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International foundations are not a Brexit backstop

UK researchers hoping to boost their success rates at international charitable foundations to replace lost European Union funding could be sorely disappointed. Eleni Courea talks to the foundations and Gretchen Ransow analyses the awards data.

It’s no wonder that most scientists campaigned against Brexit. The UK is the second biggest beneficiary of the EU’s Framework programme for research and innovation after Germany. Under Horizon 2020, UK scientists have taken home 16.4 per cent of the €80-billion (£6.8bn) pot since 2012.

There’s no word, however, from the British government about whether it intends to secure access to those funds in the future. Non-EU countries including Norway, Israel and Switzerland take part in Horizon 2020 via association agreements. But unless the UK makes a convincing case for a similar arrangement, there is a real possibility that it will lose access to the EU’s R&D coffers after 2019.

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