If the UK doesn't negotiate access to the Horizon Europe funding scheme, Paul Nurse, the director of the Francis Crick Institute, tells the Guardian that UK research will suffer.
Horizon Europe is a €100 billion ($112 billion) successor program to Horizon 2020 and is to focus on cancer, climate change, food quality, and more, it adds. The UK has been a net recipient of European Union research funds — the Guardian notes that it has paid £1 billion into the Horizon 2020 program and has received £1.5 billion in research grants. But as the UK leaves the EU, the access of non-EU member states to access the new Horizon Europe program is still being worked out.
"There are three major power blocs in science in the world: Europe, the US, and China. The UK has a lead role in Europe and will lose that world leadership in science unless we remain part of the European system," Nurse tells the Guardian. "If scientists in the UK couldn't go for European grants, UK science would undoubtedly suffer."
The Guardian adds that the UK is exploring setting up alternative research funding programs, but that researchers, including ones at the Crick, are skeptical that a well-regarded scheme could be put into place quickly enough.