The timing of BREXIT came at a particularly unnerving time for SCI, just as we were starting to develop proposals for the annual cycle of bids to RFCS (the Research Fund for Coal and Steel). Although these part-funded projects are rarely profitable, this source of European funding has been of significance to SCI for many years as a way of building knowledge, maintaining critical mass, and networking across Europe. RFCS research projects generally last for three years, so it was alarming to read in the press, and hear from colleagues, that a number of universities in the UK were experiencing difficulties securing contracts that would last for more than two years (the minimum time needed for the UK to exit Europe). Although far from being ‘out of the woods’, it was however of some comfort to receive a letter from our local MP noting that ‘the Treasury will underwrite the payment of such awards when projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU’. This refers to a statement that was made on 13th August by Chancellor Phillip Hammond, and is a move we welcome.
UK Government says it will support research
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