21 April 2017

  |  CBI Brussels


CBI members outline need for UK – EU science links to remain post-Brexit

As part of discussions with partners in BusinessEurope, the CBI has called for the strong links between the UK and EU science and research communities to remain in place after Brexit. 

CBI members outline need for UK – EU science links to remain post-Brexit

Now that Article 50 has been triggered, the CBI is working with its members in assessing the options open to the UK for continuing to engage with EU funded science projects such as Horizon 2020.

EU research programmes such as Horizon 2020 are highly valued by CBI members. The collaborative working relationships UK companies and universities have formed with their EU counterparts have helped the development and growth of our respective innovation and research eco-systems.

For many CBI members, these collaborations are just as important as the funding received from EU science programmes, with the UK currently second only to Germany in terms of the amount of money UK applicants receive and the number of British based participants who take part in each of the pillars Horizon 2020 covers. 

CBI members highlighted the need for the UK to retain access and influence to both current science programmes and also Framework Programme 9 which is scheduled for 2021.

As a leading scientific nation, members value the influence the UK wields over the direction of travel for EU science and research projects.

Members cited the UK’s role in both in maintaining scientific excellence as a specific project criteria and in the development of regulations and the harmonisation of data standards based on much of the research work generated.

Post-Brexit, members stressed the importance of the UK having a say in the early stages of international regulatory development.  

Another key area of concern is the status of EU based researchers and students. Members value their work in our universities and businesses. Cross-border mobility and being able to access a highly skilled workforce is a major benefit to the success of the UK’s innovation eco-system.

Coming to an agreement to ensure the UK can continue to attract a highly skilled workforce will be vital when competing for talent outside of the EU. 

To date, the government has committed to underwrite UK based participants who receive EU funding from projects such as Horizon 2020 or the European Regional Development Funding programme.

Leading politicians have been keen to stress the importance of maintaining some form of scientific and academic link with the EU. Both the Prime Minister and the Science Minister Jo Johnson have talked of the need for the UK to work with partners in the EU on future projects and collaborations.

Although welcome, as Brexit negotiations begin what this means in reality will be important to both businesses and universities across the UK and in the EU. 

As part of the CBI’s consultation with members, we are drawing up a series of policy proposals that look in more detail at how the UK can maintain access and links to the EU science base and its programmes.

We will work with colleagues and stakeholders across the UK and the EU on how this can be taken forward and developed further, building consensus and support for why it is in the interests of  all sides and the wider European science and research base that an agreement is made.  

For further details, please contact chris.cassley@cbi.org.uk