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Horizon 2020 Programme

Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2017

3. What steps he has taken to ensure that the UK participates in the Horizon 2020 programme for the duration of that programme. (901636)

The Government have acted quickly to underwrite Horizon 2020 funding that is competitively bid for by UK participants. As we set out in our future partnership paper, “Collaboration on Science and Innovation”, we will seek an agreement on science and innovation that protects us now and in the future, and continues to ensure we deliver these great partnerships.

Edinburgh is blessed with three world-class universities, Napier, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh, which punch significantly above their weight in being able to gain EU funding for research and development. Will the Minister come to the Dispatch Box to reassure those universities that they will still be able to access research and development funding at European Union level when we leave the EU?

As I said, we are working towards an agreement that will ensure our continued success in European science and research collaborations. Scottish institutions do indeed do exceptionally well. They punch well above their weight in winning about 11% of the share of UK participation in Horizon 2020, which is well above their GDP and population share. We want that to continue.

18. The Minister is right to highlight that Scottish universities are world-beating. In my constituency, the University of St Andrews receives £38 million of research funding that relies on our partnerships with the European Union and European institutions. What reassurances can he provide about plans post-2020, so that those partnerships will be able to continue? (901655)

As I just said, we are working hard to ensure an agreement with the rest of the European Union to ensure we can continue to collaborate closely in important areas of research and innovation. I repeat, Scottish institutions do well in terms of their share of overall UK participation in Horizon 2020. We want that kind of success to continue in the years ahead. Very impactful research is done in Scotland on a collaborative basis across the continent. We have every intention of that continuing in the years ahead.