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At the time of writing (July 2022), the UK has not yet associated to Horizon Europe, however it remains the priority of UKRI, ERC, and Commission colleagues to conclude the association.

In the meantime, the UK government has announced a new scheme that guarantees funding for successful applicants to the first and second wave of Horizon Europe grant awards regardless of the outcome of the UK’s efforts to associate to Horizon Europe. The guidance was updated on 18th July 2022 and includes an updated list of the Horizon Europe programmes and calls that are eligible.

Funding routes for successful applicants to calls in the second wave and 2022 EIT KICs are now open, as follows:

The guarantee systems will remain open indefinitely for the second wave. This includes both IFS and Je-S hosted calls. If any of the calls need to be closed for operational reasons, guarantee funding applicants will be given due notice.

The call for EIC Accelerator awards, EIC Pathfinder awards, single applicant and multibeneficiary EIC Transition awards of 2021 is now closed. However, awardees who did not submit to this call, can submit to the general wave 2 call which opened in May 2022.


On 20th July 2022, the UK Government published a paper entitled: Supporting UK R&D and collaborative research beyond European programmes. Details include a continuation of the UKRI underwrite, a series of interim measures to be adopted should the UK not associate to Horizon Europe and an outline of what a possible longer-term UK-based replacement to Horizon Europe might look like should the UK not associate. 

The EU and International Team at ROO have produced an overview document of the UK Government’s measures to support the R&D sector to help researchers manage their applications in the event that the UK does not associate.  

 

Here are some Question and Answers to help you.

 

 

Q. 1 - I am a Horizon Europe award holder (not-ERC or MSCA) and have received a letter from the EC, what should I do?

The letter from the European Commission (often via project coordinators) gives you two choices:

“Change of status of the participant from beneficiary to associated partner”

“Withdrawal of the legal entity from participation in the proposal”

In most cases, the Research Office would recommend changing to associated partner status. Please read the Q&A below.

Q. 2 - Should we continue to apply for Horizon Europe Funding?

Yes. UK institutions are still eligible. The current situation does not affect your ability to apply and has no bearing on the evaluation of applications. Please make sure that in the submission stage of your proposal you are included as co-ordinator or partner (beneficiary) to the project, not an Associated Partner. Conversion to Associated Partner status will be an option at the Grant Agreement preparation process once the application is successful.

 More details from the EC can be found here. UK Institutions can also still apply to lead EC consortia but, until the UK fully associates to the Horizon Europe Programme, it is imperative you consider potential alternatives to ensure the continued eligibility of the project should it be successful and the UK has not associated by the time the award is announced. Also, you should consider including this issue in your proposal’s risk management strategy.

If you would like more information on this, please contact the Research Development Team for your School.

Q. 3 - I am being told by the lead partner of the consortium that the UK Partners need to be removed from the project as a result of the UK’s lack of association. What can I do?

Please contact the EU and International Team and we will help you navigate this with your Consortium Leader. There are some options available but the most appropriate one is often that UK institutions are being moved to Associated Partner status on successful collaborative grants.

As long as the scheme you have been awarded under is listed as one of those covered under the underwrite, it will be possible to reassure the Lead that UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) will underwrite the UK partners’ funding that they would have received from the Commission. Once on UKRI funding, it is our understanding that UK partners will remain on that funding for the duration of the project, regardless of when UK association takes place.

 

Q. 4 - Why do I need to change to Associated Partner status?

As the UK has not yet associated to Horizon Europe, entities based within the UK cannot be beneficiaries to EU grant funding. However, Horizon Europe funding allows entities to be based in third countries (which the UK is until it associates to Horizon Europe) to fully take part in Horizon projects – in most instances this is as an ‘Associated Partner’. Associated Partners in third countries must fund the entities within them – UKRI is doing that through its underwriting scheme.

 Please liaise with EU & International team before taking any action to switch your status into Associated Partner.

Q. 5 - Should I accept Associate Partner status as quickly as possible to guarantee my UKRI funding?

Not necessarily. While we do not advise delaying unreasonably the transition to associate partner status (and we are mindful that some coordinators are placing extreme pressure on some partners to change very early), once a UK partner is funded through the UKRI underwrite, it will remain on that funding for the entire duration of the project. This means that, should the UK associate to Horizon Europe after a UK entity has accepted associate partner status, but before the project has begun, it will still have to stay on that funding stream regardless of the UK’s new status. However, should there be any developments concerning joining back to the consortium in the event of association during the lifetime of the project, we will update you.  

