Parallel to this, the UK Government’s publication of details surrounding its alternative, Pioneer, has been welcomed by many across our community. Having a backup plan ready in the event of a worst-case scenario – that is, a failure to reach an agreement on the UK’s association with Horizon Europe – gives the entire scientific community a welcome degree of reassurance.
We welcomed the Government’s invitation for feedback on the proposals and the recognition from them that association remains their top priority. Moving towards a resolution on the UK’s association with Horizon Europe will no doubt be near the top of new Acting Science, Innovation and Technology Secretary Chloe Smith’s to-do list and we are ready to provide further assistance however we can.
Since Pioneer’s publication, our team at the RSC have been analysing the proposals and bringing together our community’s views to provide feedback to the Government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). As part of this, we have contributed to organising two events, which have given DSIT the opportunity to present the proposals – and receive direct feedback – from some of the leading experts from the chemical sciences community.
1. A session at the Heads of Chemistry UK Spring Conference
DSIT civil servants joined a session at the Heads of Chemistry UK Spring conference, which comprises heads of chemistry departments at universities and similar institutions, to present their Pioneer proposals and hear feedback from the Heads. Participants had a productive conversation, highlighting positive aspects of the proposals as well as some of the concerns they have, including in relation to Pioneer’s implementation.
2. A joint roundtable with scientists invited by the Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Biology and Royal Society of Chemistry
The IoP, RSB and RSC organised a roundtable meeting with members of our three professional bodies and civil servants from DSIT on the Pioneer prospectus, to provide input from scientists working in physics, chemistry and biology. DSIT informed attendees about the proposals and attendees provided direct feedback to the Government on their development.
Both events, alongside input from our wider membership, will inform our feedback to DSIT on their Pioneer proposals in the weeks ahead.