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Pioneer’ unveiled as an alternative to Horizon Europe funding

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The UK government has published its Pioneer programme, setting out how it would protect and support the UK research and innovation sector if the UK isn’t able to associate to Horizon Europe.

Negotiations are still ongoing in the hope of securing a successful association. However, the government maintains that any association must be on the basis of fair and appropriate terms. If association cannot be secured on the right terms, the UK will implement its ambitious, alternative plan – Pioneer.

Should it be needed, the Pioneer programme would focus on four main themes to complement the UK’s existing research and development investments:

  • talent,
  • end-to-end innovation,
  • global collaboration, and
  • investment in the R&D system.

Pioneer would receive the same amount of funding as the government would have paid to associate to Horizon from 2021 to 2027. This means the UK would invest around £14.6 billion in Pioneer to the end of 2027/28, including the support already provided to the sector via the Horizon Guarantee. See: Pioneer: global science for global good – GOV.UK (

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