EU urged to finalise UK’s membership of £80bn research programme

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More than 1,000 universities and 50 academies of subject crossed Europe person called connected the EU to “immediately” finalise the UK’s rank of its flagship £80bn probe programme and extremity the 10-month hold to the ratification process.

In a missive to the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, they accidental the lengthy hold is “endangering existent and aboriginal plans for collaboration” and immoderate further hold volition “result successful a large weakening of our corporate probe strength”.

The missive comes amid fears that the seven-year Horizon Europe programme is collateral harm successful a wider governmental quality betwixt the UK and the EU over sportfishing and the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol.

The UK was owed to lend astir £2bn a twelvemonth to enactment successful the programme with funds returned successful the signifier of leading-edge probe projects to British universities and probe institutes connected everything from vaccines to clime alteration technologies.

Now scientists accidental the painstaking occupation of putting task teams and proposals together, which tin often instrumentality a twelvemonth to complete, are being jeopardised due to the fact that of the uncertainty implicit the UK’s presumption successful imaginable probe consortiums.

They impulse Von der Leyen to enactment authorities speech and property the greenish fastener connected the UK’s subordinate membership.

“Horizon Europe’s occurrence volition hinge connected its committedness to excellence and planetary outlook. The lone mode to determination guardant from the Covid pandemic is arsenic a planetary assemblage moving unneurotic to thrust probe and innovation done collaboration,” they accidental successful their letter.

The UK was 1 of the starring countries successful the EU probe programme earlier Brexit, liable for conscionable nether 15% of each funds awarded.

A spokesperson for the Russell Group of universities said the UK was the 2nd biggest beneficiary of the Horizon 2020 programme aft Germany, winning £7.8bn successful funds for 10,000 projects implicit the past 7 years.

But it has present been caught up successful the crosshairs of treble battles betwixt the UK and the EU implicit sportfishing and Northern Ireland.

The Brexit minister, David Frost, past week said the EU was adjacent to breaching its committedness successful the commercialized deal and wanted swift action, peculiarly aft different non-EU countries including Norway had already had their rank ratified.

Signatories to the missive see the heads of large probe typical bodies including the All European Academies, the European Universities Association, CESAER, the Belgian subject radical and German U15, an relation of 15 of the starring aesculapian universities successful Germany.