Ejection from the Horizon Programme worries UK and Swiss researchers

The United Kingdom revealed its science and research policy plans in case the UK’s association into the Horizon Europe programme remains unsuccessful. According to this contingency plan, the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) as well as national academies will receive increased funding. In addition, a “Horizon Europe” guarantee is also included, which would provide UK government funding for research projects that succeeded in Horizon.

Overall, this “plan b” promises transition measures for UK researchers, and on the long run, aims to build on an alternative UK research infrastructure, involving existing grants, and increased funding. Numerous organisations are calling for the urgent release of more details. Nevertheless, aiming for ascension into the Horizon programme is still preferred by many – this, however, is at risk due to the UK and the EU’s souring post-Brexit relations. The adverse effects of this are already felt by researchers, whose grants were withdrawn, or had to change institutions to carry on research.

Similar tendencies can be observed in Switzerland, which was ejected from the Horizon programme in 2021. The country’s R&D is reportedly facing difficulties as the national level programmes were unable to provide the same amount of financial coverage as Horizon was.

Albeit initiatives such as Stick to Science – of which EuChemS is a supporter of – call for the ascension of UK and the re-ascension of Switzerland into Horizon, many fear that these countries will be unable to find common ground necessary for this with the Union.

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