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UK Government Guarantees EU Funding

British scientists will continue to receive grants from the European Union, including its flagship program Horizon 2020.

Aug 16, 2016
Jef Akst

WIKIMEDIA, TONY WEBSTERThe UK government announced that the country’s researchers are guaranteed the funding awarded via programs run by the European Union (E.U.) and can continue to apply for such grants, including those that fall under the Horizon 2020 umbrella. For all Horizon 2020 grants awarded to UK scientists, the national treasury “will underwrite the awards for their full duration, even after Brexit,” ScienceInsider reported.

“British businesses and universities will have certainty over future funding and should continue to bid for competitive EU funds while the U.K. remains a member of the E.U.,” UK Chancellor Philip Hammond said in a statement.

“This surely shows the commitment of the government to science,” Sarah Main of the London-based advocacy group Campaign for Science and Engineering said in a statement. “I feel upbeat because the political signs for science are good.”

Many questions remain, however, including whether UK scientists will be able to apply for Horizon 2020 funding after Brexit is complete. And ScienceInsider reported that some international collaborators are already hesitant to include UK scientists in their grant proposals, fearing what might happen when Brexit becomes official—next year at the earliest.

“The big opportunity missed here is for HM [Her Majesty’s] Government to confirm that, should we leave the EU science programme, the same amounts or more will be available directly from HM Treasury,” Scientists for EU, another London-based advocacy group, wrote on its Facebook page.

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