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Impact of Brexit on research projects, including data exchange

Brexit could have an impact on some joint research projects and activities. We suggest that you review existing contracts involving UK partners and secure legal advice when entering into new contracts.

Last updated: 8 January 2021

Reread existing contracts

Brexit does not invalidate contracts willingly entered into by parties in the UK and the Netherlands. However, we recommend that you carefully reread your contracts with British partner institutions to see if there are any provisions referring to EU directives, or provisions that might be affected by Brexit.

Contact IXA’s grant support office to discuss potential risks.

New contracts

When entering into new contracts, you are advised to consult IXA’s grant support office for a review of legal and financial risks, particularly if intellectual property rights are involved and/or if the contract will be subject to UK law.

EU funding

Projects funded by FP8 (Horizon2020, including ERC grants) will continue to receive funding from the European Commission for the full duration (including projects that run beyond 31 December 2020). 

Under the terms of the Brexit deal, the UK will become an associate member of the European Union’s Horizon Europe research funding programmes from 2021. Further negotiations are needed for the UK to formally associate with the programme. This webpage will be updated with any further information as soon as it becomes available.

Data protection

From 1 January 2021, all the substantive provisions of the EU-wide GDPR about principles, rights and accountability obligations continue to apply in the UK through the 'UK GDPR'. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement contains some data protection provisions. Most importantly, it includes a 'bridging' mechanism that allows the continued free flow of personal data from EEA-based organisations to UK-based organisations until the end of June 2021.  During this period, it is hoped that the UK will be granted a data protection 'adequacy finding' from the European Commission, which would mean that such personal data transfers can continue without additional safeguards.

Otherwise, the UK is to be considered as a 'third country' after Brexit which means that you should apply the Standard Contractual Clauses issued by the European Commission. We recommend that contracts involving data exchange with institutions or companies in the UK be checked by legal counsel.

For further questions, please send an email to