• UK research organisations to be cut off from new grants under EU Research Fund for Coal and Steel, and UK government will not step in to provide equivalent funding

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

In dismaying news for UK steel and coal researchers, the UK government has announced that it will “not fund successful UK applications to this year’s Research Fund for Coal and Steel round”. This follows the European Commission’s decision (which in turn follows the Brexit decision) that UK participants in consortia applying for this year’s funding will not be eligible to receive money from the Fund for future projects, although it will continue to fund ongoing projects until the end of their duration. The government’s announcement acknowledges that “this decision will be disappointing for organisations carrying out research in this area”, but goes on to say that leaving the EU “provides the UK with the opportunity to focus investment on our own priorities”, identifying its Clean Steel Fund and Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund, and its target of reaching a spend of 2.4% of GDP on research and development by 2027. Such domestic funds – apart from not covering coal research – are not yet available, however, which creates a gap for UK researchers, and the opportunity to work cooperatively with organisations across the EU provides access to equipment and know-how that will be difficult to replace.