Message from Nick Jennings – ERC and Brexit
I know that many ERC grant holders and applicants (proposal submitted and under review) are concerned about Brexit and the impact on ERC funding. I am writing to clarify what we know.
I am an existing ERC grant holder (in progress or about to begin)
If there is a deal nothing will change for existing ERC grant holders and those whose grants are due to begin. Funding from the European Commission will continue for the full duration of the grant.
If there no deal the government’s underwrite guarantee, administered by UKRI, will apply to existing ERC grant holders and those whose grants are due to begin. Funding will continue.
I am in the process of applying for an ERC grant
If there is a deal nothing will change for ERC bids submitted pre-exit. Funding from the European Commission will continue for the full duration of the grant.
If there is no deal, the UK government’s underwrite guarantee will administer ERC bids submitted pre-Brexit which are successful. Funding will continue.
I am planning to submit an application after Brexit
If there is a deal ERC applications will continue to be funded to the end of the Horizon 2020 programme and for the lifetime of the projects. In the meantime negotiations on the UK’s future relationship to Horizon Europe will take place.
If there is no deal, we have less certainty for ERC applications submitted after the Brexit date. This uncertainty applies to two areas:
- First the date of Brexit is uncertain. It is currently set for 29th March 2019 (update: this will now be 12th April 2019 unless any other deal is reached) but will likely be extended. We hope to know more in the next week.
- Second, the UK’s post-EU exit guarantee extension does not apply to ERC grants because under existing EU rules UK academics would not be able to apply to the ERC after Brexit if there is no deal. We do not yet know whether the European Commission would amend the rules to permit UK proposals. We know that, if there is no deal, UKRI is considering launching an ERC-equivalent scheme but details are not yet available.
Despite the continued uncertainty, you should continue to submit ERC bids with College support.
What is Imperial doing?
The College’s Research Office submitted details on all current FP7 and Horizon 2020 awards to UKRI last year, and continue to submit details on new projects each month.
We have a more detailed explanation of the current Brexit situation, and FAQs for staff, on Imperial and the European Union webpages. As you’ll have seen, Imperial is campaigning for continued UK access to European research networks, including ERC and Horizon Europe. Alice Gast made this case in Monday’s Times.
Please let me know if you have any further ideas or concerns about our future ties with Europe.
Professor Nick Jennings CB, FREng
Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise)
South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ, UK.
t: 0207 594 8458