UK launches ‘consultation’ with EU on Horizon Europe • The Register

The UK government has launched formal consultations with the EU over a failure to secure its inclusion in the EU’s €95.5 billion ($97.6 billion) research funding scheme since the island nation left the world’s richest trading bloc .

Ministers said they wanted to end the ongoing delays in the UK’s access to EU scientific research programmes, including Horizon Europe – the “EU’s main funding program for research and innovation” – under a mechanism they say is spelled out in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), signed in December 2020, to deal with Brexit of the UK from the EU to settle.

Although the EU and UK have acknowledged that cooperation on scientific and technological research would benefit both sides, the UK’s position on aspects of the Brexit deal relating to trade via Northern Ireland has put plans on hold.

In June, the The UK government has passed legislation It allowed him to unilaterally sever his obligations in relation to Northern Ireland – a part of the UK with an open land border with EU member state Ireland. The move risks a trade war with the EU, which has since taken legal action.

Apparently ready to serve up a ready-to-serve cake of irony, Secretary of State Liz Truss said: “The EU is clearly violating our agreement by repeatedly attempting to politicize vital scientific cooperation by refusing to complete access to these vital programs. We cannot allow this to continue. That is why the UK has now launched formal consultations and will do whatever is necessary to protect the scientific community.”

Truss is in the running for the Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister to replace Boris Johnson.

The government said the UK had negotiated access to a number of EU science and innovation programs under the TCA in 2020, but the EU had refused to finalize UK access, which hurt research and development in both the caused serious harm in both the UK and the EU Member States.

The delays have prevented the UK from accessing Horizon Europe, the EU’s main funding program for research and innovation, and Copernicus, the Earth observation programme, it said.

However, a spokesman for the European Commission said The registry the TCA provided no specific obligation or deadline for the EU to associate the UK with trade union programmes.

“The Commission takes note of the UK’s request for consultation and will follow up under the applicable rules of the TCA,” he said.

In February, Then-British Science and Research Secretary George Freeman acknowledged that vital EU funding for research was in limbo due to ongoing Brexit issues including Northern Ireland and fishing rights.

Speaking to Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee, Freeman, who resigned in July, said: “I think it’s pretty clear that we’re on hold and our association won’t be granted.”

Freeman told the committee his department had a plan B — a replacement system for Horizon — but he didn’t know when it would be needed. In the meantime, finance from the Treasury Department could flow into the system. He said the Chancellor of the Exchequer – then Rishi Sunik – had committed £5 billion ($6 billion) to fund local programs if the UK were placed outside of Horizon.

Under its previous incarnation, Horizon 2020, technology funding specifically included funds dedicated to it Open-source Microsoft Office competitor CollaboraProtonMail parent company Proton Technologies AG, the Funky computer lab in Bristolthe Li-Fi group, Graph researchers in the UKand theEuropean processor initiativeworking on a self-developed RISC-based chip project.

earlier this month, A report by the Lords Science and Technology Committee criticized Britain’s efforts to become a science and technology “superpower” by 2030.

The colleagues, led by committee chair Julia King (Baroness Brown of Cambridge), an engineer with a PhD in fracture mechanics, said there were no “specific, measurable outcomes”, no delivery plan, a short-term perspective and “common guidelines”. changes.”

King added: “Internationally, the failure to join Horizon Europe and recent cuts in official development assistance have tarnished the UK’s reputation. The UK cannot be a scientific superpower in isolation; the relationships need to be repaired.”

She said the UK is on track to turn the goal of becoming a “science superpower” into an “empty slogan”. ® UK launches ‘consultation’ with EU on Horizon Europe • The Register

Laura Coffey

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