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For the Horizon

Researchers in the UK press for a formal agreement to enable scientists there to take part in the European Union's Horizon Europe research program, BBC News reports.

It notes that a tentative agreement to allow the UK to take part in the program as an associate member — much as Norway and Israel do — was reached in late 2020. But a formal agreement has yet to be reached, and the BBC says that a disagreement between the UK and the EU over Northern Ireland may lead the UK to walk away.

That, Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, tells it, would be a mistake. "The delays are frustrating, but the UK needs to stay in the game, and resist the urge to shut the door on Horizon," he says at the BBC. "It's the best option for supporting science and R&D in the UK."

According to the BBC, George Freeman, the science minister, recently said that while he would prefer the UK to be part of the Horizon Europe, the UK might instead establish its own research program based on a 2019 plan developed by Adrian Smith, now the president of the Royal Society. Smith tells the BBC that UK scientists would rather join Horizon Europe than a fledgling UK research program.