UK closes EU science gap with £484m research funding

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(Bloomberg) — The UK announced £484 million ($571 million) in research funding to fill a gap left by the European Union’s post-Brexit refusal to allow the country access to international science programs.

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The money will be spent on UK universities and research organizations to enable them to hire and retain staff and invest in research equipment, Chancellor of the Exchequer Grant Shapps said in a statement Monday. About £126 million of the money is for nuclear fusion projects, including the Joint European Torus.

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Shapps’ business division said the extra funding for research and development is in direct response to the EU blocking Britain from participating in science programmes, including Horizon Europe, despite agreeing entry terms as part of the Brexit deal between the two.

UK seeks scientific cooperation further afield after EU freeze

“The UK cannot wait indefinitely for the EU to deliver on its commitments, which is why this funding is so important to boost research and innovation across our country,” said Shapps. “The government is disappointed that the EU continues to link UK association to wider issues, and the UK remains open to association.”

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The freeze on UK involvement in the £80bn Horizon program was collateral damage from fraught relations between the EU and the UK over Northern Ireland’s trade arrangements. The UK launched formal litigation against the EU, accusing it of violating the Brexit trade deal by blocking its entry.

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