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UK research and the European Union

The role of the EU in funding UK research

Excellent research and innovation help us to live healthier, fuller and better lives. Europe is home to world-class research, and researchers come from all over the world to collaborate with researchers that are based here and to use European scientific infrastructure. 

The UK has created a world-leading research base that partners with the best and most ambitious in the rest of the world, keeping UK research at the cutting edge.

The European research landscape is complex. Both the European Union (EU) and individual European countries fund research. Researchers collaborate with each other within Europe and internationally.

A referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union (EU) took place on 23 June 2016. 

The Society is conducting a phased project gathering evidence about the influence of the UK’s relationship with the EU on research. It is intended to inform debate.

The first phase examines the role of the EU in funding UK research. Phase 2 considers the role of the EU in international research collaboration and researcher mobility, and phase 3 looks at the role of EU regulation and policy in governing UK research.


Explore the report

  • Who funds research in Europe?

    The European Union (EU) is one of many research funders in Europe...

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  • How does the EU fund research?

    The EU supports research, development and innovation through several interlinked programmes...

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  • Who decides the EU’s priorities for its research funding?

    Decisions about the budget and strategic priorities of EU research funding are agreed by the European Parliament, Commission and Council...

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  • Which countries can access EU research funding?

    All European Union (EU) Member States can access EU research funding...

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  • The UK and EU research funding

    The analysis in the following section is based on the most recent completed EU financial framework...

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  • How much research funding does the UK get from the EU and how does this compare with other countries?

    The UK is one of the largest recipients of research funding in the EU...

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  • How does EU research funding compare with UK domestic research funding?

    EU research funding through Framework Programme 7 represented 3% of UK expenditure...

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  • How does the EU fund research facilities and major equipment?

    Research often needs specialised infrastructure, including equipment and buildings...

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  • What role does the EU play in supporting researchers to collaborate and partner with other countries?

    Collaborations are vital for science, and scientists want to work with the best...

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