Two-thirds of Brits want to keep access to the EU's Horizon scientific research programme in 2021 while 61 per cent want to stay part of the Erasmus programme, a new opinion poll has revealed.
The poll was conduced by YouGov for Best for Britain between 17th-18th July. It has been released to coincide with the resumption of UK-EU talks and a two day meeting of EU research ministers where the Presidency Trio (Germany, Portugal and Slovenia) will present a joint roadmap on research and education policy.
Negotiations between the UK and the EU resumed this week, although no imminent breakthrough is expected.
However, Best for Britain's new poll suggests a majority of Britons are still hopeful UK negotiators can secure cooperation on research, science and education through EU programmes.
These programmes are open to non-EU countries. Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Israel all have full access to the Horizon programme, while Norway and Turkey participate in Erasmus. The US has limited access to both programmes.
Best for Britain asked three questions:
1. The UK currently pays into the EU Horizon programme, alongside other European countries, that funds cross-country scientific research. Do you think the UK should stay as a member or stop being a member of the EU Horizon programme after the end of 2020?
66 per cent of Brits said they wanted to stay a member of the Horizon programme in 2021, compared to just 13 per cent who said they wanted to end Britain's membership next year.
This includes a majority of Conservative and Leave voters. While under a quarter (24 per cent) of Conservative voters said they wanted to end Britain's Horizon membership, 57 per cent said they wanted Britain's membership to continue. The same pattern was true of Leave voters, with 54 per cent in favour of keeping access compared to just 24 per cent against.
2. The EU's Erasmus programme helps Britons to get work experience and study in another European country, and Europeans to get work experience and study in Britain. Do you think the UK should stay a member or stop being a member of Erasmus at the end of 2020?
61 per cent of Brits said they wanted to stay a member of the Erasmus programme in 2021, while just 15 per cent said they wanted to end Britain's membership next year.
Like Horizon, continued UK access to Erasmus was strongly supported by Conservative (51 per cent) and Leave voters (47 per cent).
3. Do you think the UK working on scientific research with other European countries benefits everyone, only benefits other European countries, only benefits Britain, or benefits nobody?
An overwhelming majority of respondents said cooperation with other European countries on scientific research benefits everyone involved (72 per cent). Less than 10 per cent of respondents thought cooperation benefited nobody, only Britain or only other European countries.
69 per cent of Conservative voters and nearly two-thirds of Leave voters (64 per cent) said working on scientific research with other European countries benefits everyone involved.
Commenting on the findings, Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said:
“The government has said that leaving the EU doesn’t mean leaving Europe.
“This is a striking example of Britons seeing the pragmatic value in cooperating with Europe on science, research and developing employment opportunities. The Erasmus programme in particular can help our young people gain the work experience they need to start their careers.
“We ask that member states consider what the UK can bring to these programmes beyond 2020 and keep the door open to British participation."
About the Poll
The tables for this poll can be downloaded here.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,658 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th-18th July 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).