The UK will rejoin the European Union’s flagship Horizon science programme after two years of absence post-Brexit, the federal government has confirmed.
Number 10 stated the UK will be a part of “through a bespoke new agreement with the EU”.
A spokesperson added Prime Minister Rishi Sunak secured “improved financial terms of association that are right for the UK and protect the taxpayer”.
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Mr Sunak stated: “We have worked with our EU partners to make sure that this is right deal for the UK, unlocking unparalleled research opportunities, and also the right deal for British taxpayers.”
Scientists known as the announcement “tremendous news”.
Horizon is a collaboration involving Europe’s main analysis institutes and know-how firms which sees EU member states contribute funds which are then allotted to people or organisations on benefit.
The UK was negotiating a deal to stay within the €95.5bn programme, however talks stalled over Brexit-related disagreements similar to Northern Ireland.
In the 2 years because the UK was kicked out, the Downing Street has stepped in to match EU grant cash misplaced.
However, scientists warned that UK researchers have been lacking out on collaboration with colleagues in Europe.
Professor Paul Stewart, from the Academy of Medical Sciences stated the UK’s return “marks a pivotal moment for UK science”.
“After a hiatus, the scientific community is celebrating the tremendous news that we are once more part of the EU’s flagship funding programme,” he stated.
“Health research is an international endeavour, it relies on supporting the best ideas, but also on creating cross-border networks which is good news for the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
“Association sends a really sturdy message that the UK is open for enterprise and stays a major vacation spot to work on well being analysis and innovation to enhance lives.”
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The government said UK researchers can apply for grants and bid to take part in projects under the Horizon programme from today.
The UK will be participating as a fully associated member for the remaining life of the programme to 2027.
The UK will also associate to Copernicus, the European Earth Observation programme, but it will pursue a domestic fusion energy strategy instead of associating to the EU’s Euratom programme, Number 10 said.
Deal ‘not mission creep back into EU’
Whitehall sources said in July that a draft deal was with the prime minister – but Downing Street said a UK-based alternative known as Pioneer also remained an option because Mr Sunak was concerned about “worth for cash”.
Michelle Donelan, the secretary of state for science, denied the move was “mission creep again into the EU”,
She told Sky News the bespoke new deal includes a clawback mechanism “so if there was a scenario the place we weren’t getting as a lot out of it as we had been placing into it, that might robotically kick in”.
The deal also includes an overperformance indicator, which means the UK won’t be penalised for overperforming “so we are able to actually again our British scientists to realize”.
She said: “This is incredible information, not only for British scientists and researchers but additionally the British taxpayer.
“What we’re announcing today is a great deal, a deal that many said we won’t be able to get.”