£2.2 Billion Lifeline
Following a two-year Brexit-related suspension, the UK has returned to the EU's £85 billion Horizon science research program, drawing mixed reactions.
The UK's participation in Horizon, originally established through the post-Brexit trade deal, was temporarily suspended due to disagreements, particularly regarding trading rules concerning Northern Ireland. Earlier this year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak achieved a breakthrough pact with the EU, known as the Windsor Framework, which resolved the outstanding trading issues and paved the way for renewed discussions on Horizon.
Starting January 1st, the United Kingdom is committed to an annual investment of approximately £2.2 billion in the Horizon program and the Copernicus space initiative as a key aspect of its membership. It's important to note that the UK will not participate in the EU's Euratom nuclear technology scheme.
Statements from Key Figures:
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak celebrates agreement's benefits for UK scientists and taxpayers, emphasizing global research opportunities.
- Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy criticized the delay in rejoining Horizon, stating that it had already caused significant funding losses and the departure of researchers from the UK.
- Newly-appointed Shadow Science Secretary Peter Kyle urged the government to act promptly, emphasizing the two years of innovation that the UK had missed out on and the potential relocation of global companies to other countries for research purposes.
- Lib Dem MP Layla Moran welcomed the reentry but stressed that money alone could not replace the lost time and opportunities. She called for increased EU-UK cooperation.
- Sir Adrian Smith, president of the Royal Society, hailed the news as fantastic, emphasizing the role of science in addressing global challenges and improving lives.
- Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, expressed optimism, highlighting the benefits for cancer patients and scientists.