According to The Times (September 4th 2017), the UK Government will publish proposals on Wednesday September 6th 2017 to ensure that the UK continues to participate in the EU’s science and research programmes. The Times suggests that the Government will offer to pay more than £1 billion each year to the EU to enable the UK to participate in schemes including Horizon 2020, the EU’s £7.8 billion science and research fund. The scheme already has non-EU associate members including Israel, Norway and Switzerland.
If accurate, this report is good news for three reasons. Firstly, if the EU accepts the Government’s proposal, then our universities will be able to continue to access knowledge, networks, research and collaborations across the EU. This will reinforce the standing and capabilities of UK higher education.
Secondly, Horizon 2020 will continue to benefit from UK involvement. The programme will benefit from our financial contribution and the involvement of our world-renowned UK universities.
Thirdly, it shows that the UK Government is listening seriously to the concerns of UK higher education. Universities have highlighted the importance of participating in EU programmes including Horizon 2020, since the EU Referendum. The Government has clearly been attentive to the needs of UK universities. This is encouraging. If the Government is endeavouring to meet the needs of higher education in the Brexit negotiations, then it is also likely to aim to satisfy the requirements of other important sectors of the UK economy.