UK participation in Horizon Europe

The UK government remains committed to fully associate to Horizon Europe as agreed under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached between the UK and the EU.

On 22nd December 2021, the EC confirmed that UK organisations are eligible to apply for Horizon Europe calls. 

Because of delays to the UK’s full association to Horizon Europe, the UK government has introduced a UK guarantee. This guarantee ensures that successful UK applicants for Horizon Europe grant awards will be guaranteed funding from the UK government regardless of the outcome of the UK’s efforts to associate to Horizon Europe.

This guarantee is comprehensive and enables UK organisations to engage in consortia calls and this should not place additional administrative burden on EU leads. The aim of the guarantee is to provide reassurance both to the UK research and innovation community and to European partners to enable collaborative research. The ‘UK Horizon Europe Guarantee’ is valid for the entire duration of the awarded projects and is delivered through UK Research and Innovation, a government organisation.

At present the guarantee is in place to cover all Horizon Europe calls that close on or before 31 December 2022, with the majority of grant signature dates expected before the end of August 2023.

Support for Essex staff and collaborators

Essex staff can apply for Horizon Europe funding, we encourage you to do so.

Essex colleagues who wish to apply for calls under Horizon Europe and external collaborators with queries or seeking advice regarding the UK’s participation in the programme can contact Dr Giovanna Bono, Research Development Manager for EU and International, (

 If you want to find out about forthcoming opportunities, there are two avenues:

  1. Search the EU Funding and Tender opportunities portal
  2. Subscribe to our Horizon Europe mailing list to obtain updated information about calls, news, trainings and events.

Scenarios in case of non-association

When participating in proposals targeting Horizon Europe collaborative funding, Essex must be included as a “Beneficiary” requesting EU funding at the time of proposal submission to the European Commission.

If association has not been finalised by the time the Grant Agreement signature is required, Essex would become an “Associated Partner” and obtain funding from UKRI. The Research Enterprise Office will support you and your consortia with this process.

Essex academics who intend to participate or potentially lead collaborative proposals, as a Principal Investigator, need to consider that the UK counts as meeting the minimum eligibility criteria of having three Beneficiaries from three Member States/Associated Countries.

If association has not been finalised by the time the Grant Agreement signature is required, Essex would become an “Associated Partner” and the UK would no longer count towards the three-country minimum required for eligibility.

We therefore suggest that when consortia are formed, they include at least three other Member States/Associated Countries. As some calls have bespoke eligibility criteria, please contact Dr Giovanna Bono, Research Development Manager for EU and International, for detailed guidance (

Transitional Measures

In the case of non-association, the submission by an Essex academic is provided by the UKRI Guarantee and by ‘Transitional Measures’ that were announced by the UK government in July 2022.

As part of these measures, the government committed to funding UK participants in collaborative consortia, mainly under Pillar II of Horizon Europe, where the participation of non-EU, non-associated ‘third countries’ is possible, and where grant agreements are to be signed before 31st March 2025.

The transitional measures also include the following: the UK Guarantee scheme already in operation; funding for successful, in-flight UK-based applicants to Horizon; uplifts to existing UK talent schemes; uplifts to innovation funding and support for businesses, in particular SMEs; uplifts to international innovation schemes to support international business collaborations; funding for research institutions most affected by the loss of Horizon Europe’s talent funding.

Structure of Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is organised according to three main pillars – reflecting the current research and innovation priorities of the Union – and an additional transversal element, focused on widening participation and strengthening the European Research Area.

Diagram Source: European Commission 2021 'How Horizon Europe was developed' 

Structure of Horizon Europe)
Structure of Horizon Europe

Structure details

Pillar I: Excellent Science

Pillar I aims to promote scientific excellence and attract highly-skilled researchers and innovators to Europe. It focuses on enabling and supporting the next generation of science, technology, research and innovation. Pillar I is primarily bottom-up, with applicants able to define their own projects without pre-determined topic areas.

Pillar I aims to reinforce scientific leadership through the European Research Council (ERC), Marie Sklodowsa-Curie Action (MSCA) and Research Infrastructure programmes. 

