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Life Sciences

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 109724, tabled on 30 October 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department are taking to ensure that the UK life sciences sector continues to have access to (a) research funding and (b) collaborative working opportunities with European partners after 31 December 2020.

Answered on

9 November 2020

The Government values the strong collaborative partnerships that we have across Europe and the globe in the areas of science, research and innovation and wants to continue to support these opportunities. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the March Budget that Government investment in R&D will increase to £22bn by 2024/25, the biggest-ever absolute increase.

The UK is open to participation in Horizon Europe if we can agree a fair and balanced deal. We will make a final decision once it is clear whether such terms can be reached.

If we do not formally associate to Horizon Europe or Euratom R&T, we will implement ambitious alternatives as quickly as possible from January 2021 and address the funding gap. Alternatives to Horizon Europe will address discovery, or ‘curiosity-led’ research, global collaboration and innovation. Under all scenarios it is our aim that UK organisations and entities continue to participate in Horizon Europe collaborative projects open to third countries, as well as in wider international collaborations. This applies across all eligible R&D including life sciences. Funding for EU programmes or for alternatives would be subject to allocations at the Spending Review.