Future of EU R&D Grants for UK companies: Devil is in the detail
On 6th September, the UK government published a future partnership paper, which outlined the UK’s objectives for an ambitious science and innovation agreement with the EU.
The paper sets out key issues which form part of the Government’s vision for that partnership and explores how the UK and the EU can make this a reality.
It is no wonder that the UK government are keen to ensure that they remain in close partnership with the EU as British science is one of the biggest winners of membership of the European Union. In fact, the UK received £8bn from the EU between 2007 and 2013. - £3bn more than it put into the research budget.
The UK is also a highly active participant in Horizon 2020 - the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme and ranks first across the EU in the number of participants with signed contracts.
Horizon 2020 has enabled the UK to collaborate with EU and international partners on a wide range of innovative science and research based projects, including robotics & A.I. , future and emerging technologies and innovative medicines.
In preparing to leave the EU, one of the UK’s core objectives is to “seek agreement to continue to collaborate with European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives”.
The paper has been welcomed by the Science community as a positive first step, with Dr Sarah Main, Director of the campaign for Science and Engineering, declaring:
"The UK is exceptionally strong in science and our collaborations with EU researchers are a huge contributor to our success. It is welcome that the Government are indicating that all options are on the table for continued scientific collaboration, including the potential for a bespoke agreement as an associated country”.
However, there are still big questions to be answered and the devil will, no doubt, be in the detail which has yet to be established.
One significant barrier to finalising an agreement is the UK’s future immigration policy and the fact that full membership of the main EU research funding body requires countries to allow free movement of people - which the UK government has rejected.
Prof Venkatraman Ramakrishanan, President of the Royal Society, advised that the UK government must “implement an immigration system that can attract the brightest and best minds to the UK, and a regulatory system that promotes seamless collaboration.”
Exactly how these obstacles can be overcome during Brexit negotiations will be of paramount importance to ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of scientific research in Europe.
Granted Consultancy is following the impact of Brexit closely and will continue to keep its clients and partners abreast of latest developments and insights, particularly when there is likely impact on the availability of grant funding for UK companies.