Michelle Donelan, the new Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation has stated that the Government is prepared to abandon attempts to reassociate with Horizon Europe following Brexit in favour of creating a bespoke alliance with the United States, Japan and Switzerland.
In her Telegraph article, the Secretary of State acknowledged the inconvenience to the science sector owing to the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s readmission to the £88.6bn Horizon Europe research programme. Negotiations would continue, she claimed, however the Government is fully prepared to “go it alone” if they failed.
The Government has previously accused the European Commission of refusing to engage in talks regarding the UK’s readmission to Horizon Europe.
Many scientists and institutions have criticised the Government’s ongoing position, claiming that is was leading to a brain drain and hugely damaging to UK institutions, particularly when the Government has emphasised their ambition to cement the UK a global science superpower.
The Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Innovation wrote, “If we cannot associate, we are more than ready to go it alone with our own global-facing alternative, working with science powerhouses like the US, Switzerland and Japan to deliver international science collaborations”.
“I will not sit idly by while our researchers are sidelined. The time for waiting is quickly coming to an end and I will not shy away from striking out alone.”