Strong support for ‘Stick to Science’

We strongly support the initiative calling for quick agreement on full UK & Swiss association with European research and innovation programmes and call upon all three governments to quickly conclude these negotiations separate from wider political debates.
8th February 2022
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Our association has endorsed the ‘Stick to Science’ initiative which calls on the EU institutions and the British and Swiss governments to place science collaboration before politics by finalising UK and Swiss inclusion in the world-leading ‘Horizon Europe’ research and innovation programme.

The initiative highlights that UK’s final association to the €95.5bn programme has stalled due to post-Brexit trade talks, whilst Switzerland also remains locked out of parts of the programme, pending government talks.

UK and Swiss association to Horizon Europe is estimated to result in an additional €18bn, an uplift of 18% on current funds. Meanwhile, the exclusion of these longstanding and academically-important partners in the European research and innovation landscape is limiting collaboration and opportunity for Europe’s best minds.

Our endorsement of the initiative adds to existing strong representations to the European institutions, including a joint letter alongside 23 other research and innovation bodies to European Commission President Von der Leyen issued in November 2021.

Commenting on the initiative launch, our Deputy Secretary General Mattias Björnmalm said:

“We are strongly committed to supporting the UK and Switzerland’s participation in Horizon Europe. Therefore, I am pleased that our association has endorsed this important initiative.

“Collaboration in research and innovation is in all of our interests, and that vital work to help tackle challenges and further progress must no longer be held up by politics.”

“It is necessary - and in the interests of all sides - that the UK, Swiss, and EU leaders quickly conclude these association agreements. These agreements must ‘stick to science’ and be separate from wider political talks so that vital research and innovation collaborations are not jeopardised.”

Initiative statement:

The Stick to Science initiative has been set up by the European research community calling for open and barrier-free collaboration among Europe’s research and innovation (R&I) actors, who all share the same values. The initiative is an active response to the delayed progression of association agreements with Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK), which are being held up by political barriers that have nothing to do with science.

The signatories request that the European Council, Parliament, Commission, as well as European Union (EU) Member States, and the governments of the UK and Switzerland, recognise that advancement in R&I is best achieved when all actors in science and innovation work together across geographic boundaries. This has never been more important than now, as the world faces serious global challenges (e.g., mitigating pandemics, climate change, and addressing food security). Allowing political differences to prevent scientific collaboration is contrary to the interests of society at large.

The signatories urge the EU, the UK and Switzerland to rapidly reach association agreements so that the two countries can contribute scientifically and financially to the strength of Horizon Europe and to a truly open, inclusive and excellence-driven European Research Area.

For more information, contact our Communication & Outreach Officer, Gary Paterson

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