ALLEA has joined the movement ‘Stick to Science’ calling for open and barrier-free collaboration among Europe’s research and innovation (R&I) actors. The initiative is a response to the delayed progress in the EU research association agreements with Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The campaign was launched during the event ‘Science without borders: Why European trusted partnerships matter more than ever’ on 8 February. The initiators of the campaign are collecting signatures online and calling on European institutions and governments to not interfere in long-standing European research partnerships with these countries.
“Allowing political differences to prevent scientific collaboration is contrary to the interests of society at large. (…) The signatories urge the EU, the UK and Switzerland to rapidly reach association agreements so that the two countries can contribute scientifically and financially to the strength of Horizon Europe and to a truly open, inclusive and excellence-driven European Research Area”, the statement reads.
The signatories request that the European Council, Parliament, Commission, as well as European Union (EU) Member States, and the governments of the UK and Switzerland, recognise that advancement in R&I is best achieved when all actors in science and innovation work together across geographic boundaries.
On social media, the campaign can be followed under the hashtag #StickToScience and supporters can join the movement by signing the call, inviting others to sign and sharing their ideas. All information can be found here.
At the moment of the launch, 12 Nobel Prize winners, over 250 leaders from industry, research organisations and institutes, charities, health organisations, universities and foundations, more than 45 supporting organisations including umbrella bodies, trade associations, and research funders had joined the call. More than 1500 individual signatures have been collected so far.
The EU’s flagship programme for research and innovation Horizon Europe is already in course with the first grants being signed. A number of association agreements with non-EU countries were finalised at the end of 2021, but the ones with the UK and Switzerland continue to be delayed.
On several occasions, ALLEA has reaffirmed the need for securing the highest degree of participation of both countries in the European Research Area. “The scientific endeavour inherently does not have a passport, it is a truly global citizen and it would be a shame to restrict its abilities for the purposes of political negotiations”, said ALLEA President in a recent statement.