A new, independent report has recently been published by Professor Sir Adrian Smith and Professor Graeme Reid, which sets out the new opportunities for the UK to extend its international collaborations.

International collaborations are fundamental to the UK maintaining its position as a global science superpower. These partnerships are helping to meaningfully tackle global challenges like climate change, life-threatening diseases, and the world’s ageing society, as well as advancing technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) that could transform whole industries.

The government will also consider associating to Horizon Europe, the EU’s future science, research and innovation programme. This reflects the government’s desire to maintain a close relationship with Europe and globally on science and research funding whatever the circumstances.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:

“The UK is a global science superpower, and this deserved reputation helps deliver real economic and social benefits right across the country.

International collaboration allows the UK to work at a greater scale than we could do alone, with unique partnerships from helping find new cures for life-threatening diseases to developing cleaner transport.

Participating in Horizon programmes opens the door for businesses and research institutions to work with our European partners on the next big breakthroughs. But we should also be looking beyond Europe and seeking new relationships around the world.

The publication of Sir Adrian Smith and Professor Graeme Reid’s report provides independent advice which we will consider carefully. Their work will inform our thinking and help support our continued ambition to be at the cutting-edge of research and innovation.”

The new report by Sir Adrian Smith and Professor Graeme Reid provides a range of principles and ideas, setting out potential opportunities for the UK to extend its international collaborations globally and strengthen current partnerships, including options in the event the UK does not stay fully part of European funding programmes. In any case, the government is firmly committed to protecting, preserving and enhancing cutting-edge international science collaboration.

This includes options for:

  • protecting and enhancing the UK’s science, research and innovation base, including through building R&D capacity across the UK
  • increasing the agility of research funding to react to new and unexpected international opportunities
  • striding towards the government’s commitment to increase research and development (R&D) investment to at least 2.4% of GDP by 2027 including attracting foreign direct investment to the UK
  • developing a Global Talent Strategy to attract and retain a wide range of scientific talent in the UK

The report focuses on what options there could be in the event that the UK does not stay fully part of the European funding system. It makes an important contribution in identifying how the UK could maintain and build on close relationships with our partners in Europe and around the world.