Wellcome Trust suggests that the EU and UK negotiate research deals in order to avoid damaging the research and development sector.
Because of delays in the Brexit process, Wellcome Trust reports that the UK is most likely to miss out on the start of the EU’s next research programme and this is to damage research and innovation in both member states and the UK.
Wellcome Trust recommends that a ‘standalone agreement’ on research and innovation including association to Horizon Europe should be negotiated separately to the wider talks on the EU-UK future relationship.
What does the report say?
“A discontinuity in EU-UK cooperation though the framework programmes [the EU’s research programmes] would damage research and innovation on both sides of the Channel,” says the Wellcome Trust report, titled A Post-Brexit Agreement for Research and Innovation: Outcomes from a Simulated EU-UK Negotiation.
According to the Wellcome Trust, the report was aimed to test the assumption of “many in the research community that agreeing the terms of a science deal is likely to be relatively straightforward, since the interests of the UK and EU are well-aligned in this area.”
The report states: “A post-Brexit EU-UK science deal is possible and would be a ‘win-win’ for both parties. Full UK association to Horizon Europe, with as few restrictions on access as possible, must be at the heart of any EU-UK science deal.
“Negotiating a science deal will involve finding compromise, and time is extremely short. If the UK has any chance of being part of Horizon Europe on day one, negotiations must start immediately.”
The report continued to state that although formal negotiations to join Horizon Europe cannot start until the legislation is finalised, “the UK government can start informal negotiations over aspects of the UK’s participation. The UK must start talks with the Commission immediately so that the formal negotiation process is as smooth as possible.”