In early September, we received news of the UK’s involvement with the European Horizon Europe and Copernicus projects. This long-awaited agreement ensures that UK universities and research centers remain at the heart of European cooperation in science and research and demonstrates our commitment to working with the EU to address our common challenges, following the “Windsor Framework”.
The agreement is particularly important for bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and Portugal, key partners in the field of research. One in five Portuguese scientists established abroad is based in the United Kingdom. Recently, PARSUK, an association of Portuguese researchers and students in the United Kingdom, conducted a study co-sponsored by the Foundation for Science and Technology and the British Embassy in Lisbon. The study, presented in December, shows a collaboration between Portuguese and British researchers:
- They are very productive in quantity and quality: of almost fifteen thousand publications, 80% were published in the top 25% of the most prestigious journals and 40 patent applications were identified;
- They occur in thematic areas aligned with both countries’ strategic priorities, including oceans, climate and sustainability;
- Create economic value by generating knowledge, registering patents and developing new products and services;
- In addition to formal aspects (scientific articles, etc.), they also have the almost invisible aspect of an informal partnership between two or more researchers;
- They are strongly based on personal relationships between British and Portuguese researchers.
Since arriving in Portugal five years ago, I have been struck by the global appreciation for British research expertise and our higher education. Many Portuguese studied at British universities and maintain strong links with their alma mater and the United Kingdom. In many cases, these strong personal connections have been accompanied by strong ties between Portuguese research institutions and their British counterparts.
The announcement of the United Kingdom’s membership of the Horizon Europe and Copernicus projects is a golden opportunity to revitalize these ties and deepen scientific collaboration between our two countries.
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