The European Union is preventing researchers in the UK from joining the Horizon Europe research program, the Times of London reports. It adds that this stems from the ongoing dispute between the two over the Northern Ireland protocol.
In late 2020, the EU and UK had tentatively agreed that the UK would be able to take part in the €80 billion ($85 billion) Horizon Europe research program as an associate member. But that agreement was not finalized and the Times says the EU has been using this delay to pressure the UK to compromise on Northern Ireland.
João Vale de Almeida, EU ambassador to the UK, says, according to the Financial Times, that UK researchers have become "collateral damage," which he calls "very regrettable." He adds, though, that it would be worse if the UK unilaterally overrode parts of the NI protocol, FT notes.
University leaders in the UK have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to personally intervene, it adds, noting that Russell Group leaders argue in a letter that being part of Horizon Europe is necessary for the UK to be "a science superpower," one of Johnson's goals.