Government to safeguard EU research funding
The Treasury will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before the UK leaves the European Union, the government has announced.
The commitment is intended to provide reassurance to applicants from the UK’s research and innovation base when applying for EU research funding. British businesses have been urged to continue to bid for funds while the UK remains a member of the EU. The Treasury will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.
The announcement follows government’s commitment in last year’s Spending Review to protect UK science spending in real terms, providing £26.3BN from April 2016 to April 2021.
Business and energy secretary Greg Clark said: “The government’s commitment to our world-leading science and research base remains steadfast. By underwriting the significant Horizon 2020 grants we are showing the extent of our commitment, standing squarely behind our researchers and scientists as they continue working with their European partners to develop new technologies, discover life-saving medicines and pioneer every day innovations that will benefit all hard-working Britons.
“The UK is world renowned for our contribution to global science and innovation, ranking second in the most recent Global Innovation Index as well as being home to the most productive science base in the G7.”
Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s flagship research and innovation programme aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. With a budget of almost €80BN between 2014 and 2020, the programme awards funding to the most innovative research ideas to help bring them to market quicker; the water sector has been among those active in the programme. Through the programme the UK has secured 15.5 per cent of total funds to date totalling around €2BN, second out of all participating countries.
Science minister Jo Johnson said: “For centuries, Britain has been at the forefront of world-leading science and, as a truly global knowledge economy, it’s more important than ever that we support the brightest and best researchers and innovators. We’ve protected the UK science budget until the end of the decade and are strengthening the Higher Education system and our support for innovation. By underwriting Horizon 2020 funding in this way today, we are again demonstrating the importance we place on maintaining the world leading research that takes place in the UK.”
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