Europe’s universities have urged the fast association of the United Kingdom to Horizon Europe, which is considered the largest transnational program supporting research and innovation, as well as to other EU programs, claiming that a long process is triggering unnecessary insecurity within the European knowledge community.
According to a press release issued by the European University Association (EUA), the European Union and the United Kingdom both benefit from the joint research and innovation as well as universities attempting to achieve excellence and cooperation, Erudera.com reports.
“This insecurity threatens plans for scientific cooperation – with negative consequences for both the EU and the UK”, EUA’s media release reads.
Universities have urged the European Commission and the UK government to complete the Protocol I linked to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement as crucial for the association of the UK to the Horizon Europe program.
In its statement, EUA emphasized that since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the European research and innovation community, including UK members, have continually been united to protect the cooperation.
It further states that the finalization of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement has been considered a guarantee by the universities, researchers and more, that both sides – EU and UK held the same stance that the common research and innovation efforts would continue even after the UK’s exit from the European Union.
“The possibility for UK entities to apply in the first calls of Horizon Europe and the allocation of funds in the UK to finance participation in the programme gave further reassurance,” EUA points out.
Europe’s universities regret that incompletion of the Protocol I continues even after ten months of the publication of these documents, adding that although the specialized committees for other policy areas have been established, the Specialized Committee on Participation in Union Programmes has not held the first meeting yet.
EUA points out that not only the continent will benefit by strengthening cooperation, but it will also serve to tackle more global challenges.
At the end of 2020, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the program, valuable more than €95.5 billion for the period 2021/27.
The United Kingdom left the EU at the end of January 2020, following a 2016 referendum with the majority of voters choosing to leave the EU. Since Brexit, the UK also decided to leave the EU’s program Erasmus +, replacing it with its own program, the Turing Scheme, under which some 40,000 university students and pupils in the UK will have the opportunity to study and work abroad.