Following Brexit disputes over Northern Ireland, the EU blocked the UK from taking part in Horizon Europe, an £80bn research program that gives scientists access to grants of the EU and to collaborate with European researchers. After leaving the EU, Britain had successfully negotiated its entry into the scheme, offering to contribute £15 billion to the program over a seven-year period.
However, disputes over Northern Ireland have resulted in British scientists being held hostage, issuing an ultimatum to the 143 researchers who have been promised start-up, consolidation and advanced grants under the 2021 work program d ‘Europe horizon.
The European Research Council (ERC), which is the bloc’s main research funding agency, has told UK-based applicants that those promised grants must move to the EU, or to a country associated with Horizon, within two months, otherwise be replaced by other candidates.
Experts have warned that such a massive exodus of British scientists to the EU would hurt the UK and dash its ambitions to become a ‘scientific superpower’.
Now new data shows that at least 20 researchers from UK universities have had their grants terminated for refusing to move to the EU.
However, an ERC spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “There are 143 UK-based applicants affected in total for the Seed, Consolidation and Advanced grant calls.
“Seven grant preparations were interrupted.
“13 layoffs are in progress (announced but not yet processed).”
Since issuing the ultimatum, the bloc has decided to extend its deadline until June 29.
Earlier, a spokesperson told Express.co.uk that if UK scientists do not move to the EU, “the grants are not terminated per se.
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