3 May, 2024 @ 09:19
2 mins read

British Researchers Seek Collaboration With Spanish Colleagues in Horizon Europe Campaign

In early 2024, the United Kingdom joined the pan-European research initiative called Horizon Europe. Spanning over 20 member states and almost €100 billion in grants, the initiative is crucial for tech and science-based research & development. Now the United Kingdom is seeking further collaboration on Horizon projects with researchers from Spain.

The Horizon Europe Program

Launched in 2021, Horizon Europe is a 7-year research agreement between some of the EU’s largest tech economies. Also known as FP9, it’s the latest in a long line of Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development that have been in place since 1984. Since then, the fund has grown from €3.8 billion to almost €95.5 billion ($102 billion).

Funding is designated toward many different goals, with a focus on green energy and other climate initiatives. In the future, a robust tech sector pursuing clean energy will be necessary to support important work and entertainment use cases, like video conferencing and websites operating online. Sectors like iGaming rely entirely on the internet to function, which itself relies on abundant energy supply to present online slot games and other digital products. Alongside advanced systems like the internet, basic civil infrastructure also relies on the continued efficiency of the energy grid.

Initiatives like Horizon Europe exist to get funding in the hands of researchers trying to make the necessary technological breakthroughs of the future. As the world’s largest research agreement, up to £450,000 ($568,000) is available to individual researchers working from the UK, who joined the initiative late in 2024. Now the UK is seeking cooperation with Spain, a veteran participant in previous FP iterations.

Britain Seeks Spanish Support

To bring more attention to Horizon Europe’s newcomers, the UK government has greenlit a publicity campaign spanning print, online, and relevant podcast advertisements. This comes after Britain launched a similar publicity campaign on its own soil, to attract British researchers. Now this second round of advertisement will target both Spanish and Italian media, to bolster research collaborations between the two southern European countries. Working with Spain is nothing new for British researchers, who have success stories dating back to 2014. They also work together as part of other research initiatives, most famously the CERN particle physics laboratory in Franco-Swiss territory.

On joining the Horizon Europe initiative in January 2024, the UK Department of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSIT) laid out several ambitious goals. In the long term, they want to increase GDP percentage spent on venture funding, expecting it’ll add billions to the country’s £1 trillion ($1.2 trillion) tech sector. As a by-product of increased funding, DSIT Secretary Michelle Donelan hopes that half of future EU tech unicorns will emerge from Britain.

After announcing the publicity campaign, Science Minister Andrew Griffith gave some insight into why Spain and Italy were chosen. He said: “From Italian talent in space and physics to Spanish prowess in renewable energy, our southern European neighbours are research powerhouses in their own right.”

Here in Spain, cuts have been proposed to the nation’s Horizon Europe contributions. If managed effectively, collaboration with the UK and other nations may be helpful in reducing funding bloat while still making use of Spanish researchers’ talents. For the foreseeable future, we can expect heightened collaboration between Spanish and British research firms. While no dates have been attached to the new publicity campaign, Horizon Europe is set to end in 2027. However, there’s little doubt that a new EU initiative will take its place, with Spain remaining a core participant.

Staff Reporter

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