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Norwich Research Park celebrates return to EU horizon scheme

08 September 2023

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Research organisations on Norwich Research Park are celebrating news that the UK will rejoin the EU’s flagship scientific research scheme, Horizon, with more than £85bn up for grabs.

It means UK-based scientists and institutions will be able to apply for funding from this week, with companies in Norfolk praising the move as “very welcome news”.

Associate membership had been agreed as part of the Brexit trade deal when the UK formally left the EU in 2020.

But it has been excluded from the scheme for the past three years because of a disagreement over the Northern Ireland Protocol, prompting widespread concern in the scientific community.

Professor Neil Hall, director of the Earlham Institute in Norwich, said the announcement would end “years of uncertainty”.

He said: “For a long time, we have been calling for the UK to become a fully-fledged member of this world-leading science collaboration programme. The UK’s Horizon association will mean that we can now play a more equal role in ground-breaking, international science collaborations.

“Before Brexit our scientists led many successful Horizon collaborations, but recent restrictions have forced them to take a back seat. Despite the government providing repeated guarantees to honour Horizon grants for research projects, advances in our science have still suffered from the long-running uncertainty. The Earlham Institute looks forward to playing a leading role once again in one of Europe’s most important ventures.”

Prof Ian Charles, Director of the Quadram Institute, said: “We have been calling on our government to re-join Horizon and this is very welcome news. Our science is a global endeavour, and our scientists come from across the world. Horizon association gets us back into the world’s biggest research programme.”

Roz Bird, CEO of Anglia Innovation Partnership, which manages Norwich Research Park, agreed, and added: “This is very welcome news for the UK and especially Norwich Research Park where so much ground-breaking research is carried out in the areas of food biotech, agri-tech and modern industrial biotechnology.

“It will mean that not only will the institutes on our campus be able to apply for funding from the programme, but it will also open up many opportunities to collaborate with other researchers across Europe.”

This article was adapted from the original article written by Bethany Wales for the Eastern Daily Press here.

Image: Earlham Institute (Left) and the Quadram Institute (Right) next to each other on Norwich Research Park.

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