The United Kingdom scores the top placement in the world in terms of associations, enterprises and universities participating in EU funded Projects.” The news is revealed by Matteo Lazzarini, Secretary General of the Belgian-Italian Chamber of Commerce, during a recent interview for the Italian press. Based in Brussels, the Chamber is an active monitoring body of EU trends and figures. It also provides Masters and training courses, focused on vocational training, capacity building of NGOs, and entrepreneurship. Mr Lazzarini refers to data taken from the portal “Financial Transparency System - FTS”, where the European Commission publishes information on fund beneficiaries, project locations and expenditure amounts on a yearly basis.

This information is related to the EU budget directly implemented by the Commission and other EU bodies such as executive agencies, representing around 20% of the total EU budget expenditure.

The Brits were awarded the record number of grants

3,799 is the record number of recipients, for the greatest part applying to the Research Executive Agency. Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation programme, confirmed to be the most attractive, collecting proposals from 1735 applicants. In this field, Oxford University stands out among the applicants. In fact, it breaks the bank for a total amount of 500 mln € (of which 100 mln € is received directly by the institution), taking part in a total of 129 projects - 123 of which were funded through H2020.

Their rival, University of Cambridge, won a larger number of projects (139) but took home ‘only’ 90,000 €.

Have these figures anything to do with Brexit?

The Brexit effect does not seem to be hindering the appeal of EU projects. On the contrary, it is time for the EU project managers to seize the day and do their best. It is still doubtful whether the British entities will be eligible to participate in EU projects after their exit from the European Union.

“The UK will still be part of European networks and powerful interest groups – as long as our Project managers are there to work!” concludes Mr Lazzarini. “Remarkably, many young graduates from now work all around Europe as project managers, some of them even in the UK. It is also thanks to the expertise of these young professionals who were trained in Brussels, that UK companies are involved in international partnerships and are successfully participating in European projects.”