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Epilepsy Research UK supports the R&D sector’s joint call for rapid progress on UK association to EU research programmes

Following the agreement in principle this week reached by the UK and EU regarding the Windsor Framework for Northern Ireland, the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) has come together with other representatives of the research, innovation and business communities to co-sign a statement urging the government to prioritise formalising full UK association to EU research programmes. These programmes such as Horizon Europe, help ensure maximum benefit for patients and the public and provide stability to the research system.

Maxine Smeaton, Epilepsy Research UK’s Chief Executive said:

“As members of the AMRC, and as the only UK charity exclusively dedicated to funding epilepsy research, we fully support this call to government. Chronic underinvestment in research into epilepsy has meant effective treatments for everyone living with the condition are still decades away. Despite being one of the most common, serious neurological conditions, just 0.3% of the £4.8bn spent on health-related research in 2018 was invested in epilepsy. Securing the UK’s place in these vital EU programmes would be an important step forward in delivering the level of research funding needed for epilepsy in the UK.”

Catriona Manville, Director of Research Policy at the Association of Medical Research Charities, said:

“The announcement of the Windsor framework opens the door to full UK membership of EU programmes, which would end two years of uncertainty for the UK research sector. These programmes are vital in breaking down barriers to international collaborations that are crucial for researchers to deliver maximum benefits to patients and society.

“We look forward to working with medical research charities and the Government to secure the UK’s place in these vital EU programmes and deliver a stable and sustainable research environment.”

 

Joint statement: R&D Sector urges rapid progress on UK association to EU programmes

As representatives of the UK, Irish and wider European research, innovation and business communities, we were heartened to hear the EU Commission President’s emphatic support for UK association to Horizon Europe. Both sides must now put renewed efforts into constructive dialogue to get association swiftly over the line, finally ending the damaging impasse that has lasted over two years.

Securing the UK’s place in EU programmes is crucial for shoring up the future of world-leading research, sustainable growth and high-level skills. Failure to do so now will be a second-best outcome for both the UK and the EU, undermining our collective efforts to tackle the big challenges of our time.

We are unequivocal that full UK membership of EU programmes, including Horizon Europe, Copernicus and Euratom, remains the best outcome for research and innovation. This has been the UK’s clearly stated position for a long time, and it is critical that the Government does not lose sight of the prize now that it is in reach. Now this important milestone has been reached, the EU must engage fully in technical discussions to ensure association can happen as soon as possible.

Delays to association have been mitigated in the short-term by the UKRI Horizon Europe Guarantee, and UK-based researchers continue to be successful at winning EU funding. The Guarantee and other measures have kept the window for association open while talks continue.

As we look to the future, the UK, the EU and communities worldwide face the same big challenges, from climate change, cancer and mental illness. By securing ongoing research collaboration through Horizon Europe, the UK Government and the European Commission will stack the odds in our collective favour for meeting these challenges. We urge that political will and commitment endures and look forward to seeing UK association become a reality.”

 

Signatories

Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)

British Heart Foundation (BHF)

British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC)

Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE)

Cancer Research UK (CRUK)

Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

Institute of Physics (IOP)

League of European Research Universities (LERU)

LifeArc

Royal Society of Biology (RSB)

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Russell Group

UK Dementia Research Institute (UKDRI)

University Alliance

Universities UK International (UUKi)

Wellcome

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