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The British Academy outlines the benefits of EU research collaboration and how the UK Government can associate to EU research programmes post-Brexit

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If the UK wants to continue to benefit from, and shape, valuable EU research and development programmes post-Brexit, the Government must act as soon as possible to prepare the grounds for an Association Agreement, says the British Academy in two new briefings published today.

As an EU Member State, the UK has benefitted significantly from EU Framework Programmes such as Horizon 2020 and European research collaboration more broadly through access to infrastructure and expertise, mobility, engagement and exchange, influence over the development of policy, and increased visibility and career support for researchers.

But, as the Academy’s briefings highlight, to continue these benefits the UK needs to prepare the ground for association to EU Framework programmes and continued European research collaboration.  

In Association with European Union Framework Programmes for Research & Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities, the Academy looks at how non-EU countries, like Norway and Switzerland, take part in EU Framework Programmes, and identifies measures that the UK will need to take in order to associate to future programmes post-Brexit.

These measures include:

  • Committing in the near future to making financial contributions to research programmes
  • Ensuring the mobility of researchers
  • Finding new means to engage with and influence the development of EU Framework Programmes
  • Starting discussions with the EU as soon as possible on the potential terms of an Association Agreement.

Europe on the Horizon: Examining the Value of European Research Collaboration explores the role the EU has played in strengthening the UK’s world-leading research and development sector and includes case studies of researchers in the humanities and social sciences who have benefitted directly from European research collaboration.

Professor Ash Amin, the British Academy’s Foreign Secretary, said:

‘The UK’s research and development sector has benefitted significantly from membership of the EU and access to EU Framework Programmes like Horizon 2020. These Programmes provide more than just funding opportunities. They allow access to expertise and the latest data sources, facilitate networking and collaboration, and boost visibility for talented young researchers. Put simply, they play an invaluable role in the careers and development of thousands of researchers and universities.

‘If the UK wants to continue to participate in and shape future EU Framework Programmes, we urge the Government to act now to prepare the grounds for an Association Agreement post-Brexit. Only then will we be able to preserve the many and varied benefits of European research collaboration.’

Case studies

Professor Rob Klassen – Department of Education, University of York

Professor Rob Klassen is chair of the Psychology in Education Research Centre and Director of Research for the Department of Education at the University of York. He is currently working on a European Research Council-funded project to improve how teachers are selected for roles, involving collaborators in the UK, Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

Professor Klassen said: “Without European research collaboration, we would not have been able to develop these tools, for which there is growing evidence of reliability and predictive validity. The results from our European Research Council (ERC) project have shown it is possible, with a strong research team and network, to develop an innovative and successful method to improve the success rate of hiring high quality teachers. The ERC collaboration has allowed us to work across four European countries to develop our tools, and to transform the way in which we identify the most promising candidates for the classroom.”

Dr Stella Bolaki – School of English, University of Kent

Dr Stella Bolaki received a British Academy Small Research Grant in 2011 to document African American writer and feminist Audre Lorde’s transatlantic exchanges with black diasporic women in Europe, a previously unexplored topic. As Internationalisation Director at the School of English, University of Kent, Dr Bolaki says she has “never questioned the benefits and impact of EU collaboration.”

She said: “I could not have undertaken my British Academy project without collaborating with EU scholars and activists. This is what helped me piece together the legacies of an African American writer like Audre Lorde and highlight the European and transnational dimensions of black women's intellectual culture. 

“My project led to a co-edited volume, Audre Lorde's Transnational Legacies, with a series of personal reflections and essays by a European and international group of authors​. Many of the chapters focus on European contexts such as the reception and circulation of Lorde's work in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Greece. It is the range of perspectives in the book and the different styles of contribution and collaborative documentation that enrich this research.”

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