Britain is excluded from Horizon Europe, the EU’s key research and innovation project as a post-Brexit row shakes the Northern Ireland protocol. And now, with Article 16 on the cards as Lord Frost, after traveling to Brussels on Friday as Brexit negotiations continue, there are fears Britain may never join the 80 project. billion pounds sterling.
James Wilsdon, professor of research policy at the University of Sheffield, said Express.co.uk that even though Science Minister George Freeman said he had a “bold plan B” it might not come to the rescue right away.
He said: âAlthough they say they have Plan B in their back pocket, you cannot make Plan B happen overnight.
âIt’s going to take a while.
âIf you were to decide to go with Plan B and still wanted to be able to spend the money wisely and responsibly with the proper checks and balances to make sure you don’t just hand it out willy-nilly, this in itself will take several months to really get up and running.
The government planned to contribute Â£ 2.1bn per year to the program so that British scientists and researchers could have access to a range of European science projects and funds.
But Lord Frost and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng are now reportedly rolling out plans to set up a Â£ 6.9 billion “discovery fund” to rival Horizon Europe.
But Mr Wilsdon said excluding Britain from Horizon Europe could undermine Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit pledge to make Britain a “science superpower”.
He said Express.co.uk: âYou can’t really have a Plan B to recreate great collaborative networking projects.
âThis is certainly a major setback for the UK’s ambition to stay at the forefront of global science.
READ MORE: Putin ‘dead in the water’ plot and Germany slams gas cuts
âWe know, and there is a lot of evidence, that collaborative research tends to be of higher quality in terms of the influence it has. And in many areas, you can’t really tackle key issues without collaborating with key groups.
He sent Lord Frost a serious warning because he claimed that Britain’s permanent exclusion from Horizon Europe could be detrimental to British science.
Mr Wilsdon told Express.co.uk: ‘Even in a post-Brexit context, many countries outside the EU are members of Horizon, and the government has always said we would stay in the framework programs. even if we did Brexit.
“So in a sense not being there is an unnecessary act of self-harm for British science.”
And while Mr Wilsdon pointed out that Britain might have difficulty outside Horizon Europe, he said there was still an opportunity to collaborate with other nations.
DO NOT MISS
Paleontologists stunned by major twist of four-legged snake discovery [REVEAL]
Sea level alert as England sinks into the ground: “important” [REPORT]
Poll in Russia: Should the UK divert gas to the EU if Putin cuts off supplies? [POLL]
He said: âWe could develop more bilateral and potentially even multilateral side funding programs, but with smaller groups of countries.
“We’ve already done some of that with joint funding programs with the French and the Germans, so you can increase that.”
Mr Wilsdon has suggested his own Plan B, pointing out that Britain could partner with another country banned from Horizon Europe, Switzerland.
He said Express.co.uk: âIn particular, we could do something with Switzerland because they are in the same boat as us.
“One could imagine that a very strong Anglo-Swiss scientific collaboration initiative starts up faster than most countries.”