The report outlines the agreement reached on the rights of citizens, including news that those who acquire permanent residence in their host country can be absent from this country for a period of up to five years, without losing their permanent residency rights. This development is of particular importance to the research community, given the international nature of research careers that can result in scientists moving between countries for extended periods.
The paper also reveals that the UK has agreed to continue to pay into the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the EU until the current MFF draws to a close in 2020; a year after the UK will have left the European Union. The MFF sets the budget for the EU over a seven-year cycle. The current MFF runs from 2014-2020 and funds a range of EU programmes, including Horizon 2020.
The joint paper makes clear that UK entities will be entitled to participate in EU programmes during this time. This provides important clarity for the research community, confirming that UK researchers can apply for funding for the full duration of the Horizon 2020 programme, including participating in, and leading, collaborative international research consortia.
Data published at the end of November by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, on UK participation in Horizon 2020, showed a slight decline in the share of awards that UK participants received up until September 2017, when compared with similar figures from 2016.
Horizon 2020 funding
The joint agreement will help to provide reassurance and encouragement to the UK research community to continue to apply for EU funding under Horizon 2020, and to play an active role in collaborative EU research programmes. However, it is still unclear whether the UK will be able to participate in future EU collaborative research funding programmes, such as the forthcoming Framework Programme 9 (FP9).
The confirmation that our community can continue to apply for funding up until 2020, and that this funding will be uninterrupted, provides some welcome clarity in the short term, enabling UK researchers to continue to be active participants across all elements of Horizon 2020.
However, it is the next stage of negotiations that will prove critical in determining the UK’s ability to continue to work collaboratively with EU partners. UK participation in FP9 can bring great benefits to both the UK and EU in boosting productivity, global competitiveness and driving high standards in research and innovation.
As the UK and the EU enter the next phase of talks, we will continue to emphasise that cooperation through research and innovation is an example of where the UK and EU must continue to work together, for the benefit of science and humanity.