Imperial celebrates association to Horizon Europe

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His Excellency Mr Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, UK Ambassador to the EU hearing from Professor Guillermo Rein, Professor of Fire Science

Professor Guillermo Rein shows his research to His Excellency Mr Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby and Imperial President, Professor Hugh Brady

Imperial brought together our European and global science communities earlier this week to mark the start of the UK's association to Horizon Europe.

To mark the start of UK association to Horizon Europe on 1 January, Imperial has celebrated collaborations with a reception that brought together over 200 members of our European and global science communities. The event was an opportunity to meet researchers, policymakers and partners and learn about some of the vital collaborations and science that EU programmes have supported at Imperial.

Attendees at the reception

Following a welcome from Imperial President, Professor Hugh Brady, the audience was addressed by His Excellency Mr Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, UK Ambassador to the EU, and Ms Ruta Zarnauskaite, Head of the Horizon Europe Association unit, European Commission, who spoke about the importance of the relationship between the UK and the EU in scientific collaborations. Imperial's Dr Teresa Thurston, Advanced Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and recipient of a European Research Council Starting Grant added her own experience of how crucial access to EU programmes is. 

UK association to Horizon Europe is the right outcome for UK, European and global science. When you see the work here at Imperial,  you realise how much collaboration in research and education matter. Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby UK Ambassador to the EU

She said “winning an ERC grant has been the most defining moment of my career, it has allowed me to pursue my research and hire post-docs from the UK and Europe. With association now finalised, we can retain science talent in the UK and strengthen our vital European collaborations.”

Imperial President, Professor Hugh Brady said, "Horizon Europe is the most important programme for facilitating and supporting international research and collaboration at scale. It is only when we can engage in such an ecosystem that we can strengthen the influence and impact of UK and EU research. Campaigning for this outcome has been a real joint effort across our science communities."

Imperial Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) Professor Mary Ryan thanked the Imperial community and our partners for their relentless efforts to campaign for association to Horizon Europe and encouraged them to forge new partnerships with support of the programme. 

European collaborations at Imperial 

Imperial has received over €322 million in funding from Horizon 2020, making it the 8th highest higher education recipient in Europe. In Horizon Europe, our community has collaborated on over 171 projects so far. Some of this vital work was showcased at the reception.

Working with European partners on shared health challenges is a critical part of Imperial European collaborations. Through the Horizon 2020 project EAVI2020, Professor Robin Shattock, Chair in Mucosal Infection and Immunity in the Department of Infectious Disease has been working with 22 partners to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine. CoDiet is a 10 country collaboration looking at using AI to tackle obesity and non-communicable diseases, led at Imperial by Professor Gary Frost, Chair in Nutrition & Dietetics in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction. 

Ms Ruta Zarnauskaite, Head of the Horizon Europe Association unit, European Commission speaking at the Horizon reception
Ms Ruta Zarnauskaite, Head of the Horizon Europe Association unit, European Commission speaking at the Horizon reception

Dr Teresa Thurston, Advanced Research Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine, won an European Research Council (ERC) starting grant to support her work on understanding the mechanisms of invasive bacteria to understand how these bacteria infect human cells. 

Attendees at the reception learning about immersive audio through the SONICOM project

Some of this work has been built on large networks, developed through progressive collaborative projects. Professor Michael Levin, Chair in Paediatrics & International Child Health Partner in the Department of Infectious Disease and his team, for example, have worked with over 32 partners across Europe to create rapid tests to diagnose childhood infections in successive FP6, FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects. Through successive Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe grants, Professor Zulfikar Najmudin, Professor of Physics in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, is developing blueprints for a new large-scale plasma accelerator to be based in Europe. Professor Guillermo Rein, Professor of Fire Science, is working with partners across Europe on reducing the worldwide burden of fires on both the environment and urban areas, supported by ERC and Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe grants.  

We are delighted that the UK is now associating to Horizon Europe and are looking forward to having many more projects like these here at Imperial in the programme. We can now confidently envision a future of strong science collaboration between the EU and UK and our networks to make this a reality are growing. Ms Ruta Zarnauskaite Head of the Horizon Europe Association unit, European Commission

Our communities are also partnering on developing future strategic technologies. Working with ten partners across Europe through the Horizon 2020 project SONICOM, Dr Lorenzo Picinali, Reader in Audio Experience Design in the Dyson School of Design Engineering, is revolutionising audio in augmented reality and virtual reality environments which for example is used in developing AI technologies that support teenage cochlear implant users. Professor Dario Farina, Chair in Neurorehabilitation Engineering in the Department for Bioengineering, is working with partners to create bionic limbs with a sense of touch through innovative neural interfacing, supported by multiple ERC awards and a Horizon Europe widening participation grant. The HiRECORD Horizon Europe project accelerates progress towards net zero. Professor Claire Adjiman, Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, is working with 12 partners on creating more efficient and modular carbon capture plants. 

Imperial's dedicated EU project management support

The Research Impact Management Office (RIMO) in Imperial Enterprise maximises the impact of Imperial led research by providing management and communication support. RIMO currently works across seven European-funded projects, with over 50 international partnerships, which total over €60m in project value. The multidisciplinary team are experts in supporting the entire lifecycle of a research project, from setting up and managing the project to communicating and disseminating the research, through to project closure.  

Imperial leadership with Mr Jukka Siukosaari, Ambassador of Finland, Mrs Laura Popescu, Ambassador of Romania, Dr Teresa Thurston, Ms Ruta Zarnauskaite and Ambassador to the EU Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby

For the past 15 years, RIMO has supported Imperial academics and international consortia in leading their ground-breaking research from managing multi-year projects, to connecting communities with the researchers and the research itself. Through its project management support it has helped Imperial’s business partners maximise their return on investment on collaborative research with universities and access Horizon funding to support their industrial research and development goals. Several projects in the showcase are supported by RIMO, including SONICOM, DIAMONDS, CoDiet and EAVI2020. 


Lisa Bungeroth

Lisa Bungeroth
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James Tooze

James Tooze
Office of the President

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Lauren Asplin
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