EU support, both financial and non-financial, has contributed to the success of the UK’s research and innovation base. The UK’s decision to leave the EU will certainly present challenges but it is also an opportunity to reinforce the UK’s position as a leading nation of global influence in terms of trade, knowledge and innovation.

The Academy is working closely with government, its sister National Academies and the engineering profession to support government on issues related to research and innovation.

Current activity

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe, the successor to Horizon2020, will be the EU’s next research and innovation programme. On 7 June 2018 the Academy welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for Horizon Europe.

Academy responds to Horizon Europe proposal

Future Partnership Project 

In May 2018 the Royal Academy of Engineering, along with national academies and institutions across the UK and Europe, signed a joint statement setting out a shared commitment to an ambitious and close future partnership between the UK and Europe.

Future Partnership Project statement

Brexit: Science and Innovation Summit

In February 2018, the Academy submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Brexit: Science and Innovation Summit inquiry.

The Academy’s submission highlighted the importance of ensuring that the involvement of UK businesses and the role of innovation, as well as the involvement of universities and the role of research, are recognised and well represented in discussions regarding the UK’s future research and innovation relationship with the EU. The submission also emphasised that the reach of the research and innovation system stretches beyond the framework programmes and its success is impacted by numerous other factors, for example regulations, access to markets and immigration, concluding that it will be essential that a coherent approach is taken to the negotiations when considering research and innovation.

Brexit: Science and Innovation Summit

The role of EU funding in UK research and innovation

The amount of funding flowing from EU programmes to UK research and innovation within universities and companies is well documented, but there is less understanding about the role of EU funding across different parts of the UK research and innovation landscape at a more granular level.

The UK National Academies commissioned Technopolis to better understand where EU funding for research and innovation goes, what kind of activities it supports and what other investment it attracts.

The report, published in May 2017, provides an in-depth understanding of the role of EU funding within the UK research and innovation landscape. The report demonstrates the importance of EU funding across all academic disciplines, industrial sectors, organisation types and across the whole innovation pipeline.

EU funding in UK research and innovation (2.02 MB)

The role of the EU in international research collaboration and researcher mobility

The UK National Academies commissioned Opinion Leader to conduct a qualitative and quantitative study of their Fellows and grant recipients to better understand their international collaborations and mobility. Over 1200 researchers were surveyed. The report was published in May 2017.

Key findings include:

  • Europe was reported to be the most likely continent in which respondents travelled (95%) and collaborated with other researchers in (87%)
  • 58% of respondents said they had spent a year or more working abroad, 64% of which had spent this time in North America 
  • 95% said they had been part of at least one international collaboration in the past five years
  • 77% said international collaboration is more common now than it was 20 years ago

The role of international collaboration and mobility in research (1.36 MB)