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Research Funding

U.K. will pay to play in EU science research

Prime minister wants to maintain full participation in Horizon Europe

by Benjamin Plackett, special to C&EN
May 24, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 22


Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to keep the U.K. within EU-funded science programs, known as Horizon Europe, when it leaves the EU next March. The proposal would mean the U.K. continues to participate in EU research projects and benefit from EU funding.

In a speech on May 21, May said the U.K. is willing to pay to maintain access to Horizon Europe. But she also insisted on a “suitable level of influence” in return, which could become a sticking point. May said she also wants to make it easy for EU scientists to stay in the U.K. after Brexit.

The announcement has been long awaited by research groups. “We welcome the statement from the prime minister that the U.K. wishes to fully associate to Horizon Europe,” said Royal Society of Chemistry director of science and communities Jo Reynolds.

The proposal “recognizes the many additional benefits that participation in EU programs brings over and above funding,” Reynolds said. “U.K. participation in EU programs is critical because of the collaboration opportunities.”

Other non-EU countries, such as Norway and Israel, have similar arrangements to participate in Horizon Europe, which means the EU should welcome the proposal without much resistance.

However, non-EU countries have so far been denied any say in the development of research projects. May suggested she’d be willing to send more money to achieve that. “Such an association would ­involve an appropriate U.K. financial contribution, which we would ­willingly make,” May said.


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