The UK government has announced £484m of funding for a number of research programmes that are struggling with the delay in joining the Horizon Europe programme.
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced £280 million in new funding, while there is also funding for the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion project and support for research in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The UKRI funding boost will see for £150 million investment in UK research and innovation infrastructure as well as a £30 million Talent Research and Stabilisation Fund to help universities and research organisations retain talent and target funding vulnerabilities at a local level. The delays in joining Horizon had led to the UK not being able to lad joint research programmes, with leading researcher leaving UK universities as a result.
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“The uncertainty over ratification of UK association to Horizon Europe is constraining the capacity of the UK’s outstanding universities and research organisations to retain and build the talented research and development workforce which will help the UK’s economy grow and our society to flourish,” said UKRI International Champion Professor Christopher Smith.
“While we await a decision on association, this much-needed and welcome investment will provide rapid, stabilising support to help maintain the UK’s international reputation for research and innovation,” he said.
There will also be £100 million for additional research for universities and research organisations to target other priorities as necessary.
The funding will be distributed by increasing the number of awards made through existing calls for funding, so applications do not need to be made.
It also includes £8.7m for the Digital Research Infrastructure programme to provide new supercomputers based on the latest technologies. This will strengthen the UK research and innovation system, helping to attract globally mobile businesses and talent, and supporting innovation, skills and growth.
The £200m for UK Research Infrastructures including additional funding for the Devolved Administrations. This includes the UKRI World Class Labs fund, enabling institutes and universities across the United Kingdom to invest in essential research equipment and sustain their excellent research base, as well as making funding available to the UK’s Public Sector Research Establishments (such as the National Physical Laboratory and the Met Office) to maintain their status as international centres of excellence
There is also £42.1 million for the Fusion Industry Programme through a challenge fund to build capabilities and spur commercial innovation. There will also be £84m for the Joint European Torus operations to continue operations and support other UK fusion programmes such as STEP (Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production).