This letter from NCUB Chair Sam Laidlaw was published in The Financial Times on Friday 15 September. See here.

From Sam Laidlaw, Chair, National Centre for Universities and Business, London SE1,

After years of uncertainty, the news finally came last week that the UK will fully associate to the EU’s science programmes, including Horizon Europe (Report, September 7).

The announcement was met with relief by the research and development community. Association helps us to leverage the power of global collaboration on science, to shift the dial on some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. This represents a confident step for the UK, moving it back into the centre of the global science stage.

This is not just an obscure win for scientists, but a major opportunity for economic growth and progress. As our economy continues to struggle with slow growth and low productivity, the UK’s world-leading research base is the ace in our hand.

Technologies are evolving at an exponential rate and many countries around the world recognise that research and innovation capabilities will determine the leading economies of the future.

If we play our cards right in the global R&D race, the UK can become a destination of choice for more business R&D investment. We will reap the rewards of more jobs, more innovative and productive industries, as well as greater prosperity, security and sustainability.

The resounding support for Horizon Europe among researchers and business leaders alike puts the spotlight on the importance of connection and networks. The UK’s decision to commit fully to Horizon sends a clear signal to global researchers and R&D businesses that the UK is open, collaborative and globally connected.

Now, we must build on this momentum to secure a central role in the age of innovation.

Sam Laidlaw Chair, National Centre for Universities and Business, London SE1, UK