Although the UK will no longer be an EU Member State when these programmes kick off, Universities UK (UUK) has made clear in its recently updated Brexit priorities statement that the UK should seek to continue to participate fully in both programmes, whether as an 'associate country' in Horizon 2020 or a 'programme country' in Erasmus+.
To illustrate our commitment to remaining closely involved in EU higher education and research and innovation policy, and explain our priorities as these programmes are developed, we have produced position papers on both programmes, which we have published today.
The first of these position papers focuses on the next EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme (Framework Programme 9, or FP9). It was prepared specifically for submission to the European Commission's public consultation on FP9, which closed earlier this month.
Among other issues, the paper addresses the importance of increasing EU investment in research and innovation to meet the scale of ambition for next Framework Programme and address the chronically low success rates; the role of Framework Programmes in fostering 'distributed excellence' across the continent; and how vital it is for FP9 to raise the level of collaboration with partners outside the EU.
The second paper addresses the successor to the Erasmus+ programme and how the Commission could ensure the next programme is as dynamic, flexible and accessible as possible. The paper specifically highlights two innovations the Commission could introduce: more short-term mobility options and greater support, both financial and non-financial, for disadvantaged and underrepresented learners.
International experiences for UK students are highly valued by the sector and the Erasmus+ programme is integral to this. With the design of the successor programme underway, there is an opportunity to reshape the programme to ensure that it is accessible to a far broader community of learners by providing a more diverse and flexible offering to all.
The visions presented in both papers demonstrate the extent to which UK universities can benefit from continued participation in these EU programmes. With the European Commission's proposals for FP9 and the next Erasmus+ programme expected to be published this summer, we will be sharing these messages with key stakeholders in Westminster and Brussels over the coming months. We will also continue to make the broader case for maintaining and strengthening the UK-EU post-Brexit relationship in higher education and research.