The government has laid out how post-Brexit collaboration could happen in the sciences between the UK and the EU.
The Government’s paper on science and innovation lays out a range of mechanisms and areas for future collaboration that the UK will seek to discuss with the EU as part of the negotiations on the future partnership.
It also considers areas where there are precedents for countries outside the EU to participate in pan-European programmes such as Galileo and Copernicus.
The programmes and mechanisms include space programmes including Space Surveillance and Tracking.
The UK space sector is worth over £11.8 billion to the UK economy, and employs at least 37,000 people around the country. Our work in the European Space Agency has put Tim Peake in space and is enabling us to explore Mars.
The paper also lays out projects on nuclear research including:
- the Oxfordshire-based JET (Joint European Torus) which is funded by the EU’s Euratom Research and Training programme and supports 1,300 jobs in the UK, 600 of which are highly skilled scientists and engineers; and
- ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor)
The UK will also continue to collaborate with European partners through international organisations that are not part of the EU for example the EUREKA network that helps SMEs collaborate on R&D across borders and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European platform for particle physics and the fundamental laws of nature of which the UK was a founding member.
Other initiatives include the European Medicines Agency and Horizon 2020, which has over 7,300 UK participants so far and has seen many successes through collaboration, including through the Innovative Medicines Initiative:
- Through the SUMMIT project, UK researchers and companies have helped shorten clinical trials on diabetes, making new treatments available to patients sooner
- Through the HYFIVE project the UK together with other EU and international partners has taken hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to market, moving Europe towards a competitive low-carbon economy and providing cleaner air to all
- The UK has worked with other EU and international partners to train young researchers to exploit big data through the LONGPOP project
- Through the PAL project the UK has collaborated to build robots that interact with children to help manage their diabetes.
Secretary of State David Davis said:
“As the Prime Minister set out in her Lancaster House speech, a global Britain must be a country that looks to the future. That means being one of the best places in the word for science and innovation.
This paper sends a clear message to the research and innovation community that we value their work and we feel it is crucial that we maintain collaboration with our European partners after we exit.
We want to attract the brightest minds to the UK to build on the already great work being done across the country to ensure that our future is bright and we grow this important sector.”
Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
“From space exploration and developing better and safer medicines, to nuclear fusion research, the UK and Europe has a long history of close collaboration to meet the world’s great challenges. It’s in our mutual benefit to maintain this successful partnership, and this paper clearly outlines our desire to have a full and open discussion with the EU to shape our joint future.
With science and innovation at the heart of our Industrial Strategy and our additional investment of £4.7 billion for research and development, we are ensuring we are best placed to continue being at the forefront of new discoveries, and look forward to continuing that journey with the best minds across Europe.”
The UK is a world leader in science and innovation and the paper also states that we want to continue to be a hub for international talent and sets out that it is vital we ensure research communities can continue to access the high level skills that support the science and innovation sector. It will say that the UK will seek to agree a system for continued recognition of professional qualifications, and will continue to welcome the brightest and best after we exit.
The paper makes clear that the Government is committed to maintaining the UK’s status as a world leader in science and innovation and strengthening its science and research base, which already includes four of the world’s top ten universities, a world class intellectual property regime and more Nobel Laureates than any country outside the United States.
The paper can be found here.