|Prospect of Scientific life after Brexit|
Researchers will benefit from new international partnerships with 15 countries as part of the Atlantic International Research Centre, thanks to a new agreement signed last week.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore has signed an agreement in Parliament with Portuguese Science Minister Manuel Heitor that will make the UK a full member of the AIR Centre, which was set up in 2017 and aims to strengthen scientific collaboration with researchers from around the world working on shared challenges & opportunities, from cutting carbon emissions to understanding space. It is designed to foster economic development through Atlantic region collaborations on space, climate and oceans issues.
With headquarters in the Azores and several local hubs in several countries, the AIR Centre has been implementing a scientific agenda on Atlantic Interactions, which will benefit from the UK engagement, but also bring additional advantages to the UK on its 6 lines of action: Marine Resources and Biodiversity, Healthy & Clean Ocean, System integration from near space to deep ocean, Mitigation & Adaptation to Climate Change and Natural Hazards, Sustainable Energy Systems; and Data Science for the Atlantic Ocean, including its coasts, biodiversity & societies.
A MoU between the UK & Portuguese Space Agencies to collaborate on future space science and developing space industry opportunities was also signed. The UKSA is working with Portuguese space business Omnidea to bring the development & testing of their innovative Plasma Focus Thruster to the UK. With an expected improved overall performance of up to 30% over existing thruster technology, the equipment could revolutionise spacecraft propulsion, whilst bringing new expertise, jobs & growth to the UK space sector.International science collaboration is a priority for the UK government, as it aims to raise investment in research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. In May, the government published the International Research and Innovation Strategy and has committed to guarantee EU research funding through the Horizon 2020 programme in the event of a no deal Brexit.