Commenting ahead of the Government’s Future Partnership Paper on science and innovation cooperation, Allie Renison, Head of EU and Trade Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“We welcome the clear stated objective from the Government of prioritising future collaboration with the EU on a range of science, research and innovation areas after Brexit. The reference to examining ways in which non-EU countries can take part in European programmes in these areas should send a boost of confidence to industry and higher education bodies that the Government intends to prioritise participating in these cross-cutting, collaborative ventures.
“The IoD has long argued that the Government should spell out its objectives in this space, even if it will take some negotiation to achieve them, and warrant continued payments into the EU budget to maximise our access to them.
“However, we have also seen from Switzerland’s experience that putting controls on free movement of people has had consequences for its continued participation in these EU initiatives. We call on both the UK and EU to prioritise flexibility in their respective approaches to these policy areas. There is clearly a need for skills and talent to move as freely as possible across borders in order to continue taking advantage of these collaborative programmes - today’s paper acknowledges the importance of these flows. We would hope that furthering our shared interests in advancing science, research and innovation cooperation is kept as free from other politicised parts of the negotiations as possible.”