A graphic with icons representing the benefits of Horizon Europe

Joining Horizon Europe

Researchers and Innovators have repeatedly asked for membership to Horizon Europe, but the government still refuses to do what's best for the country. The Liberal Democrats are the party who have most loudly and proudly defended the UK's position in Horizon. As an opportunity for scientists, researchers and innovation, it is a failure of government to deprive the UK from access to the scheme.


"Refusing to sign up to research cooperation with Europe would be a senseless act of self-harm. We've seen too many false dawns over Horizon Europe, every day that is wasted means more scientists deprived of funding.

The Government has trashed our relationship with Europe, put up needless trade barriers and prevented scientists from cooperating on everything from tackling climate change to curing cancer. 

It's vital that Rishi Sunak approves this deal as soon as possible - it's a no brainer.”

- Layla Moran, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Science, Innovation & Technology, July 2023

Layla Moran

For centuries, the UK has been a world leader in research and innovation: from the steam-engine to the world-wide-web, it is a tradition we should uphold. That's why, when the Conservative removed the UK from the European Union and failed to maintain association with Horizon Europe (the world's largest research funding scheme, investing just shy of €100bn over 7 years), disappointment hit the UK's research leaders. Nobel Prize winner, Sir Paul Nurse, called the replacement 'Pioneer' programme 'rather weak', a view echoed by Universities UK CEO Vivienne Stern, who said "people can’t stop calling it [Pioneer] plan B, and that’s because it’s not as good as Plan A [Horizon Europe]".

Whilst the EU has increased the accessibility (making it easier for non-EU countries to join Horizon) and the affordability (agreeing to let the UK avoid payment for the first two years of Horizon), the Conservatives continues to refuse to work with the EU and join Horizon. 

EDIT: On the recent announcement that the UK will be rejoining Horizon Europe, take a look at our news report below!