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Quantum leap for UK and Germany science and research links

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  • New partnership to turbocharge science and research links signed by UK and Germany
  • Germany is the UK’s 2nd largest research collaborator globally, and Joint Declaration of Intent commits both countries to deepen this relationship, even further
  • Leading science organisations from UK and Germany come together to find joint opportunities in AI, quantum, clean tech and more

A new agreement to boost science and research ties, and plans for a joint group of science and research experts, are part of shared measures announced by the UK and Germany today. (Tuesday 12 March).

The UK Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan, and German Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger will announce these latest plans in London today, where they will sign a Joint Declaration of Intent committing both countries to broadening and deepening their science and research links.

Today’s meeting also brings together a unique forum featuring some of the leading lights from both countries’ science and research communities – including the Max-Planck Society, the Royal Society, Universities UK and the Helmholtz Association – to share and agree promising opportunities for R&D teamwork ranging from quantum and AI, to clean technology and research security. Moving forward, the UK and German governments will establish a Strategic Working Group to ensure that these high ambitions are matched with concrete plans on delivery.

UK Secretary of State Michelle Donelan said:

Germany is the UK’s second-largest trading partner, as well as a critical science and research partner through the likes of Horizon Europe and CERN. To capitalise on this, bringing our shared strengths in science and technology together will be essential.

By supporting our brightest minds and leading institutions to work together, we will maximise the opportunities for them to create new jobs, build new businesses, and ultimately deliver a better quality of life for us all.

German Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger said:

The United Kingdom with its excellent research and its renowned science institutions, universities and companies is one of Germany’s key partners. In the face of current challenges, it is all the more important that we move ahead together and prepare the ground for joint research solutions.

The UK’s association to Horizon Europe is a major step in this direction. But we must also deepen bilateral cooperation. Today’s exchange of views together with the science communities in Germany and the UK is only the beginning. Our Joint Declaration of Intent provides the basis for good and close cooperation to strengthen science and research.

The UK-Germany relationship on science, technology, and research is already deep and extensive. Germany is the UK’s 2nd largest research collaborator globally (after the United States) and is the UK’s biggest research partner in Europe. The two countries also play a key role together in some of the world’s foremost international scientific organisations, such as CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, and the European Space Agency.

With a view to deepening links further still, the UK government will also look at using funds available through the £337 million International Science Partnerships Fund to enable UK researchers and innovators to collaborate with German partners, on key projects.

Today also sees the award of the first two Global Innovation Fellowships, being delivered by the British Academy and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). These one-year fellowships, to be hosted at DGAP’s headquarters in Berlin, will support collaborative work on the changing dynamics of global order. A second call for a further round of Global Innovation Fellowships between the Academy and DGAP will open later this year.

Together with Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the British Academy are also announcing that building on this June’s UK-Germany Knowledge Frontiers Symposium, they will host three further symposia in the next 3 years that will bring together early career researchers from each country, boosting opportunities for joint work across the humanities and social sciences.

The Declaration builds on efforts are already underway to supercharge UK researchers’ opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in Germany and beyond through Horizon Europe: the world’s largest programme of research collaboration. UK and German researchers worked together at the cutting edge of innovation through Horizon’s predecessor, such as through EAVI2020, an international effort that brought HIVAIDS vaccines to the clinical trial stage. Collaboration with Germany is also an important part of work at Imperial – who recently renewed their flagship partnership with Germany’s number 1 ranked university, the Technical University of Munich, working together on AI, health, sustainability and more.

This push includes an international campaign emphasising the opportunities for European firms and researchers to collaborate with the tens of thousands of UK companies eligible for Horizon Europe grants. The UK is also participating in the Copernicus component of the EU space programme, providing a host of opportunities for our Earth observation sector, researchers, and the public.

This is the latest in a series of bilateral international science deals the UK has signed recently. In the last fortnight alone, partnerships have been announced with fellow research powerhouses France, and Saudi Arabia.

Bilateral agreements like these, alongside Horizon association, demonstrate the UK’s global ambitions to deepen collaboration with leading lights in science right across the globe. This agreement is a further demonstration of the UK’s ambition to cement its status as a science superpower, through deepening collaboration on science and tech breakthroughs with like-minded nations like Germany, as well as the rest of the G7, to secure our collective future, drive economic growth and improve lives.

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