Nature: COVID-19 shows UK–EU collaborations are irreplaceable

22 September 2020

COVID-19 shows UK–EU collaborations are irreplaceable  | co-authored by Martin Rees

"As economies around the world spiral into recession, the prospect of filling multimillion-pound holes in UK research and development budgets is politically and financially daunting. With the end of the Brexit transition period just over three months away, it is impossible to develop separate UK equivalents to European Union and European Commission science and knowledge-exchange programmes.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp focus the importance of UK involvement in these programmes and the need for international collaborators to have access to UK facilities. Of the first 40 EU-funded COVID‑19 projects (totalling €50 million; US$59 million), UK scientists have been partners in projects worth a total of €18 million, in collaborations spanning more than a dozen countries (see During the two most recently completed iterations of the EU research-funding programme, between 2002 and 2013, the EU was the third-largest funder of UK-led research into infectious diseases (M. G. Head et al. EBioMedicine 3, 180–190; 2016). The European Commission has also committed a €14-billion boost to funding for pandemic recovery in the Horizon Europe and EU4Health budgets..."

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