UK to extend financial guarantee for EU research programme applicants

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LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) – Britain said on Monday it would extend until the end of June the financial guarantee it has provided to ensure UK applicants to the Horizon Europe scientific research programme continue to receive funding.

Under a Brexit trade agreement signed at the end of 2020, Britain negotiated access to a range of EU science and innovation programmes including Horizon, the EU’s key funding programme for researchers with an overall budget of 95.5 billion euros.

But the EU had blocked Britain’s participation because of a row over post-Brexit trade rules governing Northern Ireland.

A new agreement to resolve this dispute was reached last month and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said once it is implemented, the EU can work on Britain joining the Horizon Europe research programme again.

The British government said on Monday it would extend until June 30 the financial guarantee it has provided UK Horizon Europe applicants “so that eligible, successful bids for calls closing on or before this date continue to be guaranteed funding, supporting them to continue their important work in research and innovation”.

The announcement came alongside the launch of a government plan to boost Britain’s science and technology sector, including 360 million pounds ($433 million) of funding on infrastructure and skills for growing technologies such as supercomputing and AI.

This includes 50 million pounds of extra funding for labs to help research institutes and universities improve their facilities and equipment, it said.

($1 = 0.8306 pounds)

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