The UK has promised to cover the cost of scientific and other projects that are currently supported by European Union funding, the Associated Press reports. Treasury minister Philip Hammond says the government will fund the projects through 2020, even if the UK leaves the EU before then.
"We recognize that many organizations across the UK which are in receipt of EU funding, or expect to start receiving funding, want reassurance about the flow of funding they will receive," he says, according to the Guardian.
The Guardian adds that researchers in the UK receive some £1 billion a year from the EU. And after the UK voted in June to leave the European Union, scientists in Britain have been concerned about what a 'Brexit' would mean for their research funding and this is move is meant to allay some of those concerns, the AP notes.
The Royal Society has applauded the announcement, as Venki Ramakrishnan, its president, says the society has heard anecdotal stories of EU researchers who are unwilling to work with UK researchers because of the uncertainty as to whether they will be able to collaborate through the end of the grant, the AP notes.
This announcement offers "much-needed stability for British universities during the transition period as the UK exits the EU, and provide an important signal to European researchers that they can continue to collaborate with their UK colleagues as they have before," Alistair Jarvis from Universities UK tells the Guardian.