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Government vows to secure EU research funding

The Government has told researchers to continue to bid for the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding, as the UK exits the union.

In its Brexit white paper, published 2 February, the Government pledged to ensure payment of funds when they are awarded even when projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

It said: “The Government will work with the European Commission to ensure payment when funds are awarded and HM Treasury will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.

“This has given UK participants and their EU partners the certainty needed to plan ahead for projects that can run over many years.”

This echoes a sentiment from the Commission last month at the launch of Hycolene, a product from plastics recycler Luxus, one of the fund’s recipients.

Hycolene, which can be used for vehicle interiors, was the result of a three-year €1.4m (£1.2m) research project, co-funded by Horizon 2020.

At the launch, Didier Gambier, head of the Commission’s executive agency for small and medium-sized enterprises department, said UK applicants will still be considered until Brexit is completed.

Elsewhere in the white paper, the Government pledges to transfer “the current framework of environmental regulation into UK and devolved law”.

It says: “The UK’s climate action will continue to be underpinned by our climate targets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 and through our system of five-yearly carbon budgets, which in turn support our international work to drive climate ambition.

“We want to take this opportunity to develop over time a comprehensive approach to improving our environment in a way that is fit for our specific needs.”

Another project supported by the Horizon 2020 fund is ProSUM, the first attempt to set up a centralised database on arisings, stocks, flows and treatment of WEEE, end-of-life vehicles, batteries and mining wastes.

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