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British government Brexit contradictions exposed – Archibald

22 May, 2018 - by Caoimhe Archibald

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said the contradiction of Brexit is being clearly exposed as Theresa May said the British government would pay to have 'full association' with European Research programmes.

The Party's Further and Higher Education Spokesperson said:

"For over two years universities and other research organisations have been highlighting the disastrous impact of Brexit on their research activities.

"Of course it is not just the potential loss of funding which would have a negative impact but there is also the vitally important role of collaborations in driving forward innovation and research.

"So while there may be comfort for institutions in the news that Theresa May intends to pay into the research programmes, for some it has already come too late.  Institutions have been reporting since the referendum result that Brexit has had a chilling effect on their inclusion in EU projects.

"Institutions have also highlighted that researchers are evaluating if they may have greater career stability and opportunities in other EU states.

"In the past few weeks the European Commission has put forward its budget proposals for the next financial period which included a 30 percent increase in its research budget and a doubling of the Erasmus+ budget for the forthcoming budget period. Horizon Europe, the successor to Horizon 2020 would therefore have a budget of €100 billion.

“However, the very fact that the British government has had to concede to continuing to pay into the programme highlights the utter absurdity of Brexit itself.

"At a time when we are seeking to develop the knowledge-based economy and invest in research and innovation, the British government has been pursuing an inward-looking Brexit agenda.

"Institutions here in the north will encounter direct competition from institutions in the south which will be within the EU, therefore the best way to ensure their continued success is with access to all EU programmes secured through designated special status for the north."

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