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Billion-Pound Sticking Point

The UK and the European Union have come to an impasse in their negotiation of how the UK might remain involved in the Horizon Europe research program after Brexit, the Guardian reports.

According to the Guardian, the EU has said the UK could remain in the research program if it contributed £15.2 billion ($19.8 billion) to the program's seven-year budget. If the UK were to receive more in grants than it put into the pot, it would then have to make up the difference, the Guardian adds. Under the Horizon 2020 program, the UK received more in grants than it contributed.

But this price tag has raised concerns. Vivienne Stern, the director of Universities UK International, notes that the UK currently received 12.7 percent of funding, but to receive £15.2 billion back, it would have to receive 16 percent of the program funding, suggesting that this could lead to a gap of £3 billion over the course of the program, the Guardian reports. 

It adds that researchers are worried this will lead Prime Minister Boris Johnson to leave the program. In a letter, a number of UK researchers say this would be a mistake, Politico Europe adds. "A decision against UK participation in Horizon Europe would have fundamental and long-term consequences," they write, according to Politico Europe. "It would fracture European research collaboration."