What happens after Brexit
By Ingemar Pongratz
Brexit is a fact. As of February 1st, 2020, the agreement between the European Union and the UK has entered into force and the UK is leaving the European Union. During 2020, the UK-EU relations will be characterized by the Transition Period, during which the UK will still be bound by EU legislation but will not participate the EU legislative process. During the Transition Period, the UK will go on and negotiate with the EU how the relationship between the EU and the UK will look like. These negotiations should cover all aspects, such as Trade, Taxation, Food safety, mobility and many others.
Of course, these negotiations will include research and the UK participation in the future European Research Framework Programme Horizon Europe.
In the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, UK researchers have been very successful and managed to attract considerable funds and projects.
However, following the UK departure from the EU, the UK will be considered as a third Country and is thus not eligible for European funding. In addition, collaboration between UK and EU researchers will be hampered, researcher exchange between the UK and the EU will become more difficult and UK participation in strategic programmes will become difficult.
These problems have given rise to considerable concern among UK based researchers and of course, among their European collaborators.
What can we expect in the future? What happens after Brexit then?
It is possible, even likely that the UK will join the Horizon Europe programme as an associated country. However, we should expect delays. The EU has stated that the research priorities need to be agreed upon. In addition, C Ehlers from the European Parliament has stated that there are considerable obstacles that need to be removed. One obstacle is that mobility. The EU expects that citizens are able to move freely between the UK and the EU. The UK is reluctant to agree to free movement to all citizens and want to restrict this to apply free movement only for researchers.
There is a risk that UK association to Horizon Europe will be part of a large discussion that will take long time to discuss and to put in place. The intentions of the researcher community may thus have to wait until other agreements are in place.
Another possibility is that UK researchers may cover the costs for their participation in Horizon Europe projects. This is also a possibility but may face a lot of practical problems. Will UK organizations agree to EU jurisdiction?
Problems will also include costs for association with Horizon Europe. Is the UK ready to pay substantial amounts to participate and collaborate with EU researchers?
Clearly, we can expect a lot of long and difficult negotiations in the future.
Ingemar Pongratz is owner of Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We help enterprises and universities to plan and submit funding application for public funding including the European research programmes. Please contact us through the Online contact form or by email if you want to enquire about our services
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