The UK and Sweden have signed a co-operation settlement in life sciences, geared toward strengthening tutorial analysis and business collaboration as Britain seeks to deepen scientific ties with different nations after Brexit.
The memorandum of understanding, signed in London on Friday within the presence of Sweden’s king and queen, is the primary bilateral science settlement the UK has reached with an EU member state since Brexit.
The settlement offers a framework for knitting collectively the 2 international locations’ life sciences methods over a variety of areas, from early diagnostics and genomics to pharmaceutical manufacturing.
“We are absolutely committed to international collaboration,” George Freeman, UK science minister, mentioned. “We may have left the European monetary and political union, but we want all the more to deepen our science ties.
“This agreement is part of our strengthening of bilateral scientific relations — with Israel, Switzerland and now Sweden — following Brexit. Japan and South Korea will be next,” Freeman added.
King Carl XVI Gustaf informed the Financial Times that post-Brexit Britain confronted a way forward for “endless bilateral agreements which will make life difficult — but we need each other in science”.
He added: “Our agreement ties together the really strong knot that already exists between scientists in Britain and Sweden, which we need to carry out R&D for the future of society.”
Although the December 2020 Brexit withdrawal treaty offered for the UK to hitch the EU’s €96bn Horizon Europe analysis programme, Brussels has constantly refused to permit it to take up affiliate membership due to a long-running dispute with the UK authorities over post-Brexit commerce in Northern Ireland.
The UK is formulating a “plan B” for worldwide scientific co-operation in case its bid to hitch Horizon Europe fails.
Scientific collaboration between Sweden and the UK is already shut, anchored in prescription drugs by AstraZeneca, the drug firm created by the 1999 merger of Britain’s Zeneca with Sweden’s Astra.
On Thursday, the royal couple toured the corporate’s new analysis centre in Cambridge. The UK comes second after the US in collectively authored analysis papers for Swedish scientists.
“We are interested in having a very good relationship with Britain when it comes to research,” mentioned Anna Ekström, Sweden’s schooling and analysis minister. “But naturally, things were easier before Brexit.”
The settlement memorandum doesn’t instantly launch any new UK-Swedish analysis programmes however units out a mechanism for doing so in future. Antimicrobial resistance — discovering new antibiotics to deal with superbugs and preventing overprescription of current medication — is one precedence.
Sir Paul Nurse, chief govt of the Francis Crick Institute, the main UK biomedical analysis lab, welcomed the settlement: “In these times when science is under significant difficulties as a consequence of Brexit, we have to encourage every linkage we can make with continental Europe.”