The UK has signed an agreement with Sweden to strengthen the scientific ties between the countries, the Financial Times reports.
It adds that the memorandum of understanding aims to align the life science strategies of the UK and Sweden, including for early diagnostics, genomics, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. In particular, the new MOU calls for the two to work together on policy development, technical standards, and the development and implementation of new technologies and treatments, and more, according to a press release.
This, FT notes, is the first bilateral agreement the UK has made with a member of the European Union since it left the EU. The UK has sought to join Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship research program, as an associate member, but that has not been finalized due to a dispute between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland protocol.
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, who was present at the MOU signing, tells FT that in the wake of Brexit, the UK will have to sign multiple agreements like this, which he calls "difficult" but adds that "we need each other in science."
George Freeman, the UK science minister, tells FT that other agreements are in place between the UK and Israel and Switzerland and ones with Japan and South Korea may be forthcoming.