Science: EU Grants and Loans

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

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Photo of Lord Watson of Richmond Lord Watson of Richmond Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Royal Society that British science has lost approximately €500 million in EU funding as a result of uncertainty around Brexit.

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 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.

UK researchers and innovators have continued to be successful in securing European Research Council (ERC) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) funding, with the UK consistently ranking first in both areas since the beginning of Horizon 2020 in 2014.

In addition, the Government has committed to ensuring that all UK bids to mono-beneficiary ERC, MSCA and SMEi (now known as European Innovation Council 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.

Looking ahead, we have also affirmed our commitment to increasing R&D investment to at least 2.4% of GDP and will be setting our plans to reach this later this Autumn, providing long-term certainty to the scientific community. Additionally, the Government remains committed to ensuring that world leading talent is attracted to and retained within the UK. On 8 August, the Prime Minister announced a new fast-track immigration scheme aimed at enabling a wider pool of scientific talent to come to the UK. This scheme will ensure that those with specialist skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects can come to the UK and make an important contribution to our leading science and research sectors, significantly enhancing the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK.

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