UK Plugs EU Science Gap With £484 Million Research Funding

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

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The money will be directed at British universities and research organizations to enable them to employ and retain staff and invest in research equipment, Business Secretary Grant Shapps said on Monday in a statement. Some £126 million of the cash is for nuclear fusion projects including the Joint European Torus.

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

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“The UK cannot wait indefinitely for the EU to meet its commitments which is why this funding is so important to boost research and innovation across the breadth of our country,” Shapps said. “The government is disappointed that the EU is still linking UK association with wider issues, and the UK remains open to association.”

The freeze in British involvement in the £80 billion Horizon program was collateral damage from fraught relations between the EU and UK over Northern Ireland’s trading arrangements. The UK launched a formal dispute proceeding against the EU, accusing it of breaking the Brexit trade deal by blocking its access.

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