Pillar I: Excellent Science Support for academic research €24.9 billion
European Research Council Funding programme for doctoral education and postdoctoral training of researchers €6.4 billion
Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Funding programme for doctoral education and postdoctoral training of researchers €6.4 billion
Research Infrastructures Material resources for the academic community €2.4 billion

See all Draft 2023-2024 Work Programme

Pillar II: Global Challenges and European Industrial competitiveness

Activities under Pillar II are ‘top-down’, driven by the EU strategic priorities. Calls are for collaborative projects involving at least three beneficiaries from three Member States/Associated Countries.  Pillar II is organised in six clusters, which individually and together promote interdisciplinarity, cross-sectoral, cross-policy, cross-border and international co-operation.

The clusters are: Health Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Societies Digital, Industry and Space Civil Security and Society Climate, Energy and Mobility Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment. Each of the six clusters has several defined intervention areas, which determine the focus on collaborative calls for proposals.

Pillar II: Global Challenges and European Industrial competitiveness

Targeted research and innovation funding to address EU policy goals

€53.8 billion 

Cluster OneHealth

Funding for health-related topics

€8 billion

Cluster Two: Culture, creativity and inclusive society

Funding for cultural heritage, creative industries and social inclusion

€2.3 billion

Cluster Three: Civil security for society

Funding for key technologies, manufacturing, space and other related topics

€1.9 billion

Cluster Four: Digital, industry and space

Funding for key technologies, manufacturing, space and other related topics

€15.5 billion

Cluster Five: Climate, energy and mobility

Funding for topics related to climate change, clean energy and clean and autonomous mobility.

€15.2 billion


Cluster Six: Food, bioeconomy, natural resources, agriculture and environment

Funding for better management of the natural world (not including climate change)

€9 billion

Joint Research Council

Funding for the Commission’s in-house research centre, which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support EU policy

€2 billion

 See all Draft 2023-2024 Work Programme

Pillar III: Innovative Europe

This pillar focuses on scaling up breakthrough and market-creating innovation through a new European Innovation Council (EIC) as well as activities aimed at enhancing and developing the overall European innovation landscape. It also includes support to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). It channels funding through three main instruments:

  • EIC Pathfinder (build on the success of the FET Open scheme under Horizon 2020)
  • EIC Transition
  • EIC Accelerator

Pillar III: Innovative Europe

Promotes cooperation between academia and industry through partnerships and training programmes

€13.4 billion 

European Innovation Council

Award grants, loans and equity to start-ups and university spin-offs. (UK does not participate in the equity element)

€9.7 billion

European Innovation ecosystem

Supports dialogue between stakeholders

€0.5 billion

European Institute of Innovation and Technology

Supports the development of dynamic, long-term European partnerships amongst leading companies, research labs and higher education (EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities

€3.2 billion

 See all Draft 2023-2024 Work Programme

Cross-Pillar Funding Calls

Cross-Pillar Funding Calls


€3.3 billion 

Widening participation and spreading excellence

Provides actions for countries which are less developed in terms of their R&I profile. 

€3.3 billion 

Reforming and enhancing the European Research and Innovation system

Supports efforts to reform and enhance the EU R&I system.Addresses themes such as “Responsible Research and Innovation” (RRI), Gender Equality and Open Science.

€0.3 billion

 See all Draft 2023-2024 Work Programme

Missions in Horizon Europe

One of the novelties of Horizon Europe is the concept of ‘Missions’ or mission-oriented funding. They aim to deliver solutions to global challenges, are expected to be bold and inspirational and have the mandate to solve challenges within a defined timeframe. They will be funded using a ‘portfolio approach’ with projects expected to stretch across different disciplines and parts of Horizon Europe. This will mean that they go beyond individual projects or partnerships and will create strong synergies.

Missions will have to relate to society and citizens’ needs, be highly visible and have a strong impact. They are also to be co-designed with the Member States and stakeholders but must also focus on keeping citizens involved in this process.

Five missions were launched by the European Commission in September 2021:

  • Conquering Cancer:
  • Accelerating the Transition to Climate Prepared and Resilient Europe
  • Regenerating our Oceans and Waters
  • 100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 – by and for the citizens

See the 2021-2022 work programme for Missions

European partnerships in Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe supports European partnerships with EU countries, the private sector, foundations and other stakeholders. The aim is to deliver on global challenges and industrial modernisation through concerted research and innovation efforts.

Full information on European Partnerships including candidates and contact details

Other useful links:

Get in touch
Dr. Giovanna Bono Research Development Manager, EU and International
Room 5.602, Rab Butler Building
Telephone: 01206 874975