Following the announcement of a Brexit deal, Professor Dame Anne Johnson PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences said:
“The new UK-EU treaty paves the way for our research communities to continue to work closely together, especially through association to the EU’s flagship research programme Horizon Europe. Science is global and this first step towards continued cooperation is positive news for patients and the public in the UK, Europe and beyond.
“We must now clarify these arrangements as quickly as possible, to give UK and global researchers, project leaders and investors the certainty they need to keep backing the UK as their destination for world-class research.
“This means finalising UK association to Horizon Europe quickly and in a way that complements Government’s long-term ambitions for UK science. The UK invests a lower percentage of GDP in research and development (R&D) than most of our global competitors, so we must not use money already committed to R&D to fund our association to Horizon Europe. If we do, we’ll be shifting investment in UK R&D down a gear, making our long-term goals harder to meet.
“Over the past year the value of scientific research has never been clearer – from understanding, monitoring and preventing COVID-19 spread to developing rapid diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines. This extraordinary acceleration in research could not have happened without previous decisions to invest in R&D strategically over the long-term. We must learn from that lesson and ensure we continue to invest tactically in R&D as a key pillar in our recovery from COVID-19, as well as in our response to future threats.
“The UK is a powerhouse of scientific progress, a position which would be impossible without collaboration across sectors and, crucially, across borders. I welcome plans for continued UK-EU cooperation in the area of health security, including on scientific and technical matters between the UK and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). I hope the negotiations in coming months will cement a close partnership across many other crucial aspects of biomedical science – from cooperative ground-breaking clinical trials and research into a wide range of dieases including rare diseases, to welcoming skilled researchers and technicians, along with their families, to our laboratories, universities and hospitals.
“We stand ready to work with Government and the rest of the scientific community to put the uncertainty of the last four years behind us, build on existing partnerships and tackle the biggest challenges we face, for the sake of patients and the public in the UK, Europe and around the world.”
Visit our Brexit policy page for more information about the Academy's work with the UK Government, EU counterparts and the wider research community to secure the best possible outcome for biomedical research from Brexit.