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Brexit position paper on science and innovation outlines ambitious plans for upcoming negotiations

The government has today published a Brexit position paper outlining plans for continued collaboration in science and innovation post-Brexit. The proposals within the paper define the UK’s negotiating position with Europe, and will guide discussions in the development of our new relationship.

The predominant theme of the paper is the need for continued collaboration with European colleagues on major science, research and technology initiatives.

Most notable is the government’s commitment to Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes. EU funding has been instrumental to scientific research and the UK ranks first across the EU in the number of participants in EU framework funding programmes. Medical and immunological research relies heavily on partnerships formed through EU funding programmes and mobility schemes, such as The Marie Skłodowska-Curie mobility scheme, and it is welcome that the government has signalled its intention to remain committed to these projects.

However, we still wait for clarification on the status of EU nationals in UK, which is important to ensure the UK remains open and attractive to EU and non-EU researchers. Maybe add in a sentence here saying that despite news reports today on leaked Home Office proposals on immigrations, these plans have yet to be officially confirmed by government or something to that effect. Nonetheless, this paper should act as a basis for the government to negotiate the best deal for the science and innovation sectors.


Main objectives outlined in the position paper:

  1. Build on the close relationship between the UK and the EU to maintain and strengthen science research. This would involve ensuring continued participation in EU funded programmes, Horizon 2020 and other programmes, like the Marie Skłodowska-Curie mobility scheme.
  2. The UK will continue to work closely with EU partners through non-EU international programmes, such as the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI).
  3. The UK will continue to welcome the ‘best and the brightest’ from across the globe and, as such, the UK will seek to agree a migration system of mutual recognition of professional qualifications. The government has allocated £100 million to the Rutherford Fund to attract highly skilled researchers.
  4. Ensure patients in both the UK and the EU still receive the best and most innovative therapies and medical technologies. This will require the UK to continue to work closely with the European Medicines Agency EMA and other international regulatory partners.
  5. The UK will continue to work closely and be a key player in European Reference Networks (ERNs), which support clinical care and research of rare diseases through knowledge and data sharing.

You can read the full position paper on the government’s website.

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