Beacon is thrilled to hear that the UK is re-joining Horizon Europe!

Sep 12, 2023

Our response to the UK re-joining Horizon Europe:

We are delighted that the UK is rejoining Horizon Europe, a scientific research initiative which aims to tackle global challenges. In January 2019 the launch of the European Joint Programme of Rare Diseases, was a huge milestone in sourcing valuable research and funding for rare diseases.

The uncertainty surrounding the UK’s association with the programme put a huge strain on the country, particularly UK rare disease patients and their families. Being a part of the EU’s funding programme for scientific research offers hope, and unlocks significant opportunities to empower the UK’s rare disease community, and better conditions for patients worldwide.

Our Chair, Dr Nick Sireau shares his thoughts on the UK re-joining Horizon Europe:


“This is a welcome announcement. The Horizon programme makes a massive difference to rare disease research. The past failure to resolve this has been a major worry to the rare disease community in the UK, which is why we are pleased to hear the UK will join Horizon again.”

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Here’s what our CEO, Dr Rick Thompson had to say when he heard the news:

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Due to Brexit and a loss of funding from Horizon, this meant that the UK, being a big player in life sciences, lost opportunities to participate in vital rare disease research. This decision ultimately had a huge impact on patients and their families where gaining access to research is a lifeline.

I am thrilled to hear that the UK has officially re-joined Horizon Europe. This will provide patients access to life-changing research supported by sizable pots of funding, making a real difference to the rare disease community.

Beacon has been fortunate enough to be involved in two projects under the Horizon Europe programme, MCDS-Therapy and REMEDi4ALL. As a charity we understand just how important these opportunities are for supporting the future of the community.

This significant movement will contribute to breaking down the isolation patients living with often overlooked conditions face everyday. Rare disease research cannot be confined to a single country. It is great to see that this push forward will lead to more involvement in collaborative efforts within Europe for the foreseeable future.”

Our association with Horizon Europe is a landmark moment that will further strengthen and deepen the links between the scientific communities in the UK and the EU.

This enables researchers to work together and foster collaborations to make a huge difference across the UK. As a result of this, our involvement in the initiative will open up so many incredible opportunities for the rare disease community.

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Read the joint statement between the European Commission and the UK Government on the UK’s association to Horizon Europe and Copernicus.