Earlier this month, the Government announced that the UK has rejoined the EU’s Horizon programme as an associate member.  

This announcement is fantastic news. Horizon Europe is an £81 billion programme designed to bolster the European scientific research community. Running from 2020-2027, it is the largest programme in the world promoting multilateral research in critical fields. 

The scheme provides access to grant funding and facilitates collaboration between researchers, enabling them to exchange knowledge and benefit from each other’s expertise. For scientists operating in the UK, the decision to rejoin the Horizon programme means they will once again be able to apply for a share of the fund through grant funding, as well as being able to apply to join projects as part of a wider research community. 

Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, UK researchers have been saddled with uncertainty about what funding they would be able to access. Associate membership to the Horizon programme was provisionally agreed in 2020, but political disagreements meant that it was only implemented this year. As a result, over the last few years, scientists have not only lost out on opportunities to apply for grants – they have missed out on the myriad other benefits that this kind of programme can offer. 

At Quantum Science, we are in the fortunate position to have benefitted from grant funding that has helped us develop and commercialise our INFIQ® infrared quantum dot (QD) technology. Because of this, we can offer world leading QD solutions that are facilitating breakthroughs in consumer devices, automated vehicles, medicine, machine vision, and more; technologies that will change the lives of people around the world.  

Grant funding is important for providing researchers with stability, ensuring that they can work on the revolutionary technologies that society needs. But as well as that, this kind of funding carries a level of prestige that is difficult to find elsewhere. Over time, a company or research project that has secured one grant may find itself attracting more interest from potential investors or be better able to support applications for further grants. 

The decision to rejoin Horizon Europe will also make the UK more attractive for international researchers. This programme not only offers funding; it enables the UK to take the lead on cross-border research programmes and offers pathways to partnerships with PHD students and scientists working in other countries. This kind of collaboration is fantastic for encouraging new thinking and injecting new ideas into a project – as well as for further bolstering the ability and reputation of the UK’s science and tech sector. 

Our business has already benefited from multiple grants and research projects such as our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships that have propelled us to the top of the semiconductor materials field. While Quantum Science is certainly interested in learning more about how the Horizon Europe programme could benefit our INFIQ® QD technology, we are excited about the boost that membership of it will grant to the science and research community. When innovation is encouraged, we all benefit; researchers from knowledge sharing and partnerships, and wider society from the breakthroughs that will emerge in technologies. 

Science and research are essential to everything from the modern economy to the quality of life experienced by people around the world. Membership of Horizon Europe will help the UK remain a superpower in the scientific field, and act as a driving force for innovation that leads by example on the technologies of tomorrow. 

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