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IOP responds to government’s Horizon Europe fallback

6 April 2023

Priority must be association to Horizon Europe but it is vital science community has chance to shape alternative should it be needed.

Commenting on the government’s plans for the Pioneer programme, its alternative to Horizon Europe, Tony McBride, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Institute of Physics (IOP), said: “The position of the IOP and wider science community is clear: for the good of UK science and innovation, the government’s priority must be to secure association to Horizon.

“We understand the need for a fallback position and are reassured by the fact that the government says these plans will only be used if negotiations are unsuccessful and that the UK funding guarantee will remain in place while negotiations continue.

“If these plans do end up being needed, it is absolutely vital that they win the support and confidence of the science community – which means the science community must have the chance to shape them. So we are pleased to see the government’s strong commitment to consult with researchers and businesses and we stand ready to help convene these discussions.

“The government must also remember there is more at stake here than money. Should it be needed, any alternative to Horizon must also make up for the loss of the established networks, partnerships and infrastructure the UK has benefitted from over many, many years, as well as for the disruption and uncertainty caused by these years of delay.

“Above all, the physics community is clear that the UK needs a strong, comprehensive vision for R&D and a stable policy environment that will build confidence among the research community and potential investors. Association to Horizon is the best way to achieve this.”