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PRESS RELEASE: CONNECTS-UK secures over €500,000 in funding from the European Commission

CONNECTS-UK secures over €500,000 in funding from the European Commission for a pioneering pan-European platform for advancing scientific collaborations in the post-Brexit era 



Summary:


  • The European Commission awards a grant worth over half a million Euros to CONNECTS–UK.

  • CONNECTS–UK is the first pan-EU platform in the UK aimed at fostering scientific collaborations between the EU and the UK, led by the community of EU researchers working in the UK.

  • CONNECTS-UK will focus on growing its network, undertaking research, providing science-policy advice, and communicating science to younger audiences. 


London, 11th of December 2023


In a historic move, the European Commission has granted CONNECTS-UK an impressive funding of over half a million Euros, marking a significant milestone in fostering scientific collaborations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) post-Brexit and after the association of the UK to Horizon Europe. This ambitious initiative aims to bridge the gap created by Brexit by bringing together scientific diasporas from across the EU. The substantial funding from the European Commission not only reflects its commitment to advancing scientific progress but also underscores the importance of maintaining robust research ties between the EU and the UK despite the challenges posed by Brexit.


CONNECTS-UK will serve as the first pan-EU platform dedicated to advancing scientific collaborations in the UK, with a specific focus on facilitating seamless interactions between the EU and UK scientific communities. This ambitious initiative will leverage the expertise and knowledge of the scientific diasporas from Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, and the non-profit organisation Native Scientists to catalyse innovative research, promote knowledge exchange, and foster enduring partnerships in various scientific domains.


Between 2024 and 2025, CONNECTS-UK will focus on four key areas of work: 


  1. Establishing a professional network of EU researchers in the UK; 

  2. Furthering research on EU-UK scientific collaborations and mobility and the characterisation of the community of EU researchers in the UK; 

  3. Providing policy advice and advocacy to European and UK stakeholders; and 

  4. Developing science outreach programmes. 


By creating a robust framework for cross-border collaboration, CONNECTS-UK will enable scientists, researchers, and innovators to overcome the barriers created by Brexit and tap into the vast wealth of expertise and resources available in both the EU and the UK. Through the platform's comprehensive network, scientists will have unparalleled opportunities to connect, collaborate, and jointly tackle pressing global challenges.


Javier Pardo Díaz, coordinator of the project and Vice-President of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK (SRUK/CERU), stated in representation of the partnership:

"We are thrilled to receive this substantial funding from the European Commission for CONNECTS-UK. This support underscores the Commission's recognition of the critical role that international scientific collaborations play in driving scientific progress and innovation. We are confident that CONNECTS-UK will be a game-changer, opening doors to new research opportunities and strengthening ties between the scientific communities of the EU and the UK.”

The successful launch of CONNECTS-UK promises to reshape the scientific landscape in the post-Brexit era, serving as a testament to the resilience, adaptability, and unwavering commitment of the scientific communities of EU researchers in the UK to overcome challenges and drive progress through collaboration.


This project aims to establish itself as a staple in modern scientific diplomacy, utilising the strong foundations of its member associations, which have been supporting EU-UK scientific relations for over 15 years and have connections with major organisations, such as the Embassies of EU Member States in the UK and UK and EU research institutions. The composition of organisations taking part in the CONNECTS-UK project ensures organically built spirit of representation, inclusivity and togetherness. The project welcomes feedback and engagement also from beyond the co-applicants pool, as we hope to collaborate with the broader multinational research community in the UK.


This groundbreaking partnership has also secured funding from both public and private organisations, including the Embassies of France, the Netherlands, and Italy in London, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), and the Fundación Banco Santander.


Borja Baselga, Director of Fundación Banco Santander, stated:

"At Fundación Banco Santander, we are delighted to collaborate in this project that will help strengthen scientific collaborations between the United Kingdom and the European Union, promote the development of policies that will support R&D&i, and give visibility to the research of European scientists in the United Kingdom, both among the scientific community and among the wider population.”

Minh-Hà Pham, Head of the Higher Education, Research and Innovation department at the French Embassy in the UK, expressed pride in supporting CONNECTS-UK as a sponsor, stating:

The activities in the frame of the project will strongly help develop the connections among communities of European and British scientists, exchange best practices, launch new cooperation, and bring young people to science.” 

In the same line, expressed also Imma Aguilar, Director General at Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology FECYT:


“Fostering the European scientific diaspora networks is crucial for advancing collaborative research across various domains, encompassing not only the natural and technical sciences but also the social sciences and humanities. Embracing and supporting researcher networks within these diverse fields enhances the exchange of ideas, methodologies, and perspectives. In endorsing and nurturing these networks, we champion a collective effort to boost the frontiers of knowledge forward”.

Diogo Martins, President of the Portuguese Association of Researchers and Students in the UK (PARSUK), said:

"We are thrilled to receive this substantial funding from the European Commission for CONNECTS-UK. This support underscores the Commission's recognition of the critical role that international scientific collaborations play in driving scientific progress and innovation. We are confident that CONNECTS-UK will be a game-changer, opening doors to new research opportunities and strengthening ties between the scientific communities of the EU and the UK."

As the global scientific community looks toward the future, CONNECTS-UK stands as a beacon of hope and unity, illustrating that no matter the political climate, science has the power to transcend boundaries and bring nations together in pursuit of a shared vision of progress and prosperity.


For media inquiries, please contact:


Inês Almeida

Director of Communications, PARSUK





About CONNECTS-UK:


CONNECTS-UK stands for ‘Connecting European Communities Through Science in the UK’ and is a pioneering pan-EU platform that aims to advance scientific collaborations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) in the post-Brexit context. The initiative brings together scientific diasporas from Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, and the non-profit organisation Native Scientists to foster cross-border research, promote knowledge exchange, and drive innovation. By bridging the gap created by Brexit, CONNECTS-UK serves as a catalyst for groundbreaking scientific collaborations and partnerships in diverse fields of study. For more information, please visit our Twitter page.


CONNECTS-UK is a partnership, open to new collaborators, between


  • Association of Italian Scientists in the UK (AISUK)

  • Dutch Academic Network in the UK (DANinUK)

  • Finnish Science Society in the UK

  • French Education and Research Network UK (FERN-UK)

  • Native Scientists

  • Portuguese Association of Researchers and Students in the UK (PARSUK)

  • Society of Spanish Researchers in the UK (SRUK/CERU)

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