As a global society we know there are many challenges we face. To tackle these challenges effectively, we will need to continue working together with exceptional global talent. British science is at its best when we collaborate closely with other countries, and welcome researchers to the UK, enabling brilliant and inventive minds from around the world to tackle the biggest challenges.
To this end, we are working to deepen our research and innovation ties to other countries. We have already reached ground-breaking agreements with the US and China, and welcome our strong partnership with the EU. Indeed, it will be in all of our interests to enable our existing bonds across research and innovation to continue to thrive as all parties benefit from our collaborative approach.
As we exit the EU, I – along with my predecessors – have consistently encouraged our research community to continue engaging with European research programmes. The first phase of negotiations in December envisaged that UK entities participating in European Union programmes will be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the Union for the entire lifetime of projects. I fully encourage UK researchers, businesses and universities to keep applying.
Recently, I have had positive and constructive conversations with the EU, where I have emphasised that the UK will remain “open to the world”. I will continue striving to ensure our strong research and innovation relationship with the EU continues after Brexit.
I am deeply conscious of the importance of Horizon 2020 and future framework programmes to research in the UK, and the huge benefits we have reaped from participation in all areas of the programme, such as the European Research Council. Looking beyond the implementation period that has been recently agreed with EU negotiating teams, the Prime Minister has made clear that we are working hard to secure a far-reaching science and innovation agreement with the EU after Brexit.
Together with the whole of the science community we need to look to the future. We need to seize the opportunities in front of us and make Britain a 21st Century scientific and technological powerhouse, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Royal Society of Chemistry and others to make the very best of these exciting times ahead.