Prospect concerned about future of UK science funding

22 March 2021

Horizon Europe is an EU programme which funds research and innovation across Europe – because of Brexit the UK is now going to have to pay to participate in the programme.

Prior to Brexit the UK’s contribution was through its general payments to the EU, indeed the UK was a net beneficiary of funding from the body. We now have to pay to participate and there are fears that this will cause an overall fall in the level of UK R&D funding – UKRI, BEIS and the Treasury are in negotiations as to who should cover the costs.

As the largest trade union representing scientists across the public and private sector Prospect is deeply concerned about the current negotiations taking place between BEIS, UKRI and the Treasury on the funding of British science.

Garry Graham, Prospect Deputy General Secretary, said:

“Cutting edge science is by its nature an international endeavour and it is vital that the UK continues to play a crucial role as part of science and innovation body Horizon Europe. As a result of the UK leaving the EU the UK will now need to pay to participate in the programme – Prospect is deeply concerned that scientific budgets will be cut as a result.

“If the Treasury’s aspiration is for the UK to be a scientific superpower then cutting budgets for science and vital research and development work to pay the administrative costs of leaving the EU is a poor way to go about it. Alongside the decisions to cut the Overseas Development Aid budget, directly impacting on science and innovation programmes already in place, this sends entirely the wrong signal.”