According to a draft plan published by the EU executive, British scientists will be banned from contributing to research for the bloc’s Horizon Europe space project. Swiss and Israeli scientists will also be excluded from the research plans.
The move has infuriated the scientific community across all three nations.
Klaus Ensslin, professor of solid-state physics at ETH Zurich, told Science Business: “Everyone’s shocked.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. This is not good for us, not good for the field, and not good for the EU.”
Nadav Katz, a quantum physicist who runs the Quantum Coherence Lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, also warned the move would not be in the EU’s best interest.
He said: “There have been certain indications that something like this had been building up. But this was quite dramatic.
“This is not in Europe’s interest.”
He continued: “The EU has been very wise to include neighbouring countries in its research programmes over the years. Pushing them away is not good policy. These are countries that give more than they take.
“The European landscape will be greyer and dimmer without their participation.”
The move is believed to be aimed at combating competitiveness for EU member states in the scientific field.
But even some scientists in the bloc where shocked by the Commission’s decision.
Tommaso Calarco, a theoretical physicist at the Helmholtz Centre in Jülich, Germany, told Science Business: “It was a big surprise.
“Nobody expected this.
“It’s sad that things are working like this, because science is without borders.
“If [the plan] stays as it is, we need some serious contingency plans.”
The shocking draft published by the Commission reads: “In order to achieve the expected outcomes, and safeguard the Union’s strategic assets, interests, autonomy, or security, namely, participation is limited to legal entities established in member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein.
“Proposals including entities established in countries outside this scope will be ineligible.”
It added legal entities established in a member state or in countries associated with Horizon Europe, such as Norway, “that are directly or indirectly controlled by third countries not associated to Horizon Europe or by legal entities of non-associated third countries, are not eligible to participate.”
The Commission defended these restrictions, saying the goal was to “make independent European capacities in developing and producing quantum computing technologies of strategic importance for future computing capacities and applications in security and dual-use technologies.”
John Morton, director of University College London’s Quantum Science and Technology Institute said excluding these countries “would be a particularly disappointing development”.
He warned: “It’s not clear how [barriers] serve the interest of the EU member states.
“It is difficult to see how such measures can increase the expected return on investment to member states in capturing the value of emerging quantum technology.
“Indeed, it seems more likely to achieve the opposite.”
This Article firstly Publish on www.express.co.uk