Two Aberdeen universities have joined a call for clarity over the loss of research funding as a result of Britain leaving the EU.
Academics applying for grants from the European Research Council will learn the outcome on April 8, but the UK Government has not said what will happen if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal before then.
An Aberdeen University spokesman said the institution is “fully supportive” of the sector’s call for clarity and a push for the government to underwrite “vital” European research prior to the country’s exit from the EU.
“Along with colleagues elsewhere we are concerned by the loss of research funding as a result of our departure from the EU, however as part of our wider Brexit preparations we have taken practical steps to ensure the risk is minimised,” the spokesman said.
“For example, we have informed the UK Government of all of our current European research funding that qualifies for its underwrite guarantee, to ensure live European grants will continue to be covered post-Brexit. In addition, we are liaising with relevant organisations for information on live grants that do not fall under these schemes.”
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Professor Paul Hagan, vice- principal for research at RGU, said: “While we do not know the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is clear that the potential for a no-deal or a hard Brexit puts Scotland’s global reputation for research excellence at risk.
“This is not just a question of funding, as we have been able to build our own research capacity, capability and competitiveness by building partnerships with institutions across Europe.”
A government spokesman said: “Science recognises no borders and the UK has a proud record of welcoming the world’s leading scientists and researchers to work and study here. This will not change when we leave the EU.
“Through our modern Industrial Strategy we are investing a record level in research and development and we are committed to seeking an ambitious future relationship on science and innovation with our EU partners.”