LONDON           -         The UK will endeavour to continue within a €100bn (£85bn) EU science programme after Brexit.Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for the UK to negotiate its continued participation

within the Horizon Europe research programme.Horizon Europe provides funding

to scientists, students and industry

for research.The news was revealed within a document setting out the government’s

approach to negotiations with the EU.The statement will come as a relief to research leaders, who feared that research collaboration would become a bargaining chip in general trade negotiations.The President of the Royal Society,

Prof Sir Venki Ramakrishnan has been influential in persuading the PM of the importance of making

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an early commitment to continue

within Horizon Europe. He told BBC News that today’s development

was “very welcome”.“We now need a quick start to negotiations and for the Treasury to use the Budget to recommit the funds that will make association possible,” he said. The Nobel Prize winning scientist added that Europe’s

current strength in science depended on continued collaboration

with the UK.“When I had to make a decision

in 1971 of where to (do my research) from India, the centre of gravity of science and innovation was the US. However, the recent decades of close cooperation and collaboration, facilitated by continent-

wide funding programmes, made Europe a global scientific powerhouse. Surely no one wants to throw that away.”In a document setting out the government’s approach to negotiations

with the EU, Mr Johnson stated that the UK would “consider”

participating in Horizon Europe

as well as other science and technology programmes. These include Euratom, for nuclear research

and training, and Europe’s Earth Observation programme, Copernicus. BBC News understands

that there was unanimous backing in cabinet for the UK to seek the closest possible relationship

with Horizon Europe.But such an arrangement will depend on a decision by the EU. Allowing

the UK to continue to participate

in Horizon Europe would be in the EU’s interest, given the UK’s strength in research. But a future relationship would depend on how much Britain would be prepared to pay to participate. Chi Onwurah MP, shadow minister for industrial strategy, described the PM’s announcement as “mealy-mouthed”. “It fails to provide the certainty the UK’s research sector desperately needs. The government

clearly does not understand how research and development works, nor the vital role it plays in our economy,” he said.“Failure to commit to full participation

in the Horizon programme undermines our research base. The Government should know that their ‘considerations’ only