Science and Technology Framework

Anthony Browne Excerpts
Tuesday 7th March 2023

(1 year, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Michelle Donelan Portrait Michelle Donelan
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The entire point of our announcement yesterday was that we believe that science and technology can change the world. We also believe that they can change people’s lives here in the UK, and that is why we made our announcement on the actions we are taking now and on the long-term framework, so that we can be proactive as well as reactive. As I have said on Horizon, our position has not changed.

Anthony Browne Portrait Anthony Browne (South Cambridgeshire) (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

As somebody with a maths degree, I am naturally very supportive and enthusiastic about a Government Department dedicated to science, and I very much welcome the new framework to proactively position the UK as the science superpower. I can confirm that my constituency, where almost every village has a science park, will do more than almost any other constituency to try to turn that vision into a reality. We already have a thriving herd of unicorns, a vibrant community of Nobel prize winners and laboratories everywhere stacked full of researchers, a lot of whom were funded by the Horizon programme. I welcome the Secretary of State’s statement that the Government want to reopen negotiations on Horizon and that they are open to that. I accept that she cannot commit to the outcome of negotiations while they are going on, and it is good that she has a plan B in her back pocket, but negotiations create uncertainty and I wonder what reassurance she can give to my formerly Horizon-funded researchers that they will not lose their funding until we get a long-term solution.

Michelle Donelan Portrait Michelle Donelan
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I agree with my hon. Friend that we need to provide researchers and academics with that clarity and certainty. That is exactly why we yesterday extended the guarantee by another three months so that they can be confident, as we have talks with the EU, that there is a system in place.