Brexit Q&As for Research

As the UK leaves the EU at the end of March, Ulster University believes that it is more important than ever that we and our respective partner universities can continue to work together on our valued partnerships and collaborations.

As Brexit becomes a part of our everyday operations, please find signposting to where on our website or to Government Guidance on the following queries/contacts.

If you are unable to find a response below, have any further queries or wish to communicate to us about Brexit and how Ulster University can better support you, please email

Please note that the answers will be updated on a regular basis and a number of queries are currently in the process of being researched and will be added once confirmation received.

The end of the transition period as the UK leaves the EU is the 31 December 2020.

  • Will Ulster University have access to Research funding from the EU?


    The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes agreement for the UK to associate to Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5 billion, seven-year Framework Programme for Research and Innovation that succeeds Horizon 2020.

    This means UK researchers will be able to participate in nearly all parts of Horizon Europe, including:

    • leading and participating in collaborative projects
    • European Research Council
    • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    • European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs)
    • European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
    • European Innovation Council (EIC).

    The UK is also associating to the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme, meaning that the UK will retain full membership of COST as well.

    As a researcher applying to the above schemes, you should not experience any change as a consequence of Brexit.

  • How will the new immigration system impact on researchers from the EU? 

    EU citizens who had moved to the UK by 31 December 2020 are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and will have until 30 June 2021 to do so.

    Otherwise you will need to apply for a visa.  Further information on application and admissions for researchers is available by visiting our Doctoral College webpages.

  • What is the status for Horizon 2020 research and funding?

    Once the Regulation establishing Horizon Europe has been ratified, UK association to Horizon Europe is expected to be formalised quickly. This is likely to take place in time for the first Horizon Europe funding calls, expected to be launched in April 2021.

    In advance of the programme being finalised, some tentative call dates have been published for the European Research Council.

  • Will collaborative teaching and student exchange programmes with EU universities continue after Brexit?

    Collaboration across world-class research, innovation and teaching makes an impact on organisations, local economies and student and staff opportunity.  In the context of Brexit, these links remain vital, fostering a dynamic exchange of talent and ideas through staff and student mobility.  Ulster University enjoys longstanding, mutually beneficial partnerships providing rich student exchanges, innovation or research partnerships.

    Ulster University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Bartholomew is continually lobbying at the highest level on issues affecting the university, including the recruitment of EU staff and students, research and impact funding and student mobility opportunities and has written to over 300 of our EU partners directly on our desire to continue to build on these well-established and successful relationships.

    We echo the calls across higher education for sufficient funding and the minimising of regulatory barriers post Brexit in order that we can sustain our existing links and seek new ways to work in partnership in the future for the benefit of students, our universities and wider society.

  • Is there further information/opportunities for organisations based in third party countries that are not eligible?

    The UK Research and Innovation Office -  UKRO has issued a factsheet that provides an overview of participation options for organisations that are based in non-eligible third countries which includes examples of projects that have been coordinated in third countries.  UKRO's factsheet also explains the legal and financial rules for third country coordinators and beneficiaries that are not receiving EU funding.