UK Government publishes Brexit Policy on Science and Innovation

Today the UK Government published a policy paper which outlines the UK’s objectives for a science and innovation agreement with the EU post Brexit. The full document is available here. Some key points particularly relevant for veterinarians are summarised below:

Movement of people

The UK Government has stated that whilst freedom of movement will cease to apply in the UK after we leave the EU, the UK will continue to welcome “the brightest and the best” and, as such, migration between the UK and the EU will continue.

The UK is seeking to agree a continued system for mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

European Medicines Agency (EMA)

UK Government is fully committed to continuing the close working relationship with the EMA to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured that their safety is protected by the strongest regulatory framework and sharing of data.

The EU has specific agreements in place with USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zeeland and Israel covering inspections, safety of medicines and exchange of information. These provide precedents which the UK and EU could seek to build on.

Horizon 2020

This is the largest EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme to date with nearly 80 billion euros of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020).

The UK is a highly active participant in Horizon 2020 ranking first across the EU in the number of participants with signed contracts (7,360 so far).

UK Government has promised to underwrite bids for Horizon 2020 projects submitted while the UK is still a member of the EU.

Precedents exist for non-EU participation in EU science and innovation programmes. For example, there are currently 16 non-EU countries formally associated with Horizon 2020.

After the UK leaves the EU, terms of association (including financial contributions) will be determined by international agreements with the EU.

The UK Government would also like to explore forging a more ambitious and close partnership with the EU than any yet agreed between the EU and a non-EU country.

Non-EU collaboration

Some of the UK’s most important collaborators lies outside the EU, notably the USA (as the UK’s top research partner), Australia, China, Canada and Japan.

The UK is a member several international European organisation which are not part of the EU. These include the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and EUREKA (an intergovernmental network helping small and medium sized enterprises to collaborate on R&D across borders to bring innovative ideas to market).

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