Call for clarity as scale of EU research support confirmed

Scottish universities have called for clarity over the future of post-Brexit research funding after the latest figures showed the sector continues to punch above its weight in securing EU support.

Scotland’s universities have so far been awarded £392 million through the EU’s competitive Horizon 2020 scheme, an 11% share of all funding secured by UK institutions. The University of Edinburgh receives the sixth-highest level of funding of any institution in the EU.

The UK Government has guaranteed funding until the current scheme expires, but has yet to provide universities with detail of how it will support research after Brexit. Horizon 2020 is only fully open to members of the EU single market.

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A spokesman for Universities Scotland said: “This a reminder that there is a lot at stake and the UK Government needs to provide universities with clarity on our continued access to the remainder of Horizon 2020 and both influence and access to its successor.”

Edinburgh South Ian Murray MP, a supporter of the Open Britain campaign to stay in the single market, said: “Pulling out of Horizon 2020 and its successor programme will put jobs at risk and hammer our universities.

“The UK Government must rule out such a hard and destructive Brexit and negotiate to retain full British participation in the EU’s science and research programmes.”