UK signs ‘landmark’ deal with New Zealand in huge step to becoming ‘science superpower’

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signed a landmark new Research, Science and Innovation Arrangement with New Zealand to further boost cooperation between the two countries in those sectors. The new deal, will deepen bilateral relationships between the two countries, and offer UK scientists more collaborative options after being frozen out of EU projects. The two countries are set to cooperate in “wide ranging” sectors, from joint research and development of new technologies, to boosting quantum technology in the UK.

The agreement is also said to involve visits and exchanges of scientists, which is particularly crucial to researchers in the UK after they were blocked from accessing EU’s Horizon Europe funds after disputes over Northern Ireland erupted.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s £80billion research programme that allows scientists from participating nations to access EU grants and collaborate with European researchers

Now, the UK is collaborating with New Zealand’s Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to deliver the agreement, which will support the ambitions set out in the UK’s Integrated Review to develop strategic science partnerships, and strengthen the UK’s presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Science Minister George Freeman said:“This is another step in our Science Superpower mission to widen and deepen our post-Brexit global science programmes.

Today’s agreement with our New Zealand allies and partners represents another victory for our bilateral relations in science and innovation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, where we are also building strong working relationships with Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea.

“This is in addition to the Science and Innovation Memorandums of Understanding I have now agreed with Israel, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada.

“As I made clear at the recent G7 science summit in Frankfurt, and at the 47-nation Eureka Innovation Summit in Lisbon last week, the UK is more committed than ever to deepening our international research collaborations.”

For Britain, this agreement grant UK researchers more access to New Zealand’s niche capabilities in areas such as quantum technology, which is something the island nation is a world leader in.


Mr Freeman continued: “The agreement made today will give us the chance to deepen our collaborations with New Zealand’s outstanding science and research community in a number of areas, from space, quantum and photonics, to Antarctic research and Agritech.

“The combination of our long-standing UK leadership in plant and animal science with New Zealand’s world class AgriTech eco-system will also provide an exciting opportunity to build partnerships and collaborations, showcasing the best of UK innovation in efficient farming, and helping UK businesses grow and scale while enabling access to global markets.”

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