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Post-Brexit Research Plan

Researchers "are less than impressed" with the UK government's new plan for continuing scientific collaborations with the European Union post-Brexit, Nature News reports.

In a position paper released earlier this week, the Department for Exiting the European Union says the UK would seek to continue to work with EU partners on science and technological initiatives. In particular, it says the UK wants to remain part of the Horizon 2020 research program, as well as space and defense programs.

ScienceInsider notes that the UK could take part in Horizon 2020 as a non-EU member state, as 16 associated countries, including Norway, pay to be part of the grant program and research network. Nature News estimates the UK might have to pay between £1.8 billion and £2 billion — the figures are based on a ratio of the UK's GDP to that of the EU — to take part. It also reports, though, that the UK government says it would have to consider continuing to take part in the program alongside other spending priorities.

The details, though, on how the UK might pursue such research agreements are scant, Nature News says.

"The aspiration of achieving an ambitious science agreement between Britain and the EU is absolutely correct," John Womersley, director-general of the European Spallation Source, says in a statement. "But the paper is so lacking implementation details that it will probably disappoint most of the science community rather than reassure them."