On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the UK and EU are set to reopen negotiations for the UK to become an associate member of the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme as part of the Windsor Framework agreement on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The UK had previously been shut out of the programme due to the diplomatic impasse between the UK and EU over the Protocol.
Though Horizon Europe is not limited to EU members, the EU had previously stated that the UK would not be admitted as an associate member due to the pursuit of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill by Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
Horizon Europe is the continent’s leading funding scheme for scientific research, awarding funds totaling €95.5bn over the 2021-27 funding cycle. Last year, scientists warned that the UK’s reputation as a top research destination could be lost if the row over the Protocol continued to exclude the UK from Horizon Europe.
Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said:
“Dialling down inflammatory rhetoric, pursuing pragmatic negotiations and ditching the lawbreaking NI Protocol Bill, paved the way for the UK to rejoin Horizon Europe.
“This will provide a shot in the arm for scientific progress and the Government must now apply these same tactics to improving Johnson’s half-baked Brexit deal for the rest of the UK economy”.