However, the petition needs to exceed 100,000 signatures by January 12, 2017 to ensure that it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons. The petition states that UK access to EU R&D programs stimulates billions of pounds of investment. "Ending our access to these programs will weaken our economy which depends on exploitation of innovative science and technology," the petition states.
The document asks for Brexit negotiators to seek associate country status as part of the deal to preserve much of the value of the collaborations. The argument is made that while the UK could replace the funding lost from the European Union that would not replace the benefit of collaboration with researchers across the EU.
For the electronics sector access to, and participation in, the Horizon 2020 program is particularly significant. Horizon 2020 is the EU research and innovation program with a budget of €80 billion (about $90 billion) over the seven years from 2014 to 2020.
At the point the petition passed 20,000 votes the government was required to respond in writing. The response includes the statement. "Excellent science depends on excellent collaboration and the strongest position for UK science and research that benefits us all, is to be collaborative, outcome-focused and global in our approach."
The response in full can be found on the petitions' website.
The petition was reportedly created by David Robinson, a metrology specialist who is the managing director of Psi-tran Ltd. (Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey).
The petition was said to have attracted more than 15,000 signatures in the ten days after it was launched but progress in gathering support has slowed over August and September.
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