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UK issues Brexit position paper on collaboration in science and innovation

The UK Government’s Brexit position paper on collaboration in science and innovation was published by the Department for Exiting the European Union on Wednesday 6 September. As expected, the UK negotiating team aims to seek a far reaching science and innovation agreement with the EU that could “be even more ambitious than any yet agreed between the EU and a non-EU entity”.

It seems clear that the UK will be prepared to underwrite generous funding to enable UK institutions to continue to participate in Horizon 2020 including the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public private partnership which brings together the pharmaceutical industry with academia, SMEs and other stakeholders to accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines. At present, over 90% of IMI projects have involved at least one UK institution.

Whilst providing no detail yet of the relationship the UK seeks with the European Medicines Agency, the position paper seeks to build on the precedent of agreements the EU already has in place with the US, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. Perhaps it is here that the UK’s hope of “a more ambitious agreement than any yet agreed” may find a substantial form.

The UK also welcomes discussions on how it might continue to facilitate an open market for researchers through the European Research Area (ERA), seeking to agree, for example, a continued system for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and investing £100 million in the Rutherford Fund to provide science research fellowships..

The UK will continue to collaborate in European projects not confined to the EU such as the European Bioinformatics Institute, an institute of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

In praising so generously the mutual benefits flowing from continued close cooperation between the EU and the UK in the fields of science and innovation the position paper signposts for the EU negotiators that the UK is certainly willing to pay for this.

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