Further to my blog post yesterday on the House of Commons Select Committee inquiry into the implications for science and research of leaving the EU, the official transcript of the proceedings is now available. A further call for evidence was also launched to assist in developing a list of risks and opportunities which shoudl be included in the Government’s future EU negotiating strategy. Submissions should be made online by Monday 22 August.
The Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee is examining the implications and opportunities of leaving the EU for UK science and research. The Committee is holding hearings on this during July, and invites written submissions during that period.
Yesterday’s session saw Kevin Baughan (Chief Development Officer, Innovate UK), Professor Philip Nelson (Chair, Research Councils UK) and Jo Johnson MP (Minister of State for Universities and Science) questioned.
Kevin Baughan (Innovate UK) underlined that the business sector is an important recipient of Horizon 2020 funds and that companies have already expressed concerns about decreased opportunities for collaboration. He underlined the importance of confidence, both in the sustainability of contracts beyond two years and of those from other EU Members States in UK partners. The more information the UK Government can give as to what will happen, the more confidence there will be. There is a huge risk to the UK in a two-year pause in excellence and innovation.
Philip Nelson (RCUK) stated that the biggest risks of Brexit are around the mobility of people as the UK has to continue to be seen as a destination for expertise. The creation of UKRI and the changes in the HE Bill have been ongoing for some time and he stated that it will be crucial that UKRI has a strong voice in the Brexit negotiations. He also mentioned much anecdotal evidence of UK partners being removed from consortia and leading researchers deciding not to risk coming to the UK and is concerned by this; RCUK will continue to monitor UK participation in applications to Horizon 2020.
Jo Johnson reiterated his earlier message stating that the UK Government is fully committed to science and to ensuring that the UK remains a ‘science powerhouse’. The Government is currently undertaking planning and analysis across all areas, and science will be a big part of that. In terms of opportunities, the Government needs communication from the research community to help identify new flexibilities in the relationship with the EU and how they can be exploited. He told the Committee that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is working on a comprehensive Communications Strategy to ensure it is clear that Brexit doesn’t mean increased insularity, but rather that the UK is now even more open and globally-minded. He also said that it has been made clear, both by BIS and by Commissioner Moedas that there should be neither soft (in the construction of consortia) nor hard (in the assessment and awarding of grants) discrimination against UK participants. Statements of assurance from the Commission need to be regularly reiterated and he is working with Moedas on this. Mr Johnson is concerned to hear anecdotal reports that UK partners are being rejected as participants in and leaders of consortia and has set up a unit which is ready to receive evidence. An email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been set up to which people to submit examples of this kind of behaviour.
Yesterday BIS launched a call for evidence to inform the high level challenges which will form the basis of the funding calls for the Global Challenges Research Fund. We summarised what we know so far about the GCRF last week.
“We are looking for inputs from individuals and institutions across all academic disciplines, non-governmental organisations and industrial sectors both in and outside of the UK. Please alert colleagues who may wish to respond.
The results from the survey will be reviewed alongside other feedback. We will share a short summary of evidence we have collected and outline how that has informed our strategy in the autumn.”
This is your chance to have your say on how the programme should be steered. The survey is via an online webform and it closes on 22nd August.
You might be interested to note that UKRO has set up a page listing all the ongoing EU consultations related to Horizon 2020, including the preparation of future work programmes, the interim evaluation of H2020 and developments related to the next framework programme such as the creation of the European Innovation Council.
There are currently a number of ongoing consultations on the next work programmes for different parts of H2020. These are good opportunities to feed in your ideas and shape the future content of work programmes and specific calls for proposals. You can find these listed here but will need an UKRO account to access this page.
As we are a subscribing organisation, any Northumbria colleague can set up an UKRO account which will enable you to receive daily update emails on EU funding opportunities, events, and policy developmens relevant to UK-based academics.
Nature reports that the UK government has confirmed that academic research funded by the research councils, HEFCE and the national academies will not be subject to the so-called “gagging clause”, part of changes in legislation restricting use of government funds for lobbying purposes, which is due to come into effect on 1st May: http://www.nature.com/news/uk-government-pulls-back-from-rule-gagging-researchers-1.19775
Professor Chris Ashford and I will be running an Open Access drop-in on Thursday 26 November from 11-12 in the CCE1 staff room. It will be an opportunity to ask any OA–related questions and find out more about the new University policy and how it applies to law publications and the Law School more broadly. To find out more about the University’s policy, click here.
Research Councils UK have this week released their response to the Burgess review of the RCUK Open Access policy implementation. Rick Rylance, Chair of RCUK Executive Group, confirmed that they accept and will implement all of the recommendations, including the formation of a Practitioner Group, making ORCID a requirement, and a review of the algorithm to apportion OA block grant.
HEFCE have today published a letter to universities outlining key changes to their Open Access policy for the next REF. These include: deposit on acceptance now comes into force in April 2017, rather than 2016; there is now an exception to the deposit requirement for outputs available via Gold OA; “inadvertently non-compliant” outputs can be made compliant retrospectively.
- A report from the recent European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing has been published.
- You can also check out the presentations from the eHealth Week held in Riga as part of the Latvian Presidency of the EU. This was attended by 1334 health experts and 81 exhibitors from across Europe.
- And finally, the European Commission has published the EU Health 2015 work programme AND the calls for this year which have just been launched with a deadline of 15th September. The calls cover topics such as gathering knowledge and exchanging best practices on measures reducing availability of alcoholic beverages; early diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis; and support for the implementation and scaling up of good practices in the areas of integrated care, frailty prevention, adherence to medical plans and age-friendly communities.
Calling all STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) researchers! If you want to share your research with parliament or government you should apply for the Royal Society’s Pairing Scheme.
Open now until the 24th May, successful applicants will get a chance to spend a “Week in Westminster” and host a reciprocal visit from a parliamentarian or civil servant to your lab/research space. Applicants must have at least 2 years of postdoctoral research experience and an interest in how research engages with policy. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how research informs policy and how you can make a policy impact with your research.
There is a short application form to complete which asks about your research interests and experience in communicating your research to a lay audience. Potential applicants are advised to contact your Faculty’s relevant Research Funding and Policy Manager to discuss in the first instance.