EU scientists demand bloc to finalize UK membership in £ 80bn program | UK News
More than 1,000 universities and 50 science academies across Europe have called on the EU to finalize the UK’s accession to its flagship Â£ 80 billion research program ‘immediately’ and end the delay 10 months from the ratification process.
In a letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, they claim that the long delay “endangers current and future collaboration plans” and that any further delay “will result in a major weakening of our research force. collective â.
The letter comes amid fears that the seven-year Horizon Europe program may be collateral damage in a wider political dispute between the UK and the EU over fisheries and the Brexit protocol in Northern Ireland.
The UK was expected to contribute around Â£ 2 billion a year to stay in the program with funds returned in the form of cutting edge research projects to UK universities and research institutes on everything from vaccines to climate change technologies.
Today, scientists say the painstaking work of project and proposal team-building, which can often take a year, is in jeopardy due to uncertainty over the UK’s status in potential research consortia. .
They urge Von der Leyen to put politics aside and press the green button on UK associated membership.
âHorizon Europe’s success will depend on its commitment to excellence and a global perspective. The only way out of the Covid pandemic is as a global community working together to spur research and innovation through collaboration, âthey said in their letter.
The UK was one of the top countries on the EU’s research agenda before Brexit, responsible for just under 15% of all allocated funds.
A spokesperson for the Russell Group of University said the UK was the second Horizon 2020 beneficiary after Germany, winning Â£ 7.8 billion in funds for 10,000 projects over the past seven years.
But he is now caught in the sights of a double battle between the UK and the EU over fisheries and Northern Ireland.
Brexit Minister David Frost said last week that the EU was on the verge of breaking its commitment to the trade deal and wanted swift action, especially after other non-EU countries , including Norway, have already ratified their membership.
The signatories of the letter include the heads of the main bodies representing research, including the All European Academies, the European Association of Universities, CESAER, the Belgian Scientific Group and the German U15, an association of 15 of the leading universities in medicine in Germany.