UK aims to restore standing in EU Horizon science programme

British researchers headed a quarter of the Horizon projects in which the UK was involved before Brexit © Arne9001/Dreamstime The quest to revive Britain’s leading position in the EU’s €95.5bn Horizon science programme after three years away will face its first big test in January with a deadline to “pump-prime” new applications. Leading UK scientific organisations have called for proposals by January 17 as part of a government effort to surpass the pre-Brexit landmark of British researchers heading a quarter of the Horizon projects in which the nation was involved. The UK’s return to the EU network on January 1 as an “associate country” has been welcomed by research and industry groups, which warned that Britain’s absence was undermining its international scientific standing. But after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Treasury questioned the €2.5bn-a-year scheme’s value for money, academia and industry are now under pressure to win grants and do groundbreaking research in strategic priority areas. “Given the importance of science and technology to the future of the UK economy, as well as the accelerating use of technology by manufacturers, it was always vital that the UK rejoined the programme,” said Verity Davidge, policy director at Make UK, the manufacturing industry body. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets engineering apprentices during a visit to the international manufacturing centre at Warwick university in September “Now that we are back inside the tent, the government must move rapidly to make up the ground that will undoubtedly have been lost so that we can again be at the forefront of current and future projects within the scheme.” The push for the UK Horizon renaissance is being spearheaded by the British Academy, which promotes the study of the humanities and social sciences; the Academy of Medical Sciences; the Royal Society; and the Royal […]

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By Donato