Britain Rejoins EU's Scientific Program After Brexit Hiatus
Great Britain is returning to the EU's Horizon scientific program after a two-year absence due to Brexit. According to Sky News, the British government has announced its intention to rejoin the program by striking a separate agreement with the EU.
For the scientific community, this announcement comes as a pleasant surprise. The government's spokesperson added that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has negotiated improved financial terms for the country's participation, aligning with the interests of the United Kingdom and safeguarding taxpayers.
"We have worked with our EU partners to ensure that this is the right deal for the UK, opening unprecedented research opportunities and ensuring it is a sound agreement for British taxpayers," noted the UK Prime Minister.
This matter has been on Sunak's agenda for the past few weeks as he aimed to secure more favorable conditions for British scientists to make up for the losses incurred during the program's absence.
The Horizon program involves collaboration between leading European scientific institutions and technological companies, with EU member states making contributions that are subsequently allocated among individual researchers and organizations based on their contributions.
Initially, the United Kingdom began negotiations to remain in the program with a budget of €95.5 billion. However, discussions hit a deadlock due to Brexit-related disagreements, particularly concerning Northern Ireland.
Over the past two years since the UK's departure from the EU, the British government has sought to replace lost EU grants. However, the scientific community has voiced concerns that British researchers have lost the opportunity to collaborate with their European counterparts.
Professor Paul Stuart of the Academy of Medical Sciences remarked that this return "represents a significant step forward for British science."
"After a brief hiatus, the scientific community celebrates the fantastic news that we are once again part of the flagship EU funding program. Health research is an international endeavor based on the support of the best ideas and the creation of cross-border networks, which is excellent news for the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world," he added.
It's worth noting that in July, the number of Britons who consider Brexit a mistake reached a new record high.