Science: Industry

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of uncertainty regarding Brexit on the UK science industry.

Photo of Lord Duncan of Springbank Lord Duncan of Springbank Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government is committed to making the UK a global science superpower and a magnet for brilliant people and businesses from across the world - building on our position of existing global excellence. That is why we have affirmed our commitment to increasing R&D investment to at least 2.4% of GDP and will be setting out plans to reach this later this Autumn, providing long-term certainty to the scientific community. We have also recently announced that we intend to launch a comprehensive UK Space Strategy, introduce a fast-track immigration scheme for top scientists and researchers and develop proposals for a new funding agency.

The Government has committed to guarantee funding for all successful eligible UK bids to Horizon 2020 that are submitted before the end of 2020, for the lifetime of projects. We have also guaranteed funding for participation in all Horizon 2020 projects open to third countries after exit, which are collaborative projects. The Science Minister has written to his counterparts across the EU to set this out.

In a no deal Exit scenario, the guarantee would cover funding for all successful competitive UK bids to Horizon 2020 submitted before the UK leaves the EU, even if they are notified of their success after exit. The guarantee would apply for the lifetime of projects. Again, in a no deal scenario, the extension to the guarantee would cover funding for all successful competitive UK bids to Horizon 2020 calls open to third country participants submitted from the date of exit until the end of 2020. Like the guarantee, the extension would apply for the lifetime of projects.

In addition to the Government’s no deal guarantee and extension funding commitments, we have committed to ensuring that all UK bids to mono-beneficiary ERC, MSCA and SMEi (now known as European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator) calls that are submitted to Horizon 2020 before Exit are evaluated in all scenarios. This means researchers and innovators can continue to submit proposals to Horizon 2020 with confidence, right up to the point of exit, knowing that the best proposals will be funded – regardless of how we leave the EU.

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