Q. 6 - Are there any disadvantages of the UKRI underwrite?

The UKRI underwrite will fund the UK entities to enable them to play a full and active part in the project with an overall funding value the same as if they were a beneficiary. 

However, there are inevitable differences and some limitations e.g the inability for associate partners to lead consortia. If you have recently been awarded an EC grant that you are coordinating, you will be required to transfer the coordinating activities to a partner based within an EU member state. While Associated Partners can continue to be Work Package leaders in some collaborative projects, there may be restrictions applied to specific schemes (e.g. MSCA Doctoral Networks – Associated Partners can only lead non-management Work Packages).

Q. 7 - How do I access funds via the UKRI underwrite?

UKRI is accepting submissions from successful Horizon Europe Awardees via the JeS and the Innovate Funding System (IFS) for the different types of EC awards. This is done on a scheme-by-scheme basis.

For the calls open for submission through the UKRI systems (please visit UKRi website for open calls), the Research Office will liaise with PIs and Departments to take you through the steps required to change the project from being an EC-funded project to a UKRI-funded project. This will involve  the PI / Project Team, the Departmental Administration Staff and the Research Office and requires preparation of a submission to UKRI (via JeS or IFS), an updated X5 (to take account of the UKRI-mandated exchange rate) and liaison with your EC Project Officers (depending on the scheme).

The application details can be entered on the UKRI IFS system by the PI (rather than an institutional account), but it is essential that the ROO Pre Award Teams have checked and approved the application prior to submission to UKRI, in line with normal processes. Additional partners can be added by the PI to complete the application as an organisation.

If a project includes more than one UK partner, then each partner organisation needs to apply separately in IFS. Each participant registered on the signed EU grant agreement as a separate Associated Partner will receive a separate grant from UKRI. UKRI will link multiple grants from the same EU grant together for monitoring purposes.

For Je-S, the submission is handled through the PIs account and submitted through to the Submitter Pool. ROO will then submit the proposal to UKRI in line with normal processes.

Q. 8 - Is there a chance I will not get approved for UKRI funding?

Provided you submit the required documents as outlined in UKRI’s scheme-specific guidance, you have a 100% chance of receiving the funds from UKRI if your grant is part of the first or second wave schemes in the UK guarantee.

A list of the schemes covered by the guarantee so far is available on the UKRI website.

Q. 9 - How will the funding from UKRI work in practice?

UKRI is delivering the funding through its grant systems. The Terms and Conditions of UKRI guidance on how to apply for below grants are now released. 

European Research Council (ERC):

  • Starting Grants 2021
  • Proof of Concept 2022
  • Advanced Grants 2021
  • Consolidator Grants 2021

Grants will be subject to the standard UK Research and Innovation fEC grant terms and conditions; however, the additional grant conditions will be added. Please check How to apply for ERC grant guarantee funding document for the details explaining how to apply and currency conversion tools for each grant.

 

EIT-KICs

 

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Grants will be subject to the standard UK Research and Innovation fEC grant terms and conditions; however, the following additional grant conditions will be added to this call. Please follow above linked how to apply documents for more details.

 

All other eligible Horizon Europe grants

Awardees for all other grants listed in the annex of the general UKRI guidance for the Horizon Europe guarantee scheme use the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) to apply for guarantee funding.

 

Q. 9b - What will be the names of ERC and MSCA grants funded by UKRI that can be used for visa application purposes?

The project will be funded solely through UKRI and there is a requirement that the award holder recognise it formally as an UKRI award. This means that the awardees will need to relinquish the right to officially call it an ERC / MSCA project.

The guarantee will use the scheme and call names given in the following table. For the purposes of applying for UK visas, the Je-S scheme names will be included on the list of approved schemes for the Global Talent Visa, where appropriate.

For ERC-only projects

There may also be implications for portability of the awards, with UKRI-ERC Starting, Advanced and Consolidator awards only portable between institutions within the UK.

Grants funded through the guarantee will be portable within the UK according to UKRI standard terms and conditions. Awardees of ERC Starting, Consolidator and Advanced grants through calls included in the first or second wave of the guarantee who applied to be hosted outside the UK may move their project to the UK and be funded through the guarantee, subject to the conditions set out in UKRI underwrite.

For collaborative projects

There are a few different options, depending on the project, but generally the Grant Agreement will be signed between an eligible lead institution and the other eligible institutions will become signatories to the Grant Agreement as normal. The UK institutions will most likely be assigned Associated Partner status which means they do not become a signatory to the Grant Agreement with the EC, but do continue to be recognised as part of the EC-funded Consortium. Once the Grant Agreement with the EC and the consortium is signed, the UK Partners will then submit this to UKRI in order to access their portion of the funds from UKRI. It is worth noting that UK partners will still need to sign up to any consortium agreement between the project’s partners as before.

Q. 10 - Will the UKRI funding be more or less flexible that EC funding?

We are awaiting final Terms and Conditions for the different schemes covered by the underwrite, however, initial indications are that the terms will closely align with UKRI terms. Some additional conditions are likely to tbe included to try and mirror the EC conditions.

UKRI have indicated there is going to be some enhanced flexibility as a result of this hybridisation, compared to standard UKRI terms, but the extent/scope of this is still to be clarified.

Q. 10b - Will my guarantee funding be jeopardised if my consortium reallocates the EU funding originally assigned to my UK institution to fund additional activities?

For consortium-style projects, the UKRI guarantee will fund UK participants for the activities that were assigned to them as a beneficiary in the original proposal and assuming that the activities are still assigned to them as an Associated Partner in the final signed EU grant agreement. Guarantee funding will only be reduced if the UK participant is no longer performing an activity it was assigned in the original proposal.

Q. 10c - What start date will I be able to enter onto IFS?

You will be required to enter a future date into the start date section on IFS initially, although UKRI can manually adjust this if required.

If your project has already started at time of submission to UKRI, you will be asked to note the actual start date of the project. The Grant Offer Letter will be issued listing this date as the project start date and using the duration entered in the Application Details. It is recommended that you wait until you receive the Grant Offer Letter before you start incurring costs against the grant because if costs are incurred before this point, it is at your own risk.

Q. 11 - How fast will approval happen once my project is submitted on the UKRI portal?

For grants hosted on IFS, the anticipated turnaround time is around 30 days if all the required information is submitted correctly. The process may take up to 90 days if additional information is required. UKRI will always aim to prioritise those whose requested grant start date is due soonest. For Je-S grants, the anticipated time to grant offer is around 7 weeks and those looking to start their awards soonest will be prioritised.

However, as with UKRI and EC grants, Cambridge will look to activate your project as soon as possible after the funding has been agreed – this will be done in collaboration with your Post-Award team here in ROO.

Q. 12 - Do I have to use the exchange rate stipulated by UKRI in the guidance?

Yes. While the text in the guidance indicates there may be some flexibility, UKRI have confirmed that the stipulated exchange rate must be used. Please note that depending on the exchange rate used at the time of your application, it’s possible you may see a slight reduction in the GBP value of your award. If you are concerned about this, the ROO team supporting your submission to the UKRI underwrite schemes will be available to answer any questions.

Q. 13 - Why can't I see the requirements for my grant preparation on the EU portal?

For specific queries about your grant preparation, please speak to the EU and International team who can support you through the process.

Q. 14 ERC - I have recently been awarded a European Research Council (ERC StG, CoG, AdG) grant and have received several letters from the EC that appears to suggest I need to reject my award, what should I do next?

Since the 8th April 2022, the European Commission has sent several letters in which they ask the award holder to decide whether to:

relinquish the offer of funding from the ERC, upon which you could then receive UKRI funding

or 

transfer the grant to an eligible institution within an EU member state/Associated Country

As it is looking increasingly unlikely that the UK will associate prior to the end of June 2022, PIs should consider the options as outlined in the EC letters.

The latest communication received by the award holders (on the 22nd June 2022) indicated that if a request for transfer is not communicated by the 29th June the grant preparation of the project will be terminated.

If the award holder wishes to remain in the UK it is not necessary to “give up ” the ERC award at this stage. Award holders wishing to remain in the UK will be guided by the Research Office on how to switch the project from being an ERC-funded project to being a UKRI-Frontier Research Guarantee funded project. The award will still be portable, but only within the UK. UKRI have provided reassurance that they will honour the original ERC project, as awarded, as closely as possible, within the scope allowed by the new T&Cs. The UKRI guarantee funding portal is currently open for ERC StG/COG/AdG and POC22.1 grant holders.

The UKRI research grant terms and conditions will be attached to ERC guarantee grants, with a small number of additional conditions which will be listed in the specific call guidance. The additional conditions will be the same for Starting, Consolidator and Advanced guarantee grants.

If the award holder wishes to transfer the project to an EU Member state (or associated country), please let the EU and International Team know and we can work with the project team and the ERC project officer to work through the necessary steps to initiate the transfer. 

 

 

Q. 14b ERC - What are the eligibility criteria for ERC awardess applying to UKRI?

You are a researcher who has received notification of a successful ERC proposal with a UK host institution for an ERC call under the first or second waves

Or

You are a researcher who has received notification of a successful ERC proposal for an ERC call under the first or second waves with a non-UK host institution and wishes to move their grant to a UK host institution before having signed the Grant Agreement.

Q. 14c ERC - What do I need to submit to access guarantee funding?

  • The original ERC proposal
  • The confirmation that the proposal was successful
  • The evaluation summary report
  • A completed cost conversion tool (a template will be available to download for specific calls once the calls have opened on Je-S)

Q. 15 ERC - Will my "UKRI" ERC award be recognised as an ERC award?

The UKRI terms governing ERC awards funded through UKRI clearly state that they will need to acknowledge UKRI as the source of funding. Obviously this will apply to all ERC grants funded this way, so the sector will explore how the prestige of an ERC award can be recognised for those grants that are funded through the UKRI-Frontier Research Guarantee.

The guarantee will use the scheme and call names given in the following table. For the purposes of applying for UK visas, the Je-S scheme names will be included on the list of approved schemes for the Global Talent Visa, where appropriate.

Q. 16 ERC - My ERC project proposal included funds for students – are students still eligible to be included if I continue this project as a UKRI-Frontier grant?

Students on ERC projects are an eligible cost under the UKRI underwrite. UKRI has recently update the guidance and they will not be removing costs of project students from the ERC Starting, Consolidator and Advanced guarantee grants and funding PhD students through seperate traing grants. PhD student costs may be entered in one/both of the Je-S headings ‘Other Staff costs’ or ‘Project Students’ as desired, but in either case they will remain on the research grant to allow for flexible use of resources as the project develops.

Furthermore, we have also received confirmation that there is not going to be a cap on the number of international appointed in these grants.

 

Q. 17 ERC - If I take up the offer of the UKRI Frontier Underwrite Guarantee and I need to move institutions, can I still take my ERC project with me?

If the project is being funded by UKRI then you can transfer your project only to another institution within the UK. The previous flexibility to move ERC grants to other institutions anywhere within the EU will no longer be available to the UKRI-funded projects.

Q. 18 ERC - I have recently been awarded an ERC PoC but I have not yet received a letter informing me of this two-month deadline.

We are working to clarify this, but we believe any delay may be caused by the added complexities relating to (Proof of Concept) PoCs being closely linked to on-going (or recently ended) ERC grants - which potentially could be H2020 grants - for which we are still able to receive funds directly from the EC. We will continue to work to clarify the positions for the PoCs.

For the PoC, there is a different call calendar and they are funded under the 2022 Work Programme, therefore the ERC is facing less pressure to finalise their Grant Agreements.

By way of reassurance – the ERC PoC schemes are included in the UKRI underwrite.

Q. 19 MSCA - I have recently been awarded a Marie Skłodowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship, what should I do next?

Please liaise with the EU & International Team so we can work through your options.

The MSCA scheme is included in the UKRI underwrite – the call will open on JeS for applications relating to MSCA Fellowships hoping to secure UKRI funding on 31st May. We are still awaiting the specific call guidance to be issued which will outline the requirements for the submission but we are anticipating this to be similar to those required for ERC grants. The EC has indicated a deadline of 14th June for signature of the Grant Agreements and so this is the timeframe we are working to with regards to transferring MSCA grants to UKRI-funding.

Q. 20 MSCA - Can I move my Fellowship to another institution based in the EU during Grant Agreement Preparation?

We are actively seeking clarification on this matter.

Contact the Research Operations Office European Team:

Assistant Director, EU & International
Phil Cull


Head of EU & International  
Selda Ulutas Aydogan


For ERC

ercgrants@admin.cam.ac.uk


For Marie Skłodowska-Curie Matters 

mscagrants@admin.cam.ac.uk


For EU Financial Reporting matters:

ecgrantsfinance@admin.cam.ac.uk


For other EU matters:

horizongrants@admin.cam.ac.uk


 

The University's EC PIC code: 999977172