UK government has not explained how it will ensure that applications from
researchers at UK universities for European Research Council (ERC) awards will
be funded if they are in the middle of the evaluation process, or what future
system will be put in place to replace funding for world-leading research, in
the event of no-deal. This means life-changing discoveries and leading
researchers tackling some of society’s major health and environmental
challenges could be left in limbo.
UK was the most successful country in the last round of ERC Advanced Grants,
with 66 applicants awarded up to 2.5 million Euros each – a total of €155
million in funding.
applicants are set to find out whether they have been awarded funding from the
latest round of ERC Advanced Grants by 8 April 2019, with the next call for
applications opening on 21 May 2019.
UK is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal unless all the EU leaders
agree to delay Brexit or a deal is agreed by parliament.
UK is calling on UK government to clarify the situation immediately.
Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK, said: “Researchers at UK
universities doing life-changing work remain in the dark over what will happen
to their current ERC applications or where they will go in future for funding,
if there is no-deal.
clarity very soon vital research could be disrupted which would be hugely
damaging to people’s lives. The UK also risks losing some of our brightest
minds to other countries, if they don’t know how their research will be
grants are among the most prestigious research grants in the world and boast a
strong track record in funding life-changing and high-impact research projects,
with six grantees winning Nobel Prizes for their contributions since the ERC
was established in 2007.
of ERC-funded research that has taken place in the UK include;
Developing a new weapon against pancreatic cancer
Improving the lifespan in liquid batteries
meaning electric car refuelling could take minutes
The ability to repair damage caused by a heart
well as ERC grants, access to Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action fellowships, which
fund UK academics to spend time with overseas research teams, and vice-versa,
is at risk. The next call is due to open on 9 April 2019, with many potential
applicants already at an advanced stage of planning. A no-deal Brexit would
mean UK-based applicants will not be able to apply for these grants, costing
universities around £1.1 billion in research funding.
At the start of this year,
Universities UK signed an open letter warning of the risks for research,
staff and students if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It can be read here
information on European Research Council Advanced Grants, see here
information Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowships, see here
Minister made assurances that leaving the EU would not impact on
researchers studying in the UK in May 2018
To view more
projects enabled by ERC Advanced Grants funding, see here
official advice to government on the risks to universities if the UK
leaves the European Union (EU) without a deal can be found here
Based on current success rates
and projected budgets for ERC and MSCA funding, Universities UK estimates
that universities would expect to receive around €1.3 billion (£1.1
billion) in research funding between 29 March 2019 and the end of Horizon
2020 programme on 31 December 2020.
Universities UK is the collective voice of 136
universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission is
to create the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the world;
maximising their positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Universities
UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution.