On Christmas Eve, the European academic community received both a good and a bad ‘gift’: as the EU and the UK finalised negotiations for their future trade relationship it was agreed that the UK will participate in the EU’s research programme, Horizon Europe, but that, unfortunately, it will no longer take part in the future Erasmus programme, which will be replaced by a new UK mobility scheme called ‘Turing’.
While YERUN strongly welcomes the opportunity that both the EU and the UK will continue cooperating in the framework of Horizon Europe, it also deeply regrets that the same will not happen for the Erasmus mobility scheme. Having youth at the heart of its own identity, YERUN strongly believes in the role of students and youth in shaping the European identity and building an ambitious European Knowledge Area. Equally crucial in forging a common understanding and building bridges among higher education institutions across Europe have been the staff Erasmus exchanges to and from the UK. Therefore, not having the UK participating in Erasmus inevitably equals a loss on both sides in this regard.
Concerning the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe, the detailed terms of the association have yet to be negotiated. While YERUN is very pleased to see that research cooperation is set to continue, allowing UK researchers to participate in Horizon Europe, it also calls on both the EU and the UK to ensure a timely start of the UK participation in the EU R&I framework programme. This is subject to the ratification of the overall deal and adoption of the Protocols by the Specialised Committee on Participation in Union Programmes. Should the adoption of the Protocols take longer than expected, a preliminary eligibility should be ensured to UK entities applying for funding, so that they can participate in Horizon Europe projects from the beginning.
“Having two universities from the UK among our members, namely Brunel University London and the University of Essex, our goal is to continue cooperating in an undisrupted way and make our partnership even stronger under these new post-Brexit conditions” says YERUN Secretary General, Silvia Gomez.
Professor Trevor Hoey, Vice-Provost International and Academic Partnerships ay Brunel University London, declares:
“Brunel remains committed to collaborations and exchanges with our YERUN partners and across the EU more widely. The UK’s involvement as an associated country in Horizon Europe is very welcome and provides a firm basis for continuation of existing, and the development of new, research partnerships. Student and staff mobility through Erasmus has been of immense benefit to the UK, and the non-continuation of this involvement is a major disappointment. We will use the UK’s new Turing scheme to ensure that opportunities remain for our students in Europe, and we will continue to welcome YERUN staff and students to visit, study and work with us at Brunel.”
Dr. Nadine Rossol, Deputy Dean of Partnerships (Europe) at University of Essex, states:
“Essex researchers are looking forward to many more fruitful research collaborations with YERUN partners thanks to the UK’s continuing participation in the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, which is worth €95.5 billion over the next seven years. We would welcome the formal adoption of the full text of the agreement as soon as possible as top-tier associated status to Horizon Europe will give our researchers full access to participate, lead and receive funding from Horizon Europe. We regret the negotiations failed to confirm a mutually agreeable role for the UK within the Erasmus programme as Essex students gained so much from the many life changing opportunities and immeasurable benefits offered by immersion in European culture. As one of the most international universities in the world we welcome the news that the UK’s new Turing Scheme will continue to provide opportunities for our students to experience an international exchange, including with our European partners.”
Brunel University London and the University of Essex are two incredibly valuable members of the YERUN network, and YERUN is looking to work even closer with them in the post-Brexit era.