A House of Lords committee claims that UK scientists have been deprived of Horizon Europe's 80 billion euro research program Horizon Europe due to ongoing disputes over the Northern Ireland Brexit Protocol.
The ongoing dispute is preventing scientists from participating in the science research program, stated Sir Bill Cash, chair of the European scrutiny committee.
UK scientists who had previously headed European research consortiums fought hard for a seat in Horizon Europe. Last autumn, they came within inches of being left out in a dispute about the funding mechanism that would allow them to continue to participate in the 80bn program.
Now it is clear that although a deal was made to include them in the larger trade and cooperation agreement in December, an associate membership of Horizon Europe still has not been ratified.
Even though there was agreement to participate, it has been the best year yet and British research institutions are still locked out of funding and key projects. Each day, the opportunities are lost and British institutions are left in the dust while science continues without them and the returns for our financial contributions edge lower.
This urgent need to be addressed, so we called on the government for details about the steps it is taking in order to formalize UK participation.
According to the report of the Brexit Divorce Bill Committee, the UK is being effectively penalized because of the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Norway and other countries from outside the EU were granted formal association status in September. However, the commission hinted that UK is ratification may be delayed until the wider protocol dispute has been resolved.
The committee stated that it appears that delays by the EU side are more than procedural and also related to ongoing political disputes between the EU government and the government regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Although the European Commission insists that the UK is being treated as a full member of Horizon, the UK is effectively being excluded because funding for UK participants cannot be signed until the association is in force.