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UK science collaboration at a crossroads

Doubts are being raised about the UK’s future collaboration with the EU’s Horizon research programme after news emerged last week that the EU had made what Vivienne Stern, the director of Universities UK International, said was ‘an unappealing offer’.

Horizon Europe is one of the world's most ambitious science funding programmes and the successor to the £72bn Horizon 2020 fund.

The EU has offered the UK a chance to stay in the programme but at a cost. The UK would be required to contribute £15bn over seven years but, in order to receive equivalent funding, it would need to win significantly more funding for projects than it currently does.

According to Stern, “In order to receive an equivalent to £15bn in receipts, we need to win 16% of funding from the programme. We currently win 12.7%, so even if we continue to participate at the current level, there would be a net contribution over the life of the programme of about £3bn.”

While UK scientists are desperate for a deal, these European science programmes are seen as vital to UK science, many see this proposal as unfair.

Networking and collaboration are critical to science – so should the UK be willing to make that net contribution to retain the benefits of Horizon membership?

Neil Tyler

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