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Short term Euro research future clarified, but questions remain

One of the worries expressed by UK researchers since the decision to leave the European Union was whether they would still be able to participate in programmes such as Horizon 2020. These worries were underpinned by examples of European researchers leaving their positions and UK research teams being sidelined from existing projects.

Now, the Government has clarified the position through a statement by the UK Research Office (UKRO). It said: “Following withdrawal from the Union, the UK will continue to participate in the Union programmes financed by the MFF 2014-2020 until their closure (excluding participation in financial operations which give rise to a contingent liability for which the UK is not liable as from the date of withdrawal).

“Entities located in the UK will be entitled to participate in such programmes. Participation in Union programmes will require the UK and UK beneficiaries to respect all relevant Union legal provisions including co-financing.

“Accordingly, the eligibility to apply to participate in Union programmes and Union funding for UK participants and projects will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the Union for the entire lifetime of such projects.”

Looking further ahead, researchers have wondered whether the UK will take part in Framework Programme 9.

In its statement, UKRO said: “The UK has declared it would like to reach an ambitious science and innovation agreement with the EU [however] it is too early to speculate on whether the UK will seek to Associate to Framework Programme 9.

In a recent speech, Science, Research and Innovation Minister Sam Gyimah said: “I am deeply conscious of the importance of Horizon 2020 and future framework programmes to research in the UK and the

huge benefits we have reaped from participation in programmes like the European Research Council. We are working hard to secure a good research and innovation agreement with the EU after Brexit.”

Graham Pitcher

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