de EU

Since 1 January, a new Brexit agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom has been in place. What does this mean for both current and future projects that receive EU funding? In this blog, we provide an overview of what is known thus far about the participation of UK countries in European grant programmes.

Existing Projects

Projects that have been awarded funding as part of the 2014–2020 programmes of Horizon 2020, LIFE, Interreg, and Erasmus+ schemes can continue under the same conditions.

Future Projects

Thanks to the Brexit agreement, UK researchers and companies continue to have opportunities for EU funding. The UK has expressed the desire to participate in the brand new Horizon Europe framework programme for research and innovation (2021–2027), and is expected to become an ‘associated country’. This means that the UK can participate in new projects, but will not be able to participate in making decisions on the content of the programme itself. Once this association agreement is in place, the UK can apply for funding from the European Research Council and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

However, the UK is no longer eligible for all programmes within Horizon Europe. For example, they cannot participate in the European Innovation Council, which includes the EIC Accelerator (the former SME instrument of Horizon 2020) and the EIC Equity Fund. The EU wants to protect its companies from UK rivals that aim to bring technical innovations to the international market. Therefore, UK countries will also no longer be able to use the financing instruments of the European Investment Bank. Finally, the UK has decided to withdraw from the Erasmus+ programmes.

Unfortunately, nothing is known yet about the consequences of the Brexit agreement for the new LIFE EU programme (2021–2027) in the field of environment and climate. In addition, it is expected that the UK will no longer be part of the transnational programmes North Sea Region and North West Europe within the new Interreg grant programme (2021–2027). However, both these and several other programmes have yet to be finalised.

We Will Keep You Informed

In summary, whilst some of the implications of Brexit in terms of EU funding are known, much remains unclear. The exact details will be announced in the coming period—or even over the next few years—as the UK and the EU continue to work out their future relationship.


Whether or not funding for UK countries is available, may have significant impact on your project, and in particular on the composition of the consortium. Therefore, we will continue to keep you informed of the implications of Brexit in relation to European grant programmes.


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