UK to invest 484 million pounds in science research to cover 'EU shortfall'

FILE PHOTO: File photograph shows an employee walking over a mosaic depicting pound sterling symbols on the floor of the front hall of the Bank of England in London

LONDON (Reuters) -The British government said on Monday it would invest up to 484 million pounds ($571.36 million) to support scientific research, due to what it described as the European Union's "refusal to finalise" post-Brexit access to the bloc's science programmes.

Under a trade agreement signed at the end of 2020, Britain negotiated access to a range of science and innovation programmes, including Horizon, a 95.5 billion euro ($98 billion)programme that offers grants and projects to researchers.

But Britain says the EU has yet to finalise access to Horizon, Copernicus, the earth observation programme on climate change, Euratom, the nuclear research programme, and to services such as Space Surveillance and Tracking and in August it launched dispute resolution proceedings with the bloc.

The British government's business department said in a statement that 200 million pounds of the new funding would be set aside for the country's research infrastructure base, enabling institutes and universities to invest in essential research equipment.

"The UK cannot wait indefinitely for the EU to meet its commitments which is why this funding is so important to boost research and innovation across the breadth of our country," Business Secretary Grant Shapps said.

Shapps added the investment would help the UK's research sector to "shore up their talent pools, invest confidently in infrastructure and protect the UK’s reputation as a science superpower".

($1 = 0.8471 pounds)

($1 = 0.9761 euros)

(Reporting by Muvija M, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)