Friday, September 22, 2023

The United Kingdom will re-enter the main scientific research program of the European Union

Brexit brought with it not only the departure of the United Kingdom from the political institutions of the European Union, but also the abandonment of this country’s participation in programs of all kinds carried out by the 27. One of them is “Horizon”, the program research and development to which the Union allocates 95,500 million euros and which, for example, works in the fight against cancer.

However, a phone call between Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed London’s return to this program without also having to pay any fine for leaving it. The return of the United Kingdom must now be approved by the Member States and would become effective next January. The United Kingdom will contribute 3 billion euros to the community programme.

The United Kingdom will also once again participate in the Copernicus programme, the satellite system that allows monitoring and reacting to climatic disasters and which has been essential in the fight against the fires this past summer, for example in Greece. However, London will remain outside of Euratom, the body in charge of atomic energy research.

Relief in the scientific community

Various organizations and specialists in the United Kingdom have applauded this decision, which, as confirmed by the Downing Street statement, will once again be able to “access public calls for aid even before the country’s official entry into the program.” UK scientists were in fact one of the main recipients of these research grants.

The president of the Royal Society, the main scientific society in the United Kingdom and the oldest in the world, Adrian Smith, has described the return as “fantastic news for British scientists, those of the European Union and all European citizens.” The British organization in charge of the fight against cancer has also received the news with optimism, since it will allow them to cooperate with European specialists.

What is “Horizon”?

It is the main research and development program of the European Union, whose main objectives are to fight climate change, develop new technologies or achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It was also one of the mechanisms whose work and funds were devoted from the outset to the fight against the coronavirus.

“Horizon” has specialized programs in cancer research, adaptation to the effects of climate change, restoration of sea and fresh water, financing to achieve climate neutral cities and care for the soil.


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