UK Unveils ‘Pioneer’: A Bold Alternative to Horizon Europe

Government reveals new research and innovation program to ensure growth regardless of EU negotiations outcome

Key Takeaways

  • The UK government has released the blueprint for the Pioneer prospectus
  • Pioneer aims to support research and innovation in the UK, should the country not associate with Horizon Europe
  • The program would focus on talent, end-to-end innovation, global collaboration, and R&D system investments
  • The UK hopes to secure association with Horizon Europe on fair and appropriate terms
  • Stakeholders across the UK’s research and innovation sectors are encouraged to participate in building the plan

The Blueprint for Pioneer

The UK government has unveiled the blueprint for a long-term, ambitious program to support research and innovation in the country, should association with the Horizon Europe scheme not prove possible. Named “Pioneer,” the program aims to protect and support the UK research and innovation sector by focusing on four main themes: talent, end-to-end innovation, global collaboration, and investments in the research and development (R&D) system.

Ensuring Growth Regardless of EU Negotiations

While the UK government is currently in discussions with the EU regarding association with Horizon Europe, they are also preparing for the possibility of not securing a deal. The Pioneer prospectus ensures that, regardless of the outcome of these negotiations, the UK’s research and innovation sector can continue to grow and thrive.

The Pioneer program would be established as quickly as possible if needed, with the government engaging intensively with researchers and businesses to determine priorities for a plan that would build on UK strengths and develop new capabilities.

Stakeholder Involvement

By unveiling the Pioneer prospectus, the UK government is providing stakeholders from across the country’s research and innovation sectors with an opportunity to play an active role in building the plan. The goal is to create a program that caters to the needs and interests of the UK’s researchers, universities, and businesses while promoting innovation and growth.

Support for the Pioneer Prospectus

The Pioneer prospectus has received support from various stakeholders in the UK’s research and innovation sector. Professor Paul Boyle, Chair of the Universities UK Research & Innovation Policy Network and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Swansea, expressed hope that negotiations with the EU could proceed swiftly and deliver a positive outcome. However, he also acknowledged the importance of having an alternative plan ready.

Dr. Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, welcomed the ambitious proposals for Pioneer and highlighted the importance of focusing on attracting and retaining talent, supporting global collaboration, and securing funding commitments.

The Levelling Up R&D Mission

The Levelling Up R&D mission is critical to securing the future scientific and economic prosperity of the UK’s regions, making the country’s overall R&D offer stronger as a result. Pioneer would receive the same amount of funding as the UK would have paid to associate with Horizon Europe from 2021 to 2027, amounting to around £14.6 billion in investments through 2027 to 2028, including the support provided to the sector via the Horizon Guarantee.

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