Rishi Sunak and von der Leyen discuss Horizon Europe

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal means the UK can rejoin the European Union’s £84billion Horizon Europe scheme, allowing British researchers to access grants and collaborate with European counterparts. But what do you think about rejoining? Vote in our poll.

For the last two years, British scientists and researchers have been blocked from accessing the EU programme due to Brexit trade deal negotiations surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol. The new Windsor Framework, agreed on Monday, February 27, means that the UK could link up and benefit from Horizon Europe.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the deal as “good news for scientists and researchers in the EU and in the UK”. She said during the joint press conference with Mr Sunak: “The moment it’s implemented, I’m happy to start immediately – right now – work on an association agreement, which is the precondition to join Horizon Europe.”

Under a previous scheme, known as Horizon 2020, Britain’s universities were some of the largest beneficiaries. Cambridge University received €483million (£433million) in but has not received any funding in the last two years under the new Horizon Europe programme. Whereas Oxford University was awarded €523million (£466) previously and has only been given €2million (£1.78million) in the last two years.

Universities UK chief executive Vivienne Stern said: “We are relieved to hear that the Windsor Framework has been agreed. The removal of this political roadblock must now lead to the rapid confirmation of UK association to Horizon Europe, Copernicus and Euratom, as set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

“Full association with Horizon continues to be best outcome for both the UK, and for our research partners across Europe and beyond. We urge all sides to start the necessary talks now so that association can take effect as soon as the Framework is implemented.”

Liberal Democrats’ education spokeswoman Layla Moran welcomed the UK regaining access to the programme. She said: “The uncertainty over Horizon Europe has been hurting academia and our science sector. I hope this happens quickly and we can start to reverse the damage already caused.”

So what do YOU think? Should Britain rejoin EU’s £84billion Horizon Europe scheme? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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