The Academy works with the European research community for the best possible future medical research and patient health.
We engage with the European Union, EU member states and other national medical academies on everything from cross-border careers to data-sharing and ensuring patients benefit from research. We aim to ensure that the voice of UK biomedical and health research is heard by all parties.
We work closely with colleagues in other national academies across Europe, as well as through medical academy collectives such as the Federation for European Academies of Medicine.
We helped the Federation for European Academies of Medicine secure funding to recruit more staff and carry out a strategic review, in turn leveraging investment from other European medical academies.
We work with other national medical academies on specific projects and partnership areas, for example collaboration with Germany's National Academy for Sciences Leopoldina on patients with multiple serious diseases and a joint symposium on addiction with France's Académie Nationale de Médecine.
We collaborate closely to support the mechanisms for science advice in EU policy through contributions to SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) via the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism.
The UK's vote to leave the European Union on the 23 June 2016 was a profound challenge to the UK’s world-leading medical research environment. The Academy has worked consistently to shape a new UK-EU relationship which protects the people, funding and processes behind research.
Working with influential partners, we produced an extensive array of statements, consultation responses and research, and held regular meetings with a range of government minsters and senior officials. For example:
- Continually championing citizen's rights for the 25% of medical research staff working in UK universities as non-UK EU nationals .
- Repeatedly warning of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit through national print and broadcast media including a top-listed letter in The Times (2019).
- Championing an attractive and efficient immigration system, including taking researchers to Parliament, taking MPs to research institutes, submitting evidence on immigration to Parliament and the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee and collaborating across the UK national academies to repeatedly push the Home Secretary on the role of skilled research technicians and the risks of a £30,000 salary cap (2018 and 2019).
- Collaborating across the UK national academies to publish reports and case studies on the role of EU funding in UK research, the benefits of UK-EU collaboration in medical research, and the fundamental nature of cross-border movement to top UK scientists.
- Pushing for the closest possible association to Horizon Europe (see next tab)
For full information on our Brexit activities, please visit our dedicated page on Research and the European Union.
The Academy strongly welcomes the UK's participation in Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship research programme with a budget of €95.5 billion to 2027.
Under Horizon 2020 the UK received over €7bn and was the third most active participating country. UK participation to Horizon 2020 dropped after 2016 due to uncertainty around the UK-EU relationship, but with Horizon Europe participation now confirmed we encourage all UK researchers to make the most of its opportunies for collaboration and funding - find out more through the UK Government guidance.
UK funding for Horizon Europe participation
The Academy has been working to address concerns about how the UK pays for Horizon Europe participation until 2027.
- Previously the UK paid for Horizon 2020 through EU membership fees and spent a different pot of money on research and development priorities in the UK.
- In 2021 there was concern that the UK science budget would bear the burden of the UK's association fee leading to funding being diverted from existing priorities. Our President wrote to the Chancellor alongside the Presidents of the other national academies to raise this ahead of the 2021 Budget.
- Our President then welcomed the news of £250 million new funding and £400 million previously unallocated funding to cover the UK’s association to Horizon Europe in 2021/22 alongside confirmation that the full £1 billion association cost for 2021/22 will be covered.
- However the Government must set out a multi-year plan for how it will pay for the estimated £2 billion per year association fee over the lifetime of Horizon Europe. A long-term solution must be found at the next Spending Review to avoid overburdening the science budget in the years to come.
Details: The UK is associated to Horizon Europe as a ‘third country’ but UK participants should notice almost no difference to being part of it as a Member State. The differences are at the level of governance, for example, how the UK pays its fee and the role it plays in certain committees.
UK participants can apply for almost all parts of Horizon Europe. This includes the first calls and any calls published before the adoption of the Horizon Europe Regulation. UK participants can take part in the European Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the six ‘Global Challenges’ clusters and Missions, the partnerships, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and more. UK participants can also engage with all parts of the European Innovation Council Accelerator apart from the European Innovation Council Fund. Read more in this Q&A on UK participation by the European Commission.
We work alongside other European national medical academies to influence the development of EU legislation critical to future patients and research.
- In 2021 we pushed to ensure the UK was granted ‘data adequacy’ allowing EU organizations to continue to transfer personal data to the UK. A lack of agreement would have had a significant effect on how health data is shared between the UK and the EU, including in situations like the current pandemic. The Academy supported the Federation of European Academies of Medicine to sign a statement alongside the NHS Confederation, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the British Medical Association and more - see coverage in specialist healthcare press here. EU Members States voted unamiously to grant the UK data adequacy in June 2021 - a crucial decision which was welcomed by our President.
- Ensuring the policy work of the Federation for European Academies of Medicine on the EU Clinical Trials Directive in 2010 was informed by the UK position.
- Informing Medical Devices Regulation in 2013.
- Warning about the potential negative impact of the EU Data Protection Regulation in 2015.