Side-on image of a scientist conducting research depicting the government's Horizon Europe deal

NHS responds to government’s landmark Horizon Europe announcement

UK scientists are set to benefit from access to Horizon Europe, the world’s largest research collaboration initiative.

The deal was announced yesterday by the government and means UK-based researchers will be able to apply for grant funding “with confidence” and participate in the programme for the remaining four years of its lifespan.

The government underlines the unrivalled opportunity the deal will give domestic companies and research institutions, with the scheme’s €95.5bn budget.

The UK will not only be able to collaborate with countries from the EU on healthcare innovation, but also nations like Norway, New Zealand and Israel which are part of the programme too. Korea and Canada are in talks to join as well.

Responding to the announcement, the NHS Confederation welcomed the news having called upon domestic and continental decision-makers to “put patients first” for “some time”.

Dr Layla McCay, the NHS Confederation’s policy director, said: “We hope the deal that has been struck to accept the UK into the Programme will create more funding avenues for UK researchers and opportunities to steer, take part in and benefit from Europe-wide research on matters relating to population health and healthcare.

“In time, this could lead to more effective and innovative treatments, as well as broader public health interventions, becoming available.”

McCay emphasises that the ultimate benefit the UK gets from participation will depend on how many grants are awarded to UK scientists.

The NHS Confederation is “hopeful” that significant investment can be secured however, as was the case during the UK’s participation in the Horizon 2020 programme that preceded this current initiative.

The Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society, issued a joint statement, which read: “This is a great day for researchers in the UK and across Europe.

“The Horizon programme is a beacon of international collaboration and UK-based academic and industrial researchers will now be back at the heart of that.”

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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