Brexit Update: PM speech sets out some detail about future access to EU research


May 22nd, 2018

With the proviso that, as ever with anything to do with the Brexit negotiations nothing is certain until everything is certain, in a speech at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire on Monday, Prime Minister Theresa May continued recent hints that the Government would like to associate fully with Horizon Europe, the successor programme to Horizon 2020, and that it would be willing to make an appropriate financial contribution to do so.

While nothing remains confirmed, the language of “full association” implies a specific status similar to that enjoyed by countries such as Israel, Armenia, Turkey, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. May’s proposed position is to “willingly pay” a contribution, with the hope of enjoying a commensurate level of influence over funding programmes.

May’s speech also filled in some more detail on the Industrial Strategy, highlighting “Grand Challenges” as specific areas of investigation including four around data for health, aging, zero-emission transport, and sustainable building practice. No new money announced alongside these, but the hint was that the governmental goal of research and development investment reaching 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027 “could translate to an additional £80 billion investment over the next decade.”

The Russell Group issued a robust statement calling for the Government to ensure that the UK continues to be a global leader in science and innovation.

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