This petition was submitted during the 2015-2017 Conservative government

Petition We require any BRexit deal preserves UK access to EU collaborative R&D programs.

UK access to EU R&D programmes stimulates £billions of investment and gives the UK access to skills and technologies that it does not have. Ending our access to these programmes will weaken our economy which depends on exploitation of innovative science and technology.

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The BRexit negotiators could request associate country status as part of the deal, preserving much of the value of the collaborations. Of course, the UK could replace the funding lost from the EU, but it cannot replace the research collaboration with like minded researchers across the EU. They would have no incentive to collaborate with UK researchers without financial incentives. The UK would thus lose influence and damage an economy dependent on ideas generation and exploitation.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 9 September 2016

The Government recognises the value of global collaboration for innovative science and technology as it seeks to secure the best deal possible to maintain the UK’s world leading status in this area.

Read the response in full

The UK’s economy is fundamentally strong and the UK’s science, research and innovation are world leading. The UK punches well above its weight, with the most productive science base in the G7.

There will then be a negotiation process to redefine the terms of the UK relationship with Europe, and the period between invoking Article 50 and our eventual exit from the European Union (EU) is expected to last at least two years. The UK’s decision to leave the EU has no immediate effect on those applying to or participating in EU-funded research programmes as the UK is still an EU member state and UK organisations can continue to participate under the same terms and conditions as they currently do.

Excellent science depends on excellent collaboration and the strongest position for UK science and research that benefits us all, is to be collaborative, outcome-focused and global in our approach.

The Government continues to value scientists, researchers and students, including those from outside the UK who come to learn and work in our country and recognises the benefits that the rich diversity of our research and scientific communities brings to our society and our economy. The UK continues to be one of the best places in the world to do science and the Government will work to ensure that our excellent education and research remains a magnet for brilliant minds.

The Treasury announced on 13 August that it will underwrite the payment of bids for competitive EU funds (including Horizon 2020), even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

The UK will continue to play a leading role in major non-EU research collaborations that take place here – from CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland to the European Space Agency. Just this month the UK’s application to become a full member of a major new particle accelerator, the European Spallation Source in Sweden, has been confirmed.

The Science and Research Budget has been protected in real terms, with Resource funding growing from £4.7bn in 2016/17 to £5.1bn in 2019/20, including a new £1.5bn Government investment over the period 2016/17 – 2020/21 in a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Investment in the Newton Fund has been doubled to £150 million per year by 2021, meaning a total UK investment of £735 million from 2014 to 2021. This is match-funded by developing countries the Government has identified as having the potential to become future science and innovation leaders and can benefit most from collaboration.

The Government’s Science and Innovation Network, through which 90 staff based in 31 countries around the world support work on global challenges such as antimicrobial resistance and climate change, exemplifies our global approach.

The importance of our innovative high growth businesses to the UK economy is clear. That is why UK Research and Innovation is being set up to combine Research Councils, Innovate UK and the administration of the dual support mechanism for England. This independent body will reform the future landscape for the funding of science and innovation in the UK, further facilitating national and international collaborations.

The UK is, and will continue to be, a hub of global activity and the his government, now more than ever, will play its part in ensuring that the UK continues to be a place for great minds to come together from Europe and from all over the world to build knowledge, understanding and better solutions to our shared global challenges.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

MPs call on the Government to reduce Brexit uncertainty for science sector

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published a report calling on the Government to reduce Brexit uncertainty for the science sector. The Committee is calling on the Government to act quickly and set out a vision for science.

The Committee wants to see the Government commit in the Autumn Statement (a statement in which the Chancellor announces plans for government spending) to raise science expenditure as a percentage of GDP. The Chancellor will make his Autumn Statement on Wednesday 23 November.

The Chair of the Committee, Stephen Metcalfe MP,  said:

"The forthcoming Autumn Statement is a chance for the Government to demonstrate its commitment to making science and research a linchpin of our economy after Brexit and to place it at the heart of an emerging Industrial Strategy. As a Science nation we know we already punch well above our weight, but when it comes to research and development funding we are falling behind other developed nations. If we want to make the most of the economic opportunities that Brexit could bring, we must increase our science funding in line with key competitors like Germany and the US."

Paragraph 27 of the report mentions the petition you signed.

You can find out more about what the Committee said and read the full report on the Committee's website:

What is the Science and Technology Committee? 

The Science and Technology Committee looks at whether Government policy and decision-making are based on good scientific and engineering advice and evidence.

It's a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. 

You can find out more about the Science and Technology Committee on its website:

You can follow the Science and Technology Committee on Twitter: @CommonsSTC

This is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: