Posted on 2 March 2023
The statement has been signed by representatives of the UK, Irish and wider European research, innovation and business communities following the agreement of the Windsor Framework.
Professor Matthias Ruth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of York said: “A collaborative approach to research enables us to drive advances that positively impact our world. Working together, across geographical borders and disciplines, leads to remarkable breakthroughs, quicker progress, and the exchange of knowledge and skills.
“European funding is an essential enabler of this collaboration. As a member of the Russell Group universities and the wider European research community, we stand by this call for the UK association to EU research programmes.”
As representatives of the UK, Irish and wider European research, innovation and business communities, we were heartened to hear the EU Commission President’s emphatic support for UK association to Horizon Europe. Both sides must now put renewed efforts into constructive dialogue to get association swiftly over the line, finally ending the damaging impasse that has lasted over two years.
Securing the UK’s place in EU programmes is crucial for shoring up the future of world-leading research, sustainable growth and high-level skills. Failure to do so now will be a second-best outcome for both the UK and the EU, undermining our collective efforts to tackle the big challenges of our time.
We are unequivocal that full UK membership of EU programmes, including Horizon Europe, Copernicus and Euratom, remains the best outcome for research and innovation. This has been the UK’s clearly stated position for a long time, and it is critical that the Government does not lose sight of the prize now that it is in reach. Now this important milestone has been reached, the EU must engage fully in technical discussions to ensure association can happen as soon as possible.
Delays to association have been mitigated in the short-term by the UKRI Horizon Europe Guarantee, and UK-based researchers continue to be successful at winning EU funding. The Guarantee and other measures have kept the window for association open while talks continue.
As we look to the future, the UK, the EU and communities worldwide face the same big challenges, from climate change, cancer and mental illness. By securing ongoing research collaboration through Horizon Europe, the UK Government and the European Commission will stack the odds in our collective favour for meeting these challenges. We urge that political will and commitment endures and look forward to seeing UK association become a reality.
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