Lord Frost gives update on UK’s participation in Horizon Europe
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The bloc had issued an ultimatum to British scientists who were awarded grants as part of Horizon Europe, an £80billion research programme that grants scientists access to EU funds and collaboration with European researchers. Initially, the UK had negotiated its entry into the programme as part of a post-Brexit deal, promising to add £15billion to the massive pool.
However, as a result of disputes over the Brexit deal and Northern Ireland, the EU has held the fund, and the UK universities hostage, blocking them from accessing this fund.
Since then, the European Research Council (ERC), which is the bloc’s main research funding agency, issued an ultimatum to the successful UK-based applicants- move to the EU, or a Horizon-associated country, by June 29 or else be replaced by other applicants.
Now that the deadline has passed, the researchers had decided to stay in the UK and have had their grant offers terminated.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, a spokesperson for the ERC said: “The preparation of 115 ERC grants offered to UK-based researchers will be terminated now that the June 29 deadline has passed.
“The grants of 19 UK-based researchers will be moved to a host institution in the EU or Associated Countries following the researchers’ decisions to exercise their right to portability.
“12 cases have yet to be resolved.”
They previously noted that if the UK scientists do not move over to the EU the “grants are not terminated per see”.
They explained: “What could be terminated is the preparations for grant agreements, not grants as these are not yet ongoing projects.”
This comes as Stick to Science, a campaign initiative set up by over 5,6000 European researchers, wrote a furious letter to Ms von der Leyen, demanding she put an end to the delay in UK and Switzerland’s participation in the project.
The group argued that the delay is causing significant harm and uncertainty to the research communities of both nations.
The campaigners’ letter reads: “As we face the very real and pressing risk that Horizon Europe could continue without two of its most committed partners, we emphasise that research collaboration benefits us all.
“And, of course, our collective futures will be poorer with less collaboration on science.”
It adds: “The European research sector stands united in its agreement that researchers in the UK and Switzerland still have much to offer science in Europe. We must allow them to continue to contribute.”
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In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Science Minister George Freeman warned the EU that its bullying tactics will result in a “lose-lose”.
He also warned that if the EU continue to withhold access to Horizon, the UK will be forced to launch a “Plan B”, which will the £15billion funds within the UK.
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