Brexit News: UK ready to launch global master plan WITHOUT France after EU snub |  Science |  News

Brexit News: UK ready to launch global master plan WITHOUT France after EU snub | Science | News

The UK was to take part in the Horizon Europe programme, which gives British researchers access to prestigious EU grants to work on important projects, as agreed in 2019 under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). But despite the agreement, the bloc told the UK it could not participate until the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol was resolved.

This has left the British research community in limbo as the EU has needlessly dragged them into Brexit conflict and the delay drags on for more than 18 months.

As the stalemate continues, the UK appears poised to abandon the program entirely and opt for a new global plan that could still include working with European partners as well as looking beyond Europe.

Drafted by former science minister George Freeman, he told Express.co.uk that countries willing to participate range from Switzerland to Germany.

But Emmanuel Macron, who Mr Freeman says played a big role in drawing British scientists into the feud over the Northern Ireland Protocol, is reportedly not going to get involved.

Mr Freeman told Express.co.uk: “If the EU continues to play tough, it’s time for us to return the money we would have invested in Horizon to launch a big bold Global UK S&T program for international cooperation outside the EU.”

The UK has allocated about £15 billion to the project, but under Plan B, the British researchers were promised that they would receive grants from the government instead.

The contingency plan also provides for the creation of a “talent and research stabilization fund.”

This will help support university revenues, which will be hit particularly hard by the loss of these European funds.

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But beyond accounting for missed opportunities, Mr. Freeman said his back-up plan could do a lot of good.

He told Express.co.uk: “We could spur exciting global collaborations in UK research and technology with partners from Europe and beyond on important issues such as polar exploration, agrotech, satellite search, marine biotech, pandemic prevention and biosecurity. We could attract huge global investment to the UK.

“This is the BI plan prepared this year, which is now ready to go.

“Swiss, Germans, Italians, Norwegians, although not French, all told me that if you are going to implement a big international scientific program, we will be glad to take part in it.”

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But Mr Freeman stressed that time is of the essence and urged the new prime minister to embrace the plan with open arms.

He said: “We need to act quickly. Without a clear international structure, British science lags behind, which will hold back the growth of the UK.

“The new Prime Minister must embrace the spirit of Churchill’s famous wartime political directives: ‘Act Today’.

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