Celebrating European research

19 July 2019

Speaking at an event to celebrate the success of UK-based researchers in securing grants from the European Research Council (ERC), Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation offered his congratulations to the winners, who he hopes will “inspire the next generation”.

On the future of the UK relationship with EU science, he said: “We need to do everything we can to associate as closely as possible to Horizon Europe” and reiterated his personal belief that “it’s absolutely vital that we continue our collaboration with our European partners”.

The event was attended by researchers from universities and research institutes across the UK who had been awarded ERC grants in 2018. They were reassured that, deal or no deal, their ERC grants would be secure, and the Government would underwrite grants if the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of October.

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(Right to left: Dr Tim Bradshaw, Russell Group Chief Executive, Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, and Professor Dame Janet Thornton, Vice-President of the ERC.)

Professor Dame Janet Thornton, Vice-President of the ERC, added her congratulations wished all the grantees luck for finding breakthroughs in their research. She said: “The collaborations we have formed over the last 50 years really are the bedrock of science in the UK”.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, paid tribute to researchers who are tackling some of the world’s biggest problems, including climate change, disease and the data revolution.

He said: “Solving these issues begins with the individuals who push the boundaries of knowledge to make our world a safer, healthier, more resilient and sustainable place.

“We have a diverse mix of ambitious and creative researchers and their success in getting ERC grants – which sets the highest of standards – demonstrates their excellence in curiosity-driven research.”

Dr Bradshaw added: “We are pleased to hear the Minister say that the Government wants researchers from outside the UK to come to the UK to work and will underwrite grants from the ERC in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“However, the next Prime Minister must ensure that the UK has the best possible relationship with the EU on science and research. That includes full association to the Horizon Europe programme so that we can continue to take part in the ERC and compete on the world stage. Any Conservative leader can support this – no matter what their position on the Deal question”

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