Imperial College London is partnering with France's National Centre for Scientific Research in a move that the Financial Times says aims to bolster its scientific ties with Europe following Brexit.
The UK and the European Union have yet to reach a formal agreement regarding whether UK scientists can participate in the EU Horizon Europe research program as an associate member. A tentative agreement had been reached in December 2020 that would allow UK researchers access to EU research funds if the UK paid into the program, but this past December, BBC News noted that the agreement had yet to be formalized and that a disagreement over Northern Ireland was a sticking point.
Imperial and CNRS are forming an International Research Centre for Transformational Science and Technology that will use data science and math approaches to address research questions in medicine, climate science, material science, and more, according to FT.
It adds that the CNRS executive, Antoine Petit, is an advocate for both the UK and Switzerland — the center is pursuing a similar partnership with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne — to continue to participate in EU scientific endeavors. "We seek an exception for science," he tells FT. "We need to show politicians that scientific collaborations between our countries are important to all of us. Everyone will miss out if collaborations decline."