Imperial leaders celebrate Horizon Europe association with European communities

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Professor Hugh Brady appearing on the plenary panel session of the Science Business conference in Brussels

Imperial's leadership spoke at events on Horizon Europe and the future of European science collaboration in London and Brussels this week.

Imperial President Professor Hugh Brady discussed the role of EU-funded research programmes in supporting European collaborative science at the Science Business conference in Brussels on Tuesday. Joining a panel with Marc Lemaître, Director-General for Research in the European Commission, Thomas Jarzombek, Spokesperson on Research & Education in the German Bundestag and MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho, Professor Brady set out how critical excellence-based collaborative research funding is to European funding programmes and discussed the development of future framework programmes in a globally competitive science and technology environment.

Professor Hugh Brady seated on a stage talking during Science Business conference
Professor Hugh Brady during the panel session

“We should take pride in the fact that Horizon is the largest transnational research programme. The next programme needs to be transformational for Europe’s innovation ecosystem and the UK and the EU can share ideas on how to achieve this.” Professor Hugh Brady President

The conference celebrated 40 years of European funding programmes, with discussions focused on the future of EU research funding with the next programme, Framework Programme 10, scheduled to start in 2028.

The panel reflected on the scale of ambition for science and technology that can be achieved through continuing to support basic research and increasing the EU's expenditure on research and innovation. Through EU funding programmes for technology and innovation, Europe can also help to build companies of the future, which the full pipeline of funding from the European Research Council to the European Innovation Council can support.

Building links with industry through Horizon

On Monday, Imperial’s Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) Professor Mary Ryan joined the UK and EU science communities for the UK Government and European Commission’s official launch event to celebrate the UK’s association to Horizon Europe. The event was opened by the UK Secretary of State for Science, Research and Innovation Michelle Donelan MP and European Commissioner for Research, Culture, Education and Youth Iliana Ivanova and celebrated UK participation in European funding programmes with key members of the UK and EU research communities.

Professor Mary Ryan sitting down on a stage with four other people speaking during the panel session
Professor Mary Ryan speaking during the panel session
"Investment for deep-tech is challenging and it is here that Horizon Europe can make critical contributions, alongside its essential investment in discovery science. It helps take ideas to the next level and make our Startups investment-ready." Professor Mary Ryan Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise)

Appearing on a panel alongside Keith Sequeira, Head of the European Innovation Council, Neil Mantle, Director of Manufacturing Engineering and Materials at Rolls-Royce and Arun Hadish, Chief Strategy Officer at the Centre for Process Innovation, Professor Ryan outlined Imperial’s engagement with businesses as part of Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe, alongside the support that student and staff entrepreneurs have received from the European Innovation Council. European funding programmes provide unparalleled scale and vision providing a platform for researchers to collaborate with large businesses and SMEs, making critical contributions to technology transfer and complementing UK innovation funding strategically.

Imperial’s strong history of industrial collaborations in strategic partnerships are also supported in European funding programmes, complementing each other in driving research and innovation. Imperial’s partnership with Rolls-Royce, for example, goes back over 30 years with the establishment of the Vibration University Technology Centre and Imperial is now using this expertise alongside Rolls-Royce in the European-funded HEAVEN project, part of the EU’s landmark programme on Clean Aviation.

European Innovation Council (EIC) funding provides a crucial source of funding for researchers working on technology not yet ready for market but beyond early-stage discovery research, allowing universities to work closely with industry and other organisations across Europe to realise the potential of new technologies.  Imperial’s Dr Oscar Calderon Agudo, Advanced Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering who is working as part of the QUSTom project, providing key expertise into the use of ultrasound imaging to revolutionise breast cancer diagnosis.  

EIC funding also provides support for startup companies to expand and continue the development of their research. Founded by four Imperial students, Multus is a startup that is developing cultivated meat feedstocks that was awarded a €2.5m grant from the EIC Accelerator which will help the company to build a manufacturing facility, alongside doubling the company’s employees.

Horizon Europe at Imperial

Open international collaboration is essential to Imperial's success: our academics work across 192 countries and European partners are critical to this: about 60% of Imperial’s research papers with a US collaborator also have a European co-author, as do 72% with Canada and 81% with Brazil. Participation in the EU research framework programmes is a springboard to productive partnerships across the world – strengthening the influence and impact of UK research. Imperial was the 8th most successful higher education institution in Horizon 2020 and the programme has funded many collaborations, supporting our researchers to work with colleagues across Europe on vital issues: ranging from new diagnostic tools for childhood disease, an AIDS vaccine and combatting wildfires to quantum, data and climate technologies.

The UK is now fully associated to Horizon Europe and Imperial research can participate in and lead projects across the programme. Just recently, Imperial was named as part of a consortium looking to equip healthcare providers with resources to detect, diagnose and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Imperial academics have also recently kicked off other Horizon Europe projects on revolutionary optimisation tools to drastically reduce emissions in the design of aero engines, research into exposure to endocrine disruptors and the effects on human health, and helping to better understand cloud-aerosol interactions to more accurately predict extreme weather events and support planning for climate adaption and mitigation.

To find out more about opportunities in Horizon Europe, please get in touch with the Research Office and the Enterprise Research Impact Management Office.


Lisa Bungeroth

Lisa Bungeroth
Office of the President

James Tooze

James Tooze
Office of the President

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