The Government has published its position paper on Brexit, science and innovation (click here to read the full document), in which it states that the UK will seek an ambitious science and innovation agreement with the EU that will support and promote science, and that should be broad enough to make room for new areas of research.
The paper pledges to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured of their safety through continued work with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other international partners. The UK may seek to build on precedent agreements between the EMA and the USA, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Israel to enable this. The UK will also seek to build on precedents granting non-EU access to data from the European Reference Networks (ERNs), in order to support cooperation and knowledge sharing in the field of rare diseases.
The importance of continuity in collaborative relationships is also highlighted. The Government has committed to underwrite bids for Horizon 2020 projects submitted while the UK is still a member of the EU, and the UK will work with the Commission to ensure payments when funds are awarded. Horizon 2020 participants should therefore continue to collaborate as normal. In addition, despite an end to Freedom of Movement, the UK will continue to aid researcher mobility to allow continued access to the high-level skills that support innovation in science and technology, and as such, migration between the UK and the EU will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
It is encouraging that this paper again emphasises the importance that the Government attaches to maintaining stability within the science industry. The industry should therefore continue to make sure its voice is heard as negotiations continue.
This paper comes shortly after the publication of the Industry Strategy for Life Sciences, in which Sir John Bell articulated the main Brexit priorities for industry as (i) free access to highly skilled people from across Europe and the world and (ii) alignment of all regulation with the EU. To read MAP MedTech’s summary of the Industrial Strategy, please click here.