The UK Rejoins Horizon Europe: A Boost for Research Collaboration and Innovation

The UK Rejoins Horizon Europe: A Boost for Research Collaboration and Innovation

Wittenborg's Academic Initiatives Aligned with Horizon Europe: A Path to Research Excellence

In a momentous development for the scientific community in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has successfully negotiated the UK's re-entry into Horizon Europe, the world's largest research collaboration programme. This achievement is accompanied by a bespoke deal that secures improved financial terms for the UK's participation, marking a significant milestone in post-Brexit international collaboration.

It has been reported that Horizon Europe boasts a massive budget of £82 billion (€95.5 billion), making it the most substantial research-funding scheme globally. The programme is set to fund scientific research and innovation endeavours across Europe until 2027, with a focus on advancing knowledge and creating jobs within the science and technology sector.

The reinstatement of the UK into Horizon Europe opens doors for companies and research institutions, offering unparalleled opportunities to lead global efforts in the development of cutting-edge technologies and research projects. The programme spans various fields, ranging from health and medicine to artificial intelligence, providing a platform for cross-border collaboration and innovation.

Wittenborg, while currently not engaged in any Horizon Europe projects, views this development with great optimism. Peter Birdsall, President of Wittenborg, emphasised the transformative impact of Brexit on academia. He noted the dismay among researchers and colleagues from UK universities, who had lost access to research grants such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. According to Peter, Erasmus+, which mainly aids young people in enhancing their skills and employability through studying, training, work experience and volunteering abroad, was a notable loss.

Peter further said that Brexit also had direct consequences for the partnership between Wittenborg and the University of Brighton, leading to the termination of joint programmes delivered in the Netherlands and diminishing prospects for future collaborations on applied-research projects.

"The UK is such an important hub for research and for partners in research projects, either as leaders or as participants. It is almost a relief that they are at least for Horizon Europe. We hope in the future that they will also be included again in Erasmus+."

Wittenborg supports internationalisation

All these pan-European initiatives are naturally international, supporting internationalisation and diversity and, therefore, Wittenborg sees participating as an essential part of its strategic plan.

Aydan Holtrigter, EU Manager of Wittenborg's Research Centre, highlighted the university's plans to align with the Horizon Europe framework. In this case, Wittenborg aims to become an impact-driven institution and has incorporated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its teaching, learning and research activities.

One significant initiative involves the establishment of a Case Centre, designed to empower faculty members, students and researchers with innovative and relevant case-based materials. This initiative fosters critical thinking, problem-solving and the practical application of knowledge.

Wittenborg is also hosting an annual conference on globalisation, directly linked to the 'Excellence Science' pillar of Horizon Europe. This international event aims to support applied research collaboration on a global scale, addressing key challenges in areas such as the digital revolution, environmental sustainability, global governance and policy.

Wittenborg further seeks to contribute to global knowledge advancement and the resolution of pressing global challenges while promoting internationalisation and diversity in academia.

WUP 2/10/2023
by Erene Roux
©WUAS Press