“I am disappointed some have welcomed the revised assurances as some form of a U-turn, when so much more needs to be achieved in terms of guarantees. If we look at access to competitive funds such as Horizon 2020, the EU’s Research Support Programme, there is little point in having a guarantee of funds if a project is successful in a bid if nothing is done to address the fundamental barriers and uncertainty that make bids from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
“Across the EU, universities and other institutions have a choice with whom to partner. With uncertainty around the right of existing EU Nationals to remain, for academics and researchers to have mobility across the EU, and whether UK would continue to have the ability to be the lead in bids, then UK bodies will be considered as high-risk.
“If the UK Government wants to be helpful in making guarantees around competitive EU funding programmes, then they need to give the necessary reassurances around freedom of movement. In turn, it is critical the Executive makes these points to the Government, which it has so far failed to do. At this stage, they are all missing the point.”