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Government pledges to protect science and research post #Brexit

World-leading research in the UK will be protected following Brexit, as the UK government pledges additional support for researchers and businesses.

  • The government has bolstered its commitment to provide additional science funding in a no-deal Brexit scenario
  • this pledge ensures proposals with Nobel-prize winning potential will not be lost after Brexit
  • commitment is crucial to maintaining the UK’s world-leading position in innovation and research after the UK leaves the EU

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Science Minister Jo Johnson have reassured the research community that the government will provide additional funding for scientists and researchers who have sought EU funding before we leave, to ensure brilliant research and innovation will still be funded. Funding will be available to support UK research proposals to Horizon 2020, the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation. This commitment will protect UK bids to:

  • European Research Council
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)
  • SME instrument programmes

if the Commission stops evaluating them in a no-deal Brexit.

This is part of the government’s commitment to raise investment in research and development and maintain the UK’s position as a science superpower in a post-Brexit world.

The Prime Minister also announced yesterday that the government will develop a fast track visa route for scientists, so that the UK continues to attract international talent in science and research from around the world.

Science and Innovation Minister Jo Johnson said:

While it remains our ambition to secure a deal with the EU, we also need to be ready to leave without one. Today’s pledge means that researchers and innovators can submit proposals to Horizon 2020 with confidence, right up to 31 October, knowing that the best proposals will be funded – regardless of how we leave the EU.

The UK’s science and research system is one of the very best in the world. But great ideas know no borders, and science is a global endeavour. That’s why we are also creating a fast-track visa route to attract the best and brightest researchers to the UK.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will assess bids to the programmes if they are not evaluated by the EU – making sure ideas from the UK’s brightest researchers and innovators won’t go to waste. The commitment will provide welcome reassurance to UK businesses and researchers applying for prestigious grant programmes that support research from some of the science community’s most creative thinkers. Successful applications will have grants funded for the lifetime of their grant proposals.

The UK will remain eligible to participate in other Horizon 2020 schemes as a third country and successful bids will be funded by the government’s existing guarantee and extension.

Today the government has also announced a £60 million boost for worldwide research collaborations tackling climate change, infectious diseases and adopting artificial intelligence in society.

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance said:

Science is an international endeavour and relies on collaboration and exchange of people and ideas. These measures are welcome and will help protect the strong UK science base.

If we leave the EU without a deal in place, the UK will become a third country participant in Horizon 2020. Organisations from third countries can participate in a wide range of collaborative H2020 grants. However, the prestigious H2020 ‘mono-beneficiary’ schemes are not fully open to third countries, including some key parts of these programmes:

  • European Research Council (ERC): highly prestigious grants which enable the best researchers to undertake ground-breaking frontier research
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA): grants for individual fellowships, staff exchanges, and research training networks. Aimed at researchers at the beginning of their careers
  • Small-and-Medium Sized Enterprise Instrument (SMEi): high-intensity grants for SMEs. These grants support market-creating innovations

The government has already guaranteed funding for successful applications to EU schemes in the event of a no deal.  But we will be making sure that top researchers and the most innovative SMEs around the UK continue to have access to funding by:

  • ensuring that any applications which the Commission does not assess after the UK leaves the EU can be assessed – and successful applications will be funded.